Stereotypes of Generation Y: Boredom, ennui, no sense of purpose or direction, feeling abandoned by the Baby Boomers' rotten parenting skills, not really struggling because most of their needs are met, not really satisfied because all of their non-essential desires are thwarted, lethargy, indifference, apathetic, and wandering alone in a limbo of no real consequences and no hard problems left to solve.
And while Green Day came along just a hair too early for being square in the middle of this, they practically ooze Generation Y from their pores. Check the lyrics of a typical Green Day song, or even a song typical of Green Day's era, against a typical song from the '60s or '80s. Less colorful, less angry, less happy, less poetic... less sure of itself. Just floating along, frustrated, and smoking dope just to fill the time. Even when they get bored with the dope. Gladly popping that Ritalin because, hey, anything to take away that nagging itch in the seat of your pants that's telling you you should be doing something. Ritalin helps you stay in your seat and be quiet, which is all the other generations want "the trophy kids" to do.
Waterfront Park of Martinez, California
Photo: Alessandra Rc, Dreamstime
The average protagonist of a Green Day song is a male sitting still in his room, staring out, with nothing to do, while his brain gnaws at its chains. Which makes "Christie Road" the most prototypical Green Day song of all. It is the root song from which all other Green Day songs spring.
Christie Road itself is located in the city of Martinez, California, in Contra Costa County. It's a sleepy little hamlet with a population around 35,000. Just how quiet is this town? In 2007, a group of beavers built a dam in nearby Alhambra Creek, and the dam was large enough to be a flood hazard. A city council meeting was called, with controversy raging whether to evict the beavers or not - it's still going on now, forming a subcommittee. The beavers have their own webpage at martinezbeavers.org
. This is big news in Martinez.
The city is close enough to San Francisco to have a Mediterranean climate, but the local lay of the land still brings to mind the high California desert farther south. Absolutely unremarkable in every way, which perhaps makes it fitting for this song's mood. The spot by the tracks is actually supposed to be the local "party spot".
Youth in any small town can appreciate how sacred that spot is. If we're talking about the right size of town, this is where the local cops (all four of them) know you guys hang out there, but they don't bother you as long as you keep it down. You keep it clean. You don't want beer cans and bottles stacking up. But if you dig around in the dirt, you'll find a few roaches of joints around. Certainly a lot of cigarette butts.
Maybe you spent a few nights - perhaps a whole summer - kicking around just such a town where there was nothing to do but hang out and get a buzz at the party spot. If so, then you know a comfort in that place. No matter where you go in life, you'll sometimes think back to your spot by the tracks. You know that your buddies think of you too, and your weird little circle of friends with your dumb little in-jokes are where the real cool scene was all along.Pete Trbovich
November 23, 2010
Christie Road Songfacts
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