Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends

Wake Me Up When September Ends, typically one of the less requested George Michael covers. Of course not! It’s day four of our Artist Focus, on Green Day!

I would comment that I reckon a number of people probably do, in fact, try to let them know when September ends, but I can’t really be arsed.

Wake Me Up When September Ends starts out as one of Green Day’s more relaxed songs, focusing less on emotionally charged music such as heavy guitar or drums, and more on lyrics surrounding a truly emotive subject – the loss of a parent, in this case, Billie Jo Armstrong’s father.

We’ll start with the video, which starts off with a tale as old as time – young lovers, professing an undying love for one another, how they’ll never part, yadda yadda yadda, and then one of them decides to go off and do something else. Normally it’s war. This time, it’s war. As our male protagonist ends up in Iraq, or one of the three other potential warzones that the US were involved in either directly, or having pledge support to, his squad gets attacked and it’s assumed he’s gonna die. Because whatever Harry Potter may have tried to teach us, love means fuck-all when you’ve got people trying to kill you.

Oh, and we see them play some music too. Drummer’s still mental.

It’s not a bad song – it’s different to the other pieces we’ve covered this week, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not a song designed for making fans, it’s a song designed to deal with something that is as human as love – loss.

There’s a few choice lyrics, but we’ll go with this one line that has stuck with me a few times since I first head the song, years and years ago.

The innocent can never last

And it’s true. Sooner or later, we all face that great equalizer, Death, with his insistence that our time has come, and if not for ourselves, than for someone we care for – Death is an ever-present problem, not unlike taxes, as per the famous line, but not something to be feared, rather something to accept. Accept that we, and our loved ones, will no longer be, one day. Accept that, and work towards making that day as palpable as possible. You can’t stop it – not forever – but you can be ready for it, and that’s what we should all do, really. It’s not easy, it’s not always possible, but where it is… We should at least try.

But… This is a music review. Apparently. It got a bit… I dunno, not Nietzsche, but definitely something philosophically depressing, right?

I like the song, but it bums me out. I can’t get into it, I can’t bop to it, and I certainly can’t belt it out as I cycle to or from work on a typical morning, can I?


That Guy

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