Don't wanna be an American idiot
Don't want a nation under the new mania
Hey can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind-fuck America

Welcome to a new kind of tension
All across the alien nation
Where everything isn't meant to be okay
Television dreams of tomorrow
We're not the ones who're meant to follow
For that's enough to argue

Well maybe I'm the faggot America
I'm not a part of a redneck agenda
Now everybody do the propaganda
And sing along to the age of paranoia

Welcome to a new kind of tension
All across the alien nation
Where everything isn't meant to be okay
Television dreams of tomorrow
We're not the ones who're meant to follow
For that's enough to argue

Don't wanna be an American idiot
One nation controlled by the media
Information Age of hysteria
It's calling out to idiot America

Welcome to a new kind of tension
All across the alien nation
Where everything isn't meant to be okay
Television dreams of tomorrow
We're not the ones who're meant to follow
For that's enough to argue

Lyrics submitted by animated456, edited by devildog579

American Idiot Lyrics as written by Frank Edwin Iii Wright Michael Ryan Pritchard

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

American Idiot song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +22
    General CommentI interpreted this entire album and it took me days to do it. Every song fits in exactly where it's supposed to fit in.

    American Idiot - Bit of a 'prequel' to the rest of the disk...basically, before Jesus is introduced, it talks about the bulk of today's youth being a bunch of conformists. The media owns the people, and these people are basically idiots. Jesus does not want to be one of these people...

    Jesus of Suburbia - Intro to the main character, Jesus. The 'Son of Rage and Love'...basically, he grew up in a home where his father was hard on him and his mother loved him (reminds me of that 70's show), he basically turns to drugs and alcohol to stay sane in that home.

    City of the Dead - Basically shows Jesus's life outside of his home. 'Graffiti in the bathroom stall'...'Holy scriptures of a shopping mall'...people are talkign about him...he's confused.

    I Don't Care - Coming to grips with what's going on in the world, Jesus basically decides he doesn't care about anything if no one else cared...driving him to the point of suicide

    Dearly Beloved - No one's listening, he's confused, does he kill himself or does he run...he doesnt know

    Tales From Another Broken Home - 'To live, and not to breath, is to die, in tragedy'...suicide is to what does lil jesus do...RUN'S AWAY! He leaves home...what else do you need to know?

    Holiday - I've heard some say that this song doesn't fit in with the story, when in fact it does. Jesus has left the protection of Mommy and Daddy...he now sees the real world, and what's goin on in the real world right now? THE WAR ON TERRORISM!!!! I also thing it has something to do with Arnold Schwarzenneger 'The representative from California has the floor'...but hey, what do i know?

    Bvld. Broken Dreams - By far the best song on the album, Green Day probably would have released this first but who wants to release a power ballad for your first song in four years? Basically, it's really self-explanatory, Jesus is alone and confused...Hey, wouldn't you be to if you were alone?

    We Are the Waiting - Not the best song on the album, but certainly the most anthemetic. This is Jesus's transformation from who he really is to who he needs to be to survive in the world - St. Jimmy. 'The Jesus of Suburbia is a lie'...he lies about his old life, he hates his old life...

    St. Jimmy - Look what Jesus has become since he left home...the punk rock rebel we all know as St. Jimmy...everyone loves Jesus now...everyone but Jesus...

    Give Me Novocaine - DRUGS!!! PAIN-KILLERS!!! Who wants an alternate reality, Jesus sure does, he wants to be St. Jimmy, it's who he evolved into, it's who he is now...he needs a numbing, welcome to your new life Jesus

    She's a Rebel - Enter Whatshername, she's a rebel, she's a saint, she's the salt of the earth and she's dangerous! Well, Jesu--oops--St. Jimmy, meets her, begins to fall in love, sees her as a revolutionary, blah blah blah...but who does Whatsername want - Jesus or St. Jimmy?

    Extraordinary Girl - lol trippy drums! Anywho, basically St. Jimmy is holding her up on a pedestal, as most guys do to the girl their in love with...and he would do anything to make her happy...but she's super sad

    Letterbomb - Well, Whatsername and Jimmy are together...but not happy...Whatsername doesn't want Jimmy, she likes what he was, who he should be. This song actually has A LOT of depth. however, you can figure out this whole song and tie up any lose ends in the previous tracks. 'Your not the Jesus of Suburbia, and St. Jimmy is a figment of, your fathers rage and your mother's love, your now the idiot America...' and at the end when it says Whatsername is leaving. He's not Jesus anymore, he left who he was because he was scared. St. Jimmy is just an alter-ego made up by all Jesus had when he was growing up...his Fathers rage and his mothers love...and finally, think back to 'American Idiot'...what is Jesus...just an idiot...nobody likes him, everyones left him, there all out without him, having fun! THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TRACK IN THE ALBUM'S STORYLINE!!!

    Wake Me Up... - Love this song, no matter how heavy Green Day gets, every soft song they make is a knock-out...especially this one. Basically, what does Jimmy have left, Whatsername is's been seven years since he left, what does he have, where can he go. Obviously this takes place in September, and he's hoping that everything will be better by October...this song has a lot more death and it's even tied into rumours about Billie Joe's dad dying.

    The Death of St. Jimmy - So what does sad, little, left with nothing St. Jimmy do? HE DIES!!! WELCOME BACK JESUS!!!! St. Jimmy is how Jesus spent most of his life, it was how he learnt how to live, love, and believe. Basically, the alter-ego St. Jimmy was the only thing he could turn to when Jesus was alone, dreamless, hopeless, so it's what he became.

    IMPORTANT - Some might argue that St. Jimmy was infact not an alter-ego of what Jesus becomes, but infact was his sort of 'guide' out in the world, think about the last lines..."In the state, of mind, it's my own private suicide..."Basically, he just kills that state of mind, he is Jesus again.

    East 12th Street - This is what Jesus is now, no St. Jimmy, he is now just Jesus...workin in some office 'Filling out Paperwork'...but he's still not happy...he still wants out...

    Nobody Likes You - What do you think...Jesus is the American Idiot with nothing to do but drink coffee and watch spike tv...boring huh?...whered everyone go? wonders Jesus...

    Rock and Roll Girlfriend - I don't know when or where this fits in exactly, but I know it does cuz everything does. I'm tired of everyone saying this song sucks, it's not Green Day, blah blah blah...I personally like it...I think it sounds old school jazz rocky! but anyway, my guess is that it's one of Jesus's old friends, named TUNNY,...first of all it's addressed to St. Jimmy, which Jesus's friends probably still believe he goes by...and that by staying where he was and working he got the ultimate rock and roll life, while poor Jesus is all alone.

    We're Coming Home Again - After seeing everything he missed, Jesus goes there much more to it?

    Whatsername - Some would think that the last song would be the conclusion, but in this case, i don't believe it is. All Jesus is doing is remebering Whatsername...and thats it.

    That's my opinion, in short, it's a story about not running from your problems...can I get mor specific.

    *This is my interpretation of the album, please do not believe the same thing because you heard it here, but make of it what you make of it.*
    canadian_idioton October 19, 2004   Link
  • +7
    General CommentThe majority of people in America follow the same ideology that is spewed from the mouths of politicians who are really just the voice of special interest groups and serve a specific agenda for their own benefit, and they get this information from biased media. People say that the media can't brainwash you but it most certainly can, after all our brain processes what our eyes see so all of the advertising and subliminal messages in media work when we are constantly processing this information in our brains. What we see and hear lingers in our brains and it can influence your thoughts.

    The Bush Administration wanted the panic, tension, and fear implemented on the masses in order to throw away the constitution in the name of terrorism and "protecting" you when it did quite the opposite without people even realizing. It's funny how a country get's linked to a radical group, and get's invaded under false pretenses (weapons of mass destruction). Iraq has natural resources America wants (Oil) and Afghanistan has ninety percents of the worlds opium (most lucrative drug).

    Then they try to make you out to be unpatriotic if you question your government, well honestly to you Americans who question the motives of war I would say that is one of the most patriotic things you could do. People of your Country are dying in a senseless war, your economy is getting crushed because of ridiculous spending (120 million a month on war). America needs to quit being the world police , and start worrying about their own.

    As for all of the comments on this page, leave the arguing for political and debate forums this is SONG MEANINGS. express your thoughts and feeling about the song and move on, people don't want to sift through your 100 replies in a flame war, when trying to find out different meanings to a song they like. And if you don;t like the band, why would you specifically search them out and comment on one of their Song meaning pages? obviously you liked something about the song and if you don;t and specifically came to flame people who DO like the song you must be a sad individual and I feel sorry for you. Seriously, you're scouting out somewhere to be deconstructive?

    People have DIFFERENT opinions about the song and it's message, if we didn't we would be robots. Embrace individuality, but express you different opinions and carry on so we don;t have to sift through a bunch of generic, useless information about the song.
    AbsentMindedon July 19, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General CommentMusic has always been political..I think it's scary when music isn't somewhat political..because then you have to think, what's happening? Where's the free speech?
    People like Neil Young, Beatles, Rolling Stones, have all had political themes in their songs..this is nothing new..artists are supposed to express what they FEEL in their songwriting, and Green Day is obviously doing that...You dont have to agree with their feelings..
    "Redneck agenda," is obviously a hit at Bush ...and couldnt be anymore true. This isn't "left wing propaganda." It's called FREE SPEECH, I know lots of republicans havent heard of it...there is plenty of "right wing propaganda" in country music, it's no different!
    BlueCrystalMirroron October 05, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentWell, FDR once said that Fear is what we have to fear. In Michael Moore's movie, he stated that "America is a nation based on fear.." We are based on fear because of the lies the media feads us. I am really not a big Green Day fan, but I like this song.
    HerHeartCrieson October 01, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWoohoo! First to post! Ahem.
    This song has a pretty apparent meaning...Billie is speaking about the current state of America - how it's controlled by the media, and how it controls it's citizens by means of paranoia, etc. A catchy, anthemic song that is relevant to our times.
    Abeeron September 21, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentTo quote George Carlin: "All music is the blues. All of it."

    And yes, they're talking about the fact that the entire fucking nation is controlled by the nightly news.

    And FYI, conservatives whine about just about every damn thing too. Watch the debates.
    prayingmantis84on October 06, 2004   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningAs the first song of the album, "American Idiot" shows Jesus' frustration with where he's living. It's implied that the town he lives in is one of those perfect little towns where the citizens are all easily-manipulated, happy people who blindly follow big institutions like the media and government. Jesus is a character very much against this. He's sick of hearing the media everywhere and watching it alter his peers' opinions. The song's purpose to the story is to show why Jesus would want to leave home. However, "American Idiot" is one of the songs on the album that has a meaning more important to real life than to the story.

    Billie Joe has explained how he began writing the song. Listening to a song in which the artist expressed his admittance of being a redneck but also rejoicing in that status, Billie Joe felt disgusted. He wondered how anyone could be proud of being a redneck, one of the worst things to be in Armstrong's opinion. He supposedly got back to the studio and began writing "American Idiot" to sort of "counter" songs like the one he had just heard.

    So going through the lyrics:
    Armstrong doesn't want to be an American Idiot like that redneck singer (and many other 'mericans). Our nation is under the media in the sense that we believe anything that were told. Luckily, a handful of us have been able to understand that you can't trust anything you read on the internet, but sometimes those people forget to apply that logic to everything, believing everything they hear in books or TV. I interpret the "subliminal mind-fuck" of America to be saying that the government and media have subliminally snuck their way into our minds, controlling us when we don;t ever realize it, creating a mind-fuck of a country where individuality is lacking, and crazy shit happens all the time because of it.

    I think this "new kind of tension" is how the struggles seem to be more about current social issues that were never really problems for our country during earlier time periods. The television likes to show us all the happy lives of the Kardashians etc. as if they're living the American dream that we are all supposed to want but never will get.

    Billie Joe would rather be called a faggot, a common word that bigoted conservatives use to attack liberals, than be associated with the redneck agenda of Bush and an unfortunately large number of far-right-winged people. America likes to use propaganda to get us riled up about some issue, so that we will let it attack our personal liberties. We all end up with this "paranoia" that unconsciously changes our minds and stops us from caring if our country infringes upon our rights.

    Basically, Billie Joe is disappointed in our country, and wants us to be better by beginning to question things (as expressed in "Warning"). He's not Anti-American, as many believe because of this song. It's more like he's disappointed in the beliefs and actions of someone he cares about. Just like how we may speak rudely to those we are comfortable with (yelling at our sisters and wives, but silently accepting whatever our distant teachers/bosses say) Instead of accepting America, Armstrong would rather show it where its mistakes are and allow it to better itself, which it can only do if its citizens' mindsets change.
    Jakebob13on August 21, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Maybe I'm the faggot America, I'm not a part of a redneck agenda." I love that line. The song's pretty obvioius what it's about.
    Sgt. Pepperon September 26, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentDude, do yourself a favor and shut the hell up. Just because Alice Cooper is an idiot doesn't mean the rest of them are. Dexter Holland, for example, has a PhD in Microbiology. They don't just hand those babies out, you know.

    Second, music is political and always will be. Whether or not you subscribe to the musicians political views is an entirely different thing altogether, but that doesn't change the fact that many songs and many artists put political and social themes into their music. Look at Rage Against the Machine. Fucking political. Doesn't mean you have to buy into it, and many people that do are fucking stupid. But hey, Art Alexakis of Everclear was a delegate to the national democratic convention. So maybe he knows what he's talking about, huh?

    As far as right or wrong goes... who the hell are you to decide what makes right or wrong? Who gave Bush the authority to say, "Look, whatever I do here is right, because I'm president of the United States I can do whatever I want"? Right and wrong are relative concepts. It's only through understanding of the problem and exhaustive reasearch can a real solution be reatched. And neither of those has happened.

    After all, you are aware that Osama isn't hanging out in Iraq, right? Because that's where the troops are. Don't get me wrong, I support the troops. What I will not support, however, is the reason they are there.

    Pull your head out of your ass, dude.

    To everyone else; sorry about that. The song is fucking awesome. Something that hasn't been mentioned is how the concept of an "American Idiot" is carried throughout the CD. Any thoughts?
    prayingmantis84on October 05, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag."
    - Sen. Zell Miller

    Yeah, this song is anti-Bush and maybe even anti-american-but it can be and thats whats great about the US-they can say whatever they want even if we dont like it

    Otherwise-great song
    gop524on October 28, 2004   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top