Emotional rollercoaster

Review: Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day

Emotional rollercoaster

Willow Burkholder, Staff Writer - The Mustang Messenger

   Following the release of the first three hard-rock anthems of Green Day’s American Idiot album, mostly about 9/11 and the Bush administration, Wake Me Up When September Ends is described by American Songwriter as “a somber offering” compared to the other singles and the album in its entirety. Although written originally about the frontman’s father, the song has been used as a tribute to 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. 

   The meaning behind the song is quite depressing but can also deeply resonate with other people who have lost a loved one to cancer like Armstrong. One of the things that make the song so real and heartfelt is how long it took the frontman to become emotionally ready to sing and record the track. The song was written 20 years earlier, and according to Song Facts, was originally written for a different album, however “…Billie Joe didn’t feel that he was in an emotional state to record it, so the song was held back and used on American Idiot.” 

The song may be as popular as it is in the band’s discography because of how the instruments come together. The beginning starts out with just an acoustic guitar and Armstrong’s voice, giving a melancholy atmosphere, being described by some fans as “the feeling of sadness you feel at first after losing a loved one.” The song then brings in a slow drum sound, then an electric guitar and the instruments become heavier, seeming to come across as the anger and grief one would naturally feel after the initial sadness of losing someone close. It then goes back to a small acoustic part and a feel that is more sad than angry, and the rollercoaster of grief continues by eventually going back to a heavier, angrier-sounding tone. 

Although the song has a very deep meaning behind it, a lot of people have turned it into a joke. Usually, around October 1st, people tend to say things like “It’s almost time to wake up the Green Day guy.” Armstrong has stated many times that he finds it aggravating and isn’t comfortable with the viral comment. Because of how much this joke has been spread, people tend to not try and understand the meaning of the song, pushing aside what some people would call an “emo anthem.” 

   All in all, Wake Me Up When September Ends is a very heartfelt song, and relatable for a lot of people. Although it’s joked about this time of year, it’s good to be respectful towards the people who have a deep connection with the song and Billie Joe himself; you never know how deeply connected someone could be to something that seems as simple as a song.