Songwriting Analysis: Green Day “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”

Green Day: American Idiot

As a song out of the American Idiot story line, this one had a definitive mission: to paint the color of loneliness.  Of excruciating, everlasting loneliness.  And the resolve to keep going despite.

Dramatic stuff, and Green Day pulls it off with gusto.  Observe these songwriting techniques here:

  • Repetitive melodic figures applied in both verse and chorus — reinforces that sense of continuousness.
  • Reserve the deviation from the above pattern to the climax of the chorus, where a very strong note — E in the key of F minor — gets presented, but without resolution.  Again, perfect music metaphor for the yearning and the letdown, to continue the status quo.
  • Chord progressions are built to support the emotional content: wispy minor chords in the verse, heroic chords in the chorus, climax on the V chord.