Green Day: Jesus Of Suburbia Meaning
Song Released: 2005
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Jesus Of Suburbia Lyrics
The Jesus of suburbia
From the bible of none of the above
On a steady diet of soda pop and Ritalin
No one ever died for my sins in hell
As far as I can tell
At least the ones I got away with
saladfingers Jan 7th, 2006 1:04pm report
ok, I agree with the last submission in that each song tells a part of the story. american idiot is a concept album, so it's basically telling a story. Here's how I see it:
AMERICAN IDIOT: basically, there's an average kid named jesus of suberbia who grew up in a small town. He gets tired of being an idiot and being controlled by the media.
JESUS OF SUBERBIA: He is at home, but he's getting increasingly fed up with his life there and with the fact that his mom dates a bunch of losers, so he decides at the end to home away from home, and I assume to run to a city.
HOLIDAY: he realizes how messed up life is and how messed up the government is and how it constantly lies to him and gives him lame excuses.
BOULEDVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS: jesus is feeling alone and that there is no one in the world to save him.
ARE WE THE WAITING: he is feeling like something is missing in his life and he is waiting for it, but he doesn't know what it is.
ST JIMMY: jesus "turns into" st. jimmy. This means that jesus is so fed up with his boring life, he begins a rebelious stage and becomes his alter-ego jimmy, who is a drugged-up punk rocker and considers himself to be holy.
GIVE ME NOVACAINE: jimmy gets hooked on drugs to escape from the pain of his life, and he convinces himself that it's good for him.
SHE'S A REBEL: jimmy is introduced to Whatsername and thinks that she's really cool.
EXTRAORDINARY GIRL: jimmy falls in love with Whatsername, and since he didn't have anyone to save him, he wants to save Whatsername, because of knows of her problems.
LETTERBOMB: Whatsername isn't in love with jimmy and she leaves him.
WAKE ME UP WHEN SEPTEMBER ENDS: jimmy is sad that whatsername is gone and wants to hide from the world (this song was written about Billie joe's father dying, so it makes sense that it is about missing someone).
HOMECOMING: jimmy "kills himself", or forces himself to change back to jesus of suberbia. This basically means that j.o.s. Has ended his rebelious stage and wants to go back to a normal life. He gives up drugs and gets a job.
WHATSERNAME: j.o.s. misses whatsername, but can't remember what her name is, and knows that he is over her.
the main difference in my interpretation is that jesus of suberbia and st. jimmy are the same person, but jimmy is just jesus during his rebelious phase. In homecoming, it says that jimmy killed himself: I think this is just a metaphor that jesus realized that the life he had as jimmy was bad for him, so he convinced himself to go back to his old life.
anonymous Dec 26th, 2005 12:21pm report
The 'story' in the album starts here, and I see it a little differently than most people so I'll post it here.
JESUS OF SUBURBIA is the introduction to this character and pretty much his life. At the end of this song he leaves home. In BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS he feels lonely and seperate from the rest of the wrold. During WE ARE WAITING, JoS feels he's waiting for something but doesn't know what. Then in ST. JIMMY he meets up with St. Jimmy, who is this tough guy who JoS comes to trust. I get the idea from the lines "Jimmy says it's better than air" and "Jimmy says I won't feel a thing" in the next song, GIVE ME NOVACAINE. Moving on, in SHE'S A REBEL, JoS meets Whatsername. Quite obviously, JoS falls in love with her. EXTRAORDINARY GIRL is more about Whatsername. It seems to be about her more vulnerable side, more from her perspective while SHE'S A REBEL looks like it's JoS's image of her. I don't really understand what happens in LETTERBOMB. I think there's an argument between JoS and St. Jimmy, something to do with Whatsername, as the last lines state, "she said 'I can't take this town I'm leaving you tonight.'" which gives me the idea that it's here that JoS and Whatsername break up, though it doesn't seem they were togeather in the first place. Mostly it sounds like they were friens, though JoS did love her. In THE HOMECOMING St. Jimmy kills himself. JoS is lost without him and wanders around the town, deciding at the end of the song to go back home. Then in WHATSERNAME JoS thinks about Whatsername and how he doesn't want to miss her or think about her but he can't help it.
So there's my interpretation. If you disagree, I don't care. I just thought I'd share it with you. :) Now wasn't that nice of me?
jesusofsuburbia4 Apr 29th, 2008 4:12pm report
Jesus of Suburbia is a mini-opera involving our character, Jesus of Suburbua.
I'm the son of rage and love
The Jesus of Suburbia
This part is Jesus telling us who he is. Rage is his father who might have been an alcoholic. His mother is Love but is not very caring for him. I think of him as being closer to 16 than 18 but that's just me.
From the bible of
none of the above
on a steady diet of
Soda Pop and Ritalin
No one ever died for my
sins in hell as far as I can tell
He is explaining that he might be athiest or at least not sure of his beliefs. I picture him being a non active Christian. He is ADD hence ritalin. He then goes on to say that he has had no one die for him. He basically feels alone. This is one of Green Day's emo songs.
And there's nothing wrong with me
THis is how I'm supposed to be
In a land of make believe
who don't believe in me
He is trying to convince himself that he is not abnormal at all. But he feels that his city(Jingletown) is completely unethical. His town doesn't trust him.
Get my television fixed
Sitting on my crucifix
a living room, or my private woam
while the moms and brads are away
He spends his time sitting on his couch(crucifix)in his living room. He feels happy or at least at peace when his mom and current boyfriend are away.
TO fall in love and fall in debt
with alcohol and cigarettes
and mary jane to keep me insane
doing someone elses cocaine
He explains his only pleasure is drugs but he does not think he needs them, he just likes them. He might be the target of a few drug dealers because he stole or hasn't paid them back for drugs yet.
At the center of the earth in the parking lot
of the 7/11 where I was taught
the motto was just a lie
it said home is where the heart is
but what a shame
cause everyone's heart doesn't beat the same
He is kind of the king of his local 7/11. It was there he was taught the laws of surviving in this place. He starts to believe that he doesn't belong here because he hates it here.
City of the Dead
at the end of another lost highway
signs misleading to nowhere
City of the Damned
lost children with dirty faces today a
and no one really seems to care
He basically just explains his towns crap and mocks it.
I read the grafitti in the bathroom stall
like the holy scriptures of the shopping mall
it always seems to confess
it didn't say much but it only confirmed
that the center of the earth is the end of the world
and I could really care less
He continues to talk crap about his city. He tells us that his town is a perfect example why the world is like it is.
I don't care
He doesn't care.
Everyone's so full of shit
born and raised by hipocrites
hearts recycle but never save
from the cradle to the grave
we are the kids of war and piece
from anaheim to the middle east
we are the stories and deciples of
the Jesus of Suburbia
He once again is just talking shit about his city. He hates the hipocracy of it all and it also goes political when he talks about the war
Dearly beloved are you listening
I can't remember a word that you were saying
are we demented or am I disturbed
the space that's in between
insane and insecure
THis could be a two way conversation
His mom: are you listening
His mom: am I stupid are you spaced out
Jesus: your insane and I'm insecure
Oh, therapy can you please fill the void
am I retarded or am I just over joyed
no body's perfect but I stand accused
for lack of a better word
and that's my best excuse
He once again tells us about his mother's overbearing expectance of him.
To live, and not to breathe
to die, in tradgedy
to run, to run away
to find, what you believe
He is fed up with this hipocritical town and this hipocritical way of life.
And I leave behind this hurricane of fucking lies
I lost my faith in this, this town that don't exist
so I run, I run away
the lights, of mesochist
He tells us he is leaving and about his disbelief in society.
And I walk this line a million and one fucking times
But not this time
He is fed up. Plain and Simple.
I don't feel any shame, I won't apoligize
When there ain't no where you can go
Running away from pain
when you've been victimized
Tales from Another Broken Home
He is not ashamed of leaving and he is ready to finally be rid of this place.
You're leaving home!
He's leaving home!
anonymous Sep 7th, 2017 9:57am report
This may sound stupid but, I think it's about.....a kid that hates being controlled by the media and he becomes the "Jesus of Suburbia" wich then after a bunch of rubbish he turns into "Saint Jimmy" than then brings back the memory of his father and now I'm here and I want to be woken up when September ends as well....someone help me D:
anonymous Jun 25th, 2012 6:48am report
Ok this moght be stupid to say this but im gonna explain the whole album. There is this teen named Jesus of Suburbia and hates his life. He is also being controlled by the media, next, Jesus explains his life and then he doesnt really care about his life, i the line "Oh therapy could you please fill a void?" bcauz Jesus is a drug addict and alcholic. He runs away and moves to a place named "Jingletown". He doesnt have any shame, he doesnt care. He knows how hard life it is and goes to the goverment and gives out and the goveners are giving excuses so he could leave. And then Jesus feels bad and knows that no one is there for him. Jesus is waiting for something but doesnt know what it is. Jesus changes his name to St. Jimmy and reclaims that he is holy and still does drugs. St. Jimmy is a drug addict and drugs make him not feel the pain. Jimmy meets Whatsername and falls in love with her, Whatsername is in the same state as Jimmy but Jimmy didnt have anyone to save him so he saves her. Whatsername doesnt like him so she leaves Jimmy. He gets depressed that Whatsername left him, so that is the idea of WMUWSE. Jesus leaves the Jimmy "thing" (aka kills Jimmy) He is back to Jesus and he quits on drugs and gets himself a job. He misses Whatsername, as a line in the song, "I remember the face but I cant recall the name" it explains that Jesus knows what Whatsername looks like, but not the name. Hope it helped! It took awhile...
anonymous Jun 14th, 2012 6:51pm report
I personally think that Jesus of Suburbia is a poor misunderstood teenager that just needs love. He is so hopeless towards his city and his life. He wishes for something better but he cant seem to find that something. He find "pleasure" in using drugs and partying. However in the video they show him reading and adding to the graffiti in the bathroom stall at the 7-11 so i think that this is a way that J.O.S. expresses hisself and i also believe that he enjoys this because he spends a good amount of time there. Over all i think that Jesus of Suburbia is a lonely, sad, teen that just needs someone to tell him its ok before its too late. i doubt most of you feel the same way but its ok we all have different opinions.
anonymous Oct 10th, 2011 10:31pm report
Besides the main story of the song and saint Jimmy and all that...
This song was my life back in November-March. If you've seen the epic video, you've seen Jimmy and how obsessed he is with JoS. The lyrics are on his walls in his room and all. That was me. Back then, Saint Jimmy was my hero, the 'person' I turned to. My friends betrayed me. Everyone seemed like an idiot. I hated my family. I cut myself. And so every line in this song was my life. Every f--king word was my life. 'running away from pain when you've been victimized'.... I'm better now of course, but the song just means a lot to me still.
anonymous Sep 2nd, 2011 9:25pm report
I'm a combat veteran of Iraq with a couple deployments under my belt. This is how this song is interpreted by me.
Part 1: The kid is kind of a f*** up in his parents eyes and thinks the military may be a good route for him. He sees the wars on tv and thinks that is where I belong to prove myself.
Part 2: Many don't know this but many porta-johns, or porta-potties, are etched with all kinds of stuff in Iraq. Some tell stories, some are just for fun. The center of the earth is, in some ways he middle east and some people believe that the end of the world is near due to the signs of all of the conflict in the middle east. At the end of another lost highway? That feeling you get when you roll down an MSR or known IED hot spot. Try getting hit by one and not feel like you're playing Russian roulette with your life everytime youeave the wire. Lost children with dirt faces that no one cares about? Many Iraqi children have lost parents due to the war but who cares? Not the American media.
Part 3: I don't care if you don't care meaning I'm not an evil person for doing what I had to do right?
Part 4: This is where the song gets very relative to combat vets in my opinion. It refers to calling back home and talking with loved ones and realizing you have nothing in common with them anymore. You then try to talk to them about it but they just don't understand. You then discover that you have a taste for war and nothing else compares but you feel guilty about it.
Part 5: Part 5 this individual tries to come to terms with the animal he's become and tries to shut it off but he can't. He refuses to apologize for his actions as he finally understands that he was put in extreme circumstances and did what was asked of him by his country and what was necessary to survive. Finally, he flashes back to when he was naive about the world and wishes he could go back but he will never be able to and is forced to move on while not relating to anyone around him.
So goes the reality of PTSD and so little understanding of sacrifice for your brothers to your left and right.
anonymous Jun 26th, 2011 6:53pm report
JoS is St. Jimmy, the end of the video explains that.
(He cuts and with all the blood writes 'Saint Jimmy' on the wall and leaves a handprint)
I'm in love with St. Jimmy. He's sooo hot and disturbed <3
Just sayin' ..
anonymous Apr 10th, 2011 4:17am report
I think its about billie shitting on a plate of rice and feeding it to fergie.
anonymous Feb 15th, 2011 2:42pm report
Unfortunately all previous posts fail to recognize Green Day's genre as a whole, since punk rock has a goal to "shake the system". Most posts focus on the stereotypical approach as heard by emotional teenagers who just read the back of the album. Yes, songs are open to personal interpretation, but heres a deeper meaing;
This song bashes religion as a whole. The tone of the song is heavy-guitar riffs playing low chords such as E, the singer has a sense of spite in his voice, drums are upbeat. Once one reads the lyrics there are many hints of religion losing sense. "I lost my faith to this, this town that don't exist." "And there's nothing wrong with me, this is how I'm supposed to be." With so many religions out there, the song seems to portray how it seems pointless to have wars, since religion is, in essence, one's point of view. The song also seems to say how people are becoming lost, and mistreating their fellow man because of religion. That people become lost in the world's natural highs (cocaine, Ritalin) to escape, because even with "direction", people are lost.
anonymous Jan 18th, 2011 1:12am report
Billy Joe said in an interview that this song is about roaming the streets, finding people to chat with, and you get the feeling you're the ruler of the small city/town.
anonymous Jan 10th, 2011 1:09am report
Jesus of Suburbia is Jimmy's alter ego they are the same person. Because St Jimmys is constantly surrounded by people and things that are all wrong it makes him feel like he is Jesus of his suburbia and that even though he's not perfect, everyone else proves him right and inadvertently causes him feel better than everyone else he's constantly struggling with him throughout the album. To do whats right and to do whats wrong based on his heart, not what the world and media condition him to believe. Jimmy's whatsername becomes reality when Jesus of Suburbia is right once again. The girl depicted in this story is St Jimmys only hope that despite his shitty environment this girl that he loves is the only real thing he has and it gives him hope in his life and in the rest of the human race, and without here the Jesus of Suburbia within him takes over.
anonymous Dec 18th, 2010 12:56pm report
I thought St. Jimmy was JoS's alter ego???
anonymous Oct 11th, 2010 10:06pm report
Rage and Love-
The first verse of the song seems to be the JOS's views on religion, how he doesn't believe in God or have a religion. (“Bible of none of the above”) Also he doesn't believe Jesus died for his sins in hell, because he just seems to suffer all his sins himself, hence his nickname JOS.
He goes on to tell the world that there’s nothing wrong with him, this is who he is. The world is to accept him as he appears but he still feels ignored, as if he doesn’t exist. "In the land of make believe, that don't believe in me"
JOS talks about how pathetic and pointless his life is. He wastes it in front of the TV while his mum is out with her boyfriend, smokes, gets stoned and drunk and talks about snorting “someone else’s cocaine”. Obviously that someone being a dealer.
City of the dammed-
In here JOS talks about all the lies he has been told as a kid, and how he grew up on the streets and the people hanging about the 7/11 were his teachers because his mum didn’t care. He also talks about how selfish the west world, how we don’t pay attention to all the poverty and street children and how no one seems to care anyway. (“Lost children with dirty faces today”) Also he says he a rocky road not knowing where to go, on a road with signs “leading to nowhere”. His life is going nowhere.
JOS also talks about the lies and pointlessness behind the media and materialism which we all follow and treat like a religion “The holy Scriptures of the shopping mall” but how it is just as pointless as the graffiti in the bathroom to him: He couldn’t care less. This brings us back to JOS rebellion and the punks wanting to be different and not follow trends.
I don’t Care-
This is pretty simple. JOS talks about the theme before and how we all act like, well, if you don’t care, either do I. The world is too afraid to stand out or stand up for what’s right. We simply can’t be bothered. We are all prisoners of our own wars, brought up by hypocrites, meaning our teachers, Politicians and even our own parents, used by them until the day we die “from the cradle to the grave” Our hearts “recycled, but never saved”
JOS questions himself, “What am I to be labelled as? What does the world label ME as? Who am I?” What’s the use of filling this void with therapy, we are all different, and there is no way to be perfect, who wants to be perfect?
Tales of a broken home-
The journey begins. He leaves home, leaves behind the lies and problems to have a new beginning. Sick of his life and himself he begins his journey as a new person: St Jimmy, and so the rest of the album follows.
If there is one thing learnt from this, it’s that Billie Joe Armstrong is a lyrical Genius.
anonymous Jul 27th, 2010 7:54pm report
To fall in love and fall in debt
To alcohol and cigarettes and Mary Jane
To keep me insane and doing someone else's cocaine
it means to have fallen in love with mary jane and alcohal is a great debt, because those things are expense, but make life soooo much better. this stuff keeps him insane which is what he needs to survive in this cruel world
anonymous Jun 17th, 2010 6:08pm report
My interpretation, it might be wrong but oh well.
Since the whole album is just a story about Jesus of Suburbia, I'll interpret all the songs.
AMERICAN IDIOT: The narrator (probably JoS) is saying that he doesn't want to be part of this "IDIOT AMERICA". Hes saying that he doesn't want to follow every other American and he doesn't want to be part of the "REDNECK AGENDA".
JESUS OF SUBURBIA: JoS is just a troubled teenager in the suburbs (hence, Jesus of Suburbia). He's saying how much he hates his home and city (CITY OF THE DAMNED), which is Jingletown. In the line "IT SAYS HOME IS WHERE YOUR HEART IS, BUT WHAT A SHAME, BECAUSE EVERYONES HEART DOESNT BEAT THE SAME", JoS is saying that he's not like everyone and he hates his home. I the part called "I DONT CARE", JoS is just explaining the flaws in his city and that he doesn't care for any of it. In "DEARLY BELOVED", JoS is wondering what is wrong with him, probably questioning the first part of the song. In "TALES OF ANOTHER BROKEN HOME", JoS is running away without any shame (I DONT FEEL ANY SHAME, I WONT APOLOGIZE). He wants to leave behind the "hurricane of fuckin' lies". He hates his home so much, saying it is "BROKEN".
HOLIDAY: This is when JoS is starting his new life, which is like a "HOLIDAY".
BLVD OF BROKEN DREAMS: JoS is feeling lonely and wondering if his old home still remembers and misses him and if what he did was right.
ARE WE THE WAITING: JoS is looking for something to cheer him up, he is sort of "WAITING". He dreams of his old home/city being burnt down (THIS DIRTY TOWN WAS BURNING DOWN IN MY DREAMS). He says that the JESUS OF SUBURBIA is a lie but it is the story of his life.
ST. JIMMY: JoS finds a new "identity", which is a person who goes by the name "Jimmy", which is JoS's real name. St Jimmy is somewhat more "evil" than JoS and completely takes JoS over.
GIVE ME NOVOCAINE: JoS is talking about a migraine in his head, which is being caused by his alter ego, St Jimmy. He is saying that Jimmy is making him go crazy but Jimmy is telling him that he is a good alter ego. JoS is being controlled and mindwashed by himself.
SHES A REBEL: JoS meets the girl of his dreams, WHATSERNAME, a rebel. WHATSERNAME is St Jimmy's opposite/opponent. In LETTERBOMB, you can see this clearly.
EXTRAORDINARY GIRL: JoS is explaining how he and WHATSERNAME are perfect each other, the missing piece of their puzzles.
LETTERBOMB: WHATSERNAME writes a letter to JoS asking him what happened to him. In the line "WHATS IN LOVE IS NOW IN DEBT", WHATSERNAME is quoting JoS, who was saying that all the love is gone. WHATSERNAME tells JoS that he's not the JESUS OF SUBURBIA and that ST JIMMY is a figment of his father's rage and his mother's love. Shes trying to set JoS, or JImmy, straight.
WAKE ME UP WHEN SEPTEMBER ENDS: This song actually had about nothing to do with the story. It was about Billie Joe Armstrong's dad who died in September twenty years before the song. "LIKE MY FATHERS COME TO PASS, TWENTY YEARS HAS GONE SO FAST". He doesn't want to remember the pain of September.
HOMECOMING: In "THE DEATH OF ST JIMMY", St Jimmy "killed himself" or JoS killed his alter ego, probably listening to what WHATSERNAME said in LETTERBOMB. JoS also says that St Jimmy taught him how to live and that St Jimmy was the "spark in the night" in the "city of lust". JoS says that St Jimmy blames mom and dad for everything bad. In EAST 12TH STREET, JoS says that he is done acting like he's been acting. He wants to get out of his new life.In "NOBODY LIKES YOU", JoS is talking about St Jimmy on how nobody liked him and wondering where he went. JoS is moving on from his "St Jimmy" phase. In "ROCK N ROLL GIRLFRIEND", JoS tells the long gone St Jimmy that he has a new life and he is enjoying it. He says that he hasnt drank of smoked anything, so he's moved on and become some kind of "good" person. In "WE'RE COMING HOME AGAIN", JoS returns home to his fellow rebels in the suburbs. Hes completely moved on.
WHATSERNAME: JoS has long since moved on, living a new life when he suddenly remembers his long lost love, WHATSERNAME. He believes that he ran into her down the street and he wanted to burn all the photographs of back then. He doesn't want to miss WHATSERNAME, but she is always in his head, even though the last time he saw her was "forever ago".
And that was my interpretation of Green Day's American Idiot album.
anonymous May 25th, 2010 5:08pm report
This song is sung by Green Day and is the sequel to their song “American Idiot”. All in all, this song is about a male teenager who calls himself Jesus of Suburbia. He lives in a poor town and nothing is working out in his life so he turns to drugs and joins a gang. After he loses his girlfriend he can’t take all of the stress in his life and he runs away from home. The song “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” is the next song in the album and it carries on from where this song leaves off.
Part 1 (Jesus of Suburbia)
The first part of the song talks about his personality, his family, his town, and how he gets hooked on drugs.
The first verse talks about his disorders and personality. In the first line, when he refers to himself as being the son of rage and love, his father is rage and his mother is love. This interpretation can also lead to the hypothesis that he has mixed emotions as an adolescent, which is confirmed later in the verse. The second line is just introducing the listener to the narrator by telling us what he likes to call himself. The third line was a little tricky. When he says he is from the bible of none of the above, I think he is saying that he never did anything significant in his life and he doesn’t deserve to be in any book (the reference to the bible) because he leads an average life and has not accomplished anything important. So basically, he is saying that he is an average guy. I had to look up the word Ritalin online in the next line because I had no clue what it was. Apparently, it is a brand name for a central nervous system stimulant to treat kids with Attention Deficit Disorder. So, this confirms the hypothesis that Jesus of Suburbia (JoS) has emotional problems as a teenager. I also wasn’t sure about the meaning of the next three lines in the verse. I think they mean that nobody ever tried to take the blame off of him and nobody died to try and help fix things for him.
The next verse is the refrain for this part in the song. JoS changes the way he acts to try and fit in to his town. In this verse, he tries to convince himself that the way he is now acting is the way he should and always should have. He changes the way he acts from being an idiot (“American Idiot”) to becoming a punk, the way all the other teens are in the area, to try and fix things. When he changes, he pretends that everything is all right when it really isn’t and it just makes things worse for him. The land of make believe is his town and the last line basically means that all of the adults in the town look down on him since he has become a punk.
The final verse in the first part of the song (not including the last refrain) talks about his life at home, his mother’s relationships, and his addiction to drugs. The first and second line tells us that JoS sits at home all day on his couch (“crucifix”) bored out of his mind because he is all alone. The reference to his private womb gives the listener the impression that he is the only one there. The third line tells us that his mom is never home (she is away getting drunk at parties in the music video) and she is away with her “boyfriend”. The plural on “Brads” infers that JoS’s mother either has a lot of boyfriends or that she is cheating on her current boyfriend. The next line also supports this interpretation (“to fall in love”). The other part of this line (“to fall in debt”) gives the listener the impression that they gamble at the parties. The next line seems like it is supposed to be part of lines three and four, but it’s not. The last two lines are really the one’s that go together. When it says “to alcohol and cigarettes and Mary Jane” this is referring JoS’s turn to drugs to try and fix things as well as the last line.
Part 2 (City of the Damned)
Part two of the song talks about JoS’s town, his participation in a gang, and his mindset.
The first verse talks about the gang and his realization that he doesn’t have a home. The first three lines talks about how JoS is in a gang. He joins a gang to get away from his home and so he doesn’t have to spend time around his mom and her current boyfriend. The first line, “At the center of the Earth” means that his participation in the gang is what he spends his time doing all the time and it is his life. The next two lines are just pure statements telling the listener the gang hangs out and where they usually meet up. The last lines in the verse are an explanation of JoS’s realization that he doesn’t have a home. All of the other teens in the gang teach JoS that the motto of the 7-11 is a lie. JoS says that home isn’t where his heart is because he hates his home, unlike most other people. The other teens have the same feeling and they teach JoS about the lie.
The next verse is the refrain for part two of the song. The first line (“City of the dead”) is JoS referring to his hometown. He calls it a dead city because nothing exciting ever happens in his town. The second and third lines say that JoS thinks his town should be considered as nothing (“Signs misleading to nowhere”). This is also why the highway is considered “lost”, because it leads to nowhere. The fourth line is another opinion of JoS’s town. This line means that his town is poor and it seems like nothing is right and everything is cursed. The last two lines mean that nobody in his town cares about the troubled teens around them. This entire verse can also be considered a metaphor for JoS’s thought process. The city can be a metaphor for is mind, meaning that it is twisted and empty (hence “dead” and “damed”). The signs can be his thoughts, meaning that they are useless. JoS can be considering himself as the lost children of the city because he doesn’t know what to do or where to go and nobody cares about him anymore.
The next verse is the last verse of part two (besides the last refrain) and is when JoS realizes that joining the gang is just making things worse. In the first two lines, he reads his own graffiti that he has added to the bathroom stall in the mall. The rest of the lines are about him realizing his mistake. The graffiti teaches him a lesson, that the “center of the earth” (his participation in the gang) is just making things worse and he is leading a bad life by staying active in the gang. But JoS doesn’t care if he is leading a bad life and making wrong decisions anymore.
Part 3 (I don’t care)
Basically, as you can guess by the title of part three, JoS talks about how he doesn’t care about anything anymore.
The first five verses in this part are just JoS trying to convince himself that he doesn’t care if nobody cares about him, even though he does. You can tell by the music video that it really does affect him if you look at his facial expression during this part of the song.
The last verse talks about the kids in the gang that JoS is in. In the first two lines, JoS is talking about the kids in his town, and how they are all like him. The hypocrites he refers to are the adults that raised the children. The next two lines tell us about JoS’s faith in religion, or in this case lack of faith. Jesus was a savior, someone who saved peoples hearts. But the third line says that the hearts are recycled instead of being saved, meaning that he doesn’t believe in Jesus, or at least his ability to make things better for people. The next line, “From the cradles to the grave”, means that his belief about Jesus is that he can’t fix things anytime in his life. The next four lines talk about the other kids in the gang, and we find out that JoS is the leader. “We are the kids of war and peace” means that the teenagers in the town are basically the troublemakers. The next line, “From Anaheim to the middle east”, is talking about how there is always war and peace in the gang. Anaheim is a peaceful city in California and there are a lot of disputes in the Middle East. The two lines after that basically mean that the kids in the gang follow JoS and look up to him. The rest of the lines are just JoS talking about the land of make believe again (his town) and how he doesn’t care about anything.
Part 4 (Dearly beloved)
In this part of the song, JoS talks about his breaking up with his girlfriend.
This part is all just one verse and is directed towards his girlfriend. The first four lines are JoS talking to his girlfriend about their relationship before they break up, and the last four lines are JoS talking to himself after they break up. The first two lines tell us that JoS often forgets what he and his girlfriend were talking about either meaning that he was distracted or he just didn’t really care. Both of these facts lead to the conclusion that he didn’t like his girlfriend that much. In the next two lines, JoS talks to his girlfriend about their relationship. He basically means that he doesn’t think they belong together because there is space in between them. The next line (and the three after it) is after he breaks up with his girlfriend. The therapy he refers to is drugs, meaning that he, once again, has turned to drugs to try and make himself feel better. The void he refers to is the emptiness that he feels when his girlfriend has left him. In the next three lines, JoS is saying that he doesn’t feel anything now for the girl he broke up with, and he tries to lie that she broke up with him because he said something wrong, which isn’t true. She broke up with him because of the way he had been acting and the choices he had been making. There can also be an alternative interpretation of the last two lines. JoS can be criticizing society and the laws that have been put forth and approved by the government.
Part 5 (Tales of another broken home)
This is the last part of the song and it is about JoS running away from home and leaving behind his town.
The first two lines in the first verse of part five is JoS talking about how he feels that he is messed up (hence the first line) and it feels like dying. He compares his life to these two lines because it can be interpreted as “To live and to know nobody cares feels like dying in a tragedy”. JoS says in the next two lines that running away is his only solution to getting away from his terrible town. The next two lines talk about him leaving behind his town when he runs away. He compares his town to a hurricane of lies because he was never told the truth about anything in his town. You can tell that he is angry at his town because of the word use in the last line of the first verse.
The next verse is also talking about him running away and leaving his town behind as well. The first line tells us that JoS doesn’t believe his town can get better and the second line tells us that he doesn’t think his town deserves to exist. In the next three lines, he is leaving his old life behind and running away towards the life of a masochist, someone who gets sexual pleasure through humiliation. Then he repeats the line we encountered in the first verse about running away from his town of lies. The next three lines are a metaphor for his decision about running away. The first two lines mean he has thought about leaving his town a million and one times and the “line” of which he refers to is the choice of staying or leaving. So basically he is saying he has walked the line of decision many times. The last line tells us that he has finally been driven over the edge and has made his decision and is leaving his home.
The next verse is short, only two lines, and he is talking to his mother. JoS is so fed up with his home, his town, and his family that he won’t apologize to his mother for running away.
The next verse is JoS explaining why he has to leave home. Home is supposed to be a place of safety, where you can be safe from everything, but JoS feels like this is not what his home is like. The last line is saying that all of the song before that line is just another story of an unfortunate teenager like himself.
The last verse is just JoS telling the listener that he has made his final decision and he is leaving home.
Figurative Language and Sound Devices
- JoS compares the graffiti on the wall to Holy Scriptures using a direct comparison. He compares the graffiti to Holy Scriptures because Holy Scriptures teach lessons, and the graffiti is teaching him a lesson. (Part 2, Verse 3, Line 3)
- JoS calls himself the son of rage and love, indicating that his father is usually angry all the time and that his mother is a woman of love, someone who changes her mind about guys all the time. (Part 1, Verse 1, Line 1)
- JoS uses the word bible to say that he is not worthy enough to be in any kind of book. He compares the book to a bible because the bible tells of significant and important things that have been done, but JoS has never done anything significant or important. (Part 1, Verse 1, Line 3)
- JoS calls his town a land of make believe. He says this because he is trying to pretend that everything is all right in his town when it really isn’t. (Part 1, Verses 2 and 4, Line 3)
- JoS calls the gang the center of the Earth because it is what he does all the time and it is basically his life. (Part 2, Verse 1, Line 1)
- JoS talks about people’s hearts and how the beat differently. This is a metaphor for people’s thoughts about their homes and how much they trust in them. (Part 2, Verse 1, Lines 7-9)
- JoS calls his hometown the city of the dead. This basically means that nothing exciting ever happens in his town (Part 2, Verses 2 and 4, Line 1)
- JoS calls his hometown the city of the damned. It isn’t really cursed, but it means he lives in a poor town where it seems like everything is wrong. (Part 2, Verse 2, Line 4)
- Verses 2 and 4 in part 2 could also be entire metaphors for JoS’s thought process. The city can be a metaphor for is mind, meaning that it is twisted and empty (hence “dead” and “damned”). The signs can be his thoughts, meaning that they are useless. JoS can be considering himself as the lost children of the city because he doesn’t know what to do or where to go and nobody cares about him anymore. (Part 2, Verses 2 and 4, Lines 1-6)
- JoS says that everyone is full of shit. Everyone isn’t really full of poop, but JoS means that everybody always tells lies and nobody tells the truth. (Part 3, Verse 6, Line 1)
- JoS says that hearts are recycled but never saved, this doesn’t mean that everyone’s hearts are recycled, but that they are never saved from depression, despair, and grief. (Part 3, Verse 6, Line 3)
- When JoS says from the cradle to the grave, this is a metaphor saying ‘from birth to death’. (Part 3, Verse 6, Line 4)
- JoS says “We are the kids of war and peace” this is a metaphor meaning that the gang always has mixed personalities and that there are always fights and truces. (Part 3, Verse 6, Line 5)
- Anaheim and the Middle East are metaphors for war and peace. (Part 3, Verse 6, Line 6)
- When they say “We are the stories and disciples of (the Jesus of Suburbia)” JoS is saying that they are his followers and that he is the leader of the gang. (Part 3, Verse 6, Lines 7-8)
- JoS talks about the land of make believe again which is a metaphor for his town. (Part 3, Verse 6, Lines 9 and 11)
- JoS asks “Are we demented…” and he isn’t really asking if they are crazy. He is just asking if they really do belong together. (Part 4, Verse 1, Line 3) (*NOTE*: I am not sure if this is actually considered a metaphor)
- JoS refers to the space that’s in between. It isn’t really a space, it’s just a metaphor for their closeness of their relationship. (Part 4, Verse 1, Line 4)
- JoS asks the therapy to fill the void. There are two metaphors in this one line. The therapy is a metaphor for drugs and the void is the emptiness he feels after he is dumped. (Part 4, Verse 1, Line 4)
- “To live and not to breathe | Is to die in tragedy” is JoS saying that he feels that he is messed up (hence the first line) and it feels like dying. He compares his life to these two lines because it can be interpreted as “To live and to know nobody cares feels like dying in a tragedy”. (Part 5, Verse 1, Lines 1 and 2)
- JoS calls his town a hurricane of lies because nobody ever told him the truth. (Part 5, Verse 1, Line 6)
- “…The light of masochist” is a metaphor for the life of a masochist. (Part 5, Verse 2, Line 5)
- The last three lines in verse two of part five are a metaphor for his decision about running away. The first two lines mean he has thought about leaving his town a million and one times and the “line” of which he refers to is the choice of staying or leaving. So basically he is saying he has walked the line of decision many times. The last line tells us that he has finally been driven over the edge and has made his decision and is leaving his home.
- JoS calls his home broken. It isn’t really broken, it is just a metaphor meaning that he doesn’t feel like it’s home and everything is messed up there. (Part 5, Verse 4, Line 4)
- JoS says he is the son of rage and love which is alluding to his mother and father. (Part 1, Verse 1, Line 1)
- “We are the kids of war and peace” and “We are the stories and disciples” alludes to the members of the gang that follow JoS. (Part 3, Verse 6, Lines 5 and 7)
- JoS is talking to “Dearly beloved…” which is alluding to his girlfriend (Part 4, Verse 1, Line 1)
- A hyperbole is used in the fifth part of the song: “And I walked this line a million and one fucking times”. He didn’t really walk the line a million and one times, he is just saying that he feels like he has walked it too many times for his liking. (Part 5, Verse 2, Lines 8 and 9)
- JoS repeats verses two and four of part one to convey that he lives up to the low expectations of the others around him. (Part 1, Verses 2 and 4, Lines 1-4)
- JoS repeats verses two and four of part two to convey that his town really just plain out sucks. (Part 2, Verses 2 and 4, Lines 1-6)
(*NOTE*: The repetition mentioned above is mainly repeated because it is the main meaning of the song, the parts that are not repeated are just details).
- JoS repeats verses one through four and sort of five. He uses the repetition here to say that if he kept telling himself he didn’t care, it eventually would come true. (Part 3, Verses 1-5, Lines 1-4 and 1)
- JoS repeats Land of make believe to sum up what his town is to him. (Part 3, Verse 6, Lines 9 and 11)
- JoS repeats “And I leave behind | This hurricane of fucking lies” twice to tell the listener that he really hates how everybody has lied to him in his life. (Part 5, Verses 1 and 2, Lines 5 and 6; 6 and 7)
- JoS repeats “You’re leaving” three times to make his point clear that he has finally decided on leaving home. (Part 5, Verse 5, Lines 1-3)
- The rhythm in this song changes a lot. There is basically a different rhythm for each part of the song and they vary from fast to moderately slow.
- In this song there is a lot of internal rhyme and there are a lot of couplets appearing in the lyrics. The rhyme scheme is different for each part of the song. I think that Green Day did a very good job rhyming the words while still conveying the same tone and meaning of the song.
- This is considered a rock song because of the percussion and all of the electric guitars used. There is also a piano and the percussion mentioned before is a drum set. There are parts when all of the instruments are used together and, along with the lyrics, it makes it seem like the person singing is angry about things. When the piano solo is used towards the end of the song, it seems sad and it seems like JoS might even seem regretful about leaving his home.
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