Monday, December 7, 2015


"Holiday" is a single straight off of Green Day's wildly successful 2004 album, American Idiot. The entire album can be seen as a deconstruction and criticism of the modern age, and that can be seen in its 2009 spiritual sequel 21st Century Breakdown. "Holiday" specifically was written as a response to the Iraq war, and Bush's presidency in general. The lyrics juxtapose images of the comfortable American lifestyle with the horrors of the war.

Take the second stanza: "Hear the dogs howling out of key/To a hymn called 'Faith and Misery' (Hey!)/And bleed, the company lost the war today". Here, Green Day looks first at Iraq, and how in this time of war they can do nothing but scream and pray. Then it cuts to corporate America, and shows that they're more concerned about losing profits than they are about losing lives. "Bleed" also has a double meaning here, referring to both corporations losing money and literal people bleeding in the streets.

For the hook, Green Day parodies American politicians, using a persona of the Representative of California. "Sieg Heil to the president Gasman/ Bombs away is your punishment/ Pulverize the Eiffel towers/ Who criticize your government/ Bang bang goes the broken glass and/ Kill all the fags that don't agree/Trials by fire, setting fire/ Is not a way that's meant for me" These lines reference the scare tactics used by politicians to get government support for war. Terms like "Sieg Heil" and "Gasman" compare Bush to Hitler. Here, the motif of fire is used both to represent a struggle, as well as soldiers literally setting Iraq on fire.

"Holiday" is poetic because it uses analogies and imagery to criticize a massive and well-established system. It focuses on its use of language to express the frustration felt by millions of Americans during and after the war. The last line sums it up best: "this is our lives on holiday." Us Americans don't have to worry about our own destruction because our lives are so comfortable. Being able to communicate something like that in such a short line shows true mastery of language.

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