The American punk trio Green Day became world famous in 1994 with their third studio album Dookie. The cheerful poppunk of the group initially did not seem to have a long expiration date, but as we speak we are twelve albums further. Green Day has also become a crowd favorite at major festivals. What are the ten best Green Day songs?
“Holiday” from the American Idiot album is probably Green Day’s most political song. The target is mainly the then American President George Bush and the apathy of many fellow countrymen who, for example, uncritically accepted the Iraq war. The refrain with the text “This is our lives on holiday” refers to this. As usual, Green Day frames the message with treacherously cheerful music, full of cheerful cries and a catchy melody.
“J.A.R.” was part of the Dookie session but would not make it to the album. A finished version ended up on the soundtrack of the movie Angus and became a modest hit. No wonder because it is an almost perfect song in the early style of the band. This is again a typical Green Day song because the chorus and the positive energy almost make you forget that it is an ode to a deceased friend. The abbreviation stands for Jason Andrew Relva, a childhood friend of bass player Mike Dirnt who died in a car accident at the age of 18.
8. American Idiot
The recordings for a new Green Day album were stolen in 2002 and were never recovered. The band had to start all over again, which they did in good spirits and eventually produced their strong comeback album American Idiot. The single of the same name gives a good summary of the new Green Day: political, critical and sarcastic in which the old-fashioned pop feeling is still completely intact.
7. Brain Stew/Jaded
The problem with sudden success is that you have to hold onto it. How could Green Day follow up Dookie? The band was not bothered by writer’s block: Insomniac followed a year later. The album would never be as popular as its predecessor. The subjects are darker and the sound louder. At the same time this does not detract from Green Day’s talent as the double single “Brain Stew / Jaded” proves. “Brain Stew” starts with one of their best riffs. Suddenly it changes to Jaded where the pace is considerably increased.
6. Jesus of Suburbia
“Jesus of Suburbia” is without a doubt the most ambitious Green Day song. This was a major change for a punk band specializing in short songs. Moreover, it was part of the concept album American Idiot, also an idea that is not very punk. “Jesus of Suburbia” was conceived by the band as a “Bohemian Rhapsody” of the future and consists of several parts. There are different versions of “Jesus of Suburbia” from a shortened single version to a 12-minute video with a plot of dialogs added.
5. When I Come Around
“When I Come Around” would only be Dookie’s fourth single, but it became one of Green Day’s most successful songs. The song was written for the girlfriend of singer Billie Joe Armstrong. ‘When I Come Around’ is about the routine of life on tour and how two lovers deal with it. Apparently the message worked well because eventually they would marry each other.
The first single from Dookie would make Green Day a big name. Strangely enough, the subject of “Longview” is not spectacular, namely boredom. The song is nothing more than a summary of a boring day hanging around the house. Musically it is anything but annoying thanks to a famous bass intro and intense chorus.
3. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)
Nimrod (1997) was an important step for Green Day. On this album they tried to break with their successful poppunk formula. A big rock band must of course also play acoustic ballads. Without losing its own identity, this was achieved with “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”, which was used almost immediately in television series and has become a classic farewell number at graduation parties.
2. Boulevard of Broken Dreams
After their first success period, Green Day seemed to have fallen into a downward trend. American Idiot put an end to this in 2004. With its pervasive structure and melancholic atmosphere, the single “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” would become one of the most popular songs of the decade. A real radio hit that has often been copied without of course approaching the original.
1. Basket Case
The single “Basket Case” remains the perfect Green Day song: simple, cheerful in design but with a dark undertone. “Basket Case” is based on the panic attacks that singer Billie Joe Armstrong pursued for years. The best medicine? Write a song about it. Thanks to the colorful video clip in which the band plays the song in an institution as a kind of therapy. The accompanying album Dookie would sell more than 10 million copies and Green Day became a pop phenomenon.