By Mike Rengifo
Californian punk rock band Bad Religion’s song American Jesus seamlessly blends elements of nationalism, religion, and American identity.
Its exceptional guitar riffs, plus its rapid energy and catchy instrumentation, took me to a different planet from the very beginning.
After listening to this powerful punk rock anthem multiple times, I understand the powerful lyrics of American Jesus explain divine favouritism, suggesting a special connection between God and the United States of America over other nations.
When we dive into the lyrics, the line “I don’t need to be a global citizen coz I’m blessed by nationality” I interpret that being born in the USA might make one feel superior, as if they don’t have to concern themselves with global issues.
The line “I feel sorry for the Earth’s population cause so few live in the USA” implies that only Americans are favoured by God.
It’s ironic because most of the global population resides outside of America.
This challenges the idea that America is the sole nation chosen by God.
The rest of the lyrics suggest that Americans are obsessed with religious symbolism.
However, a nation obsessed with wealth, power and materialism contradicts those Christian values and only displays a major hypocrisy of the society.
Greg Graffin’s unique and aggressive vocal style enhances the impact of the message, making the song more attractive, compelling, and addictive to listen to.
It’s one of my favourite Bad Religion songs, due to its thought-provoking lyrics and its infectious fast melody that’s hard to get out of my head.
The song was released in 1993 as part of the album Recipe for Hate.
According to Oldtimemusic.com the song became a success for the band founded in 1979 and still is considered as one of the band’s most iconic songs.
Since the song is well known and largely influential for the punk community regardless of the negative criticism from the Media.
An intriguing fact is that Pearl Jam’s vocalist, Eddie Vedder, contributed backing vocals on the track .
Featured Image: Bad Religion at the Paradise Rock Clun in 2015. Picture: digboston/CC/flickr