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Green Day Subvert the Subliminal American Dream With ‘Back in the USA’ Video

Two things we’ve come to know about Green Day over the years — the band has a definite political viewpoint, but they don’t always take themselves too seriously when it comes to their music videos. That holds true once again for Green Day as they’ve just unleashed their new video for “Back in the USA.”

The clip finds our trio of Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt transported to a simpler era reminiscent of the ’50s, complete with vintage clothing, tightly cropped haircuts and the cookie-cutter white picket fence life. But the guys are about to have their world turned upside down when a saleswoman comes to the door hocking sunglasses that have special powers to see the truth.

Billie’s black and white world has color that continues to grow much like Pleasantville as he becomes open to the world around him. Billie, Mike and Tre all try out the glasses, seeing advertising for the subliminal message is sends. The TV now cautions, “President to lie to the nation tomorrow,” while magazines, ads and posters let the guys know to “consume,” “conform” and “procreate now.” With their new outlook, the guys get subversive, take over a television station and unleash their new outlook upon the viewers at home. All of a sudden, the world isn’t so black and white anymore.

The video is a fitting one, as the lyrics analyze an American Dream that might not be what it seems, as Armstrong belts, “The saddest story ever told / Is feeling safe in our suburban homes.” “Back in the USA” appears on the band’s new career-spanning compilation, Greatest Hits: God’s Favorite Band. The album arrives everywhere today (Nov. 17).

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