I was really, really confused when I first listened to Green Day’s new track, Bang Bang, from their upcoming album (!) Revolution Radio yesterday morning on Spotify. I got somewhat that it was from the POV of a mass shooter but it wasn’t until I watched the video they made accompanying the song with the lyrics that I realized, yes, this is exactly that.
And the lyrics are subtle as fuck.
Not since the band’s criticism of the Bush administration on American Idiot have they been really political or this discreet with their lyrics (in my opinion). They criticized the hell out of that administration and never once mentioned their names.
But the thing is: I’m not sure which mass shooters they’re criticizing. Billie Joe was quoted saying he was inspired to write the song and the album after joining in a march in NYC for Michael Brown and his unfortunate shooting by the police. But the song sounds much more like a commentary on the Omar Mateen’s (the Orlando shooter) of the country than a commentary on bad police shootings. Basically it sounds like he’s calling out Islamic extremism.
Before you get your panties in a twist, I think it is 100% possible to talk about Islamic extremists without painting every single Muslim as a terrorist (because they’re obviously not). If a Christian went out and killed people and said it was for Jesus, we’d have no problem calling him/her a Christian extremist without implying that all Christians are bad. So, if you can’t handle me using that phrase, than scroll to the next blog and enjoy living your life with trigger warnings. (Side note: all religions are bad, in my opinion.)
I digress. Anyways, I think this is probably the case because of the following lyrics:
I wanna be like the soldiers on the screen
It’s my private movie (Holy War)
Oh baby, baby, this is Viva Vendetta
Oh this is love or it’s World War Zero
What soldiers? Most likely ISIS since the news likes to play videos of them all the time. Holy War? Hmm. Viva Vendetta? ISIS just released a list of reasons why they hate us (meaning western culture); one of which was for invading their lands. And the lyrics,”I want to be a celebrity Martyr” just make me think this is about religion.
Then again there are these lyrics that make me think it’s about the Dylan Roof’s of the country:
I am a semi-automatic lonely boy
You’re dead, I’m well fed
Give me death or give me head.
Lots of these mass shooters who haven’t been motivated by Islamic extremism often have in common that they’re loners who aren’t good with girls (give me head). They come from decent families (I’m well fed) who don’t see it coming (or maybe they did and ignored it).
But despite the supposed-lyrics that it’s about all of the mass shooters, let’s not forget the bridge music that sounds very, very, very like Arabian/Middle Eastern music (2.05 mark in the song). The sound bites before the song starts, too, are about executions which are exclusively an ISIS/Islamic extremist practice right now (at least in the news; I know other religions have partaken throughout history, thank you).
I really haven’t found much discussion online so I’d love to know what your take on the song is. All I know is that, despite the topic, I love the song. And I love the subtly. It’s American Idiot all over again. There are even homages paid to St. Jimmy and Letterbomb in there.
October 9th can’t get here fast enough.