Reevaluating Green Day

So I challenged myself to re-evaluate a band that I’ve on-again, off-again liked for two decades- Green Day.  They’ve never been close to my favorites, but I do have a history of liking them.  It goes something like this-

High School- Dookie comes out.   Dookie was their major label debut (a big deal, for better or worse, for a punk band).  I hadn’t heard of them before.  I liked it a lot and listened to it frequently.

6 months later- everyone is listening to it.  I stop listening to it.  Yes, I know.

Several years- I ignore most of what they do, or in the case of Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), I actively don’t like them.

Several more years- I’m in Japan and mostly ignoring American music

Return to USA- some of their new hits are on the radio- Boulevard of Broken Dreams, When September Ends, Jesus of Suburbia.  They’ve changed a lot- they’re not Rock Star Green Day, not Pop Punk Green Day, but I actually like these songs.

Today- after putting out a album trilogy that I can’t remember hearing a single from, and then Billie Joe throwing a fit at the I-Heart Radio music festival and heading to rehab and finally, worst of all- nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame– it looks like Green Day is officially done as a relevant act.

They had a great run.  But I never really gave them a chance until really late in their career, after having dumped them unceremoniously way back in high school.  I’m trying to rectify that by listening to their albums, in chronological order, one per week until I’m done.  Regular readers of the blog know that I will occasionally set myself up with a task like this and then flake out.  So, fair warning, I might get tired of this and not complete it.  But I did listen to their first album 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours.

The CD actually included three of their first records, so I don’t know if it counts as an album, but I’d always heard it called one.

I don’t remember ever having listened to it and after listening to it for the first time, I didn’t like it.  Maybe it’s not fair to say I didn’t like it.  I just no longer have the tools to evaluate this kind of music, being that I’m old and songs about “why doesn’t this girl like me?” are not interesting to me.

That and the influence of Hüsker Dü is just way too strong on this album.  If Bob Mould had snuck into the studio and replaced Billie Joe’s vocals with his own, I wouldn’t have known the difference.  Sadly, I’m not really a fan of Hüsker Dü, so this just really doesn’t work for me on multiple levels.

But like I said, this isn’t an album directed at tired, old rockers with families and 40 hour a week jobs.  This album is for the kids.  If the kids liked it, then it must have been good.  But I probably won’t listen to it again.  Maybe next week’s Kerplunk will be better.


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