Californian band Green Day hit prominence with a shudder in 2004 when they released the tour de force American Idiot. The snotty nosed personas were wiped clean and maturity was installed making Green Day a band to consider taking seriously once again. In their heyday smoking cannabis and writing songs about sexual frustrations, Green Day pummelled the status quo, crafting tracks which had the three chord structure but intelligently weaved lyrics.
The style was dishevelled but compelling. And with their 1994 major label breakthrough album Dookie declaring the band from a mundane part of Berkeley kings of punk, a new chapter was written. Green Day would go on to sell more than ten million copies of Dookie, certifying them as the new frontrunners of 90s music.
It was extraordinary for a band of their nature to become colossal. Fronted by the ever flamboyant Billie Joe Armstrong, they began to excel and play out their hearts on the punk circuit, shredding the rule book and maximising their potential. A new craze was born, a wave of songs describing the mundanity of suburban life nestled perfectly into the CD players of the people who chose to listen.
In 2004, Green Day were a band on the side lines looking on at the ash of the past. They had to do something to create a buzz. In came their masterpiece American Idiot to steady the decline. The album is to this day, is a political rock opera, providing a story for dreamers and the alienated. It also took aim at the president and his catastrophic ‘’decisions’’.
American Idiot is pivotal album and has become a classic for the alienated, the freaks and the people who walk aimlessly carrying bottles of liquor and dreaming of better days. Throughout the record, there is a bloodline, a backbone, a chronicle all expressed from the mind of Armstrong. His lyrics have always been intelligent, but on the most discerning opus, he wrote strands of political poetry, words of venom.
These venomous lines all interlinked and spurred on a fable of mass examination of the most powerful country in the world. Green Day knew they had designed an album which was controversial and against the grain. But they had to do something extraordinary as previous record Warning didn’t inspire. It did have two or three moments of class, but it didn’t relight the flame.
Green Day were relevant again. They were walking proudly drenched in glamour, winning awards and being shot into the spotlight. Their new powerful record saved them from disbanding and cascading off into nothingness. Supported by new fans and the old faithful, the band began to sell out arenas. This showcased that this act which were a household name in the 90s, had the armoury of songs to stake a claim in the noughties.
American Idiot is a diverse compendium of songs all written and intertwined. Track number two Jesus Of Suburbia, is the most engaging piece of the puzzle. A 9 minute plus thriller, it captivated and made the hairs on the back stand rigid. Vocalist and lyricist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tre Cool, knew they had produced a conceptual, story driven, extravaganza.
Jesus Of Suburbia isn’t only a song. It’s a journey of self-worth and self-reflection. St Jimmy is the protagonist of this venture into a drug fuelled, loveless, chaos. He’s on the side-lines, observing destruction. His heart is beating out of time, his blood is painted on the walls of the establishment.
Through the carnage, he sees no optimism. Tarnished clothes lie in the room of broken memories. His cheating girlfriend lies on the bed, smoking a joint, naked to the world and showcasing her destructive side. She finally removes herself from his chaotic life, leaving him lonely and shaking to a gust of wind that powers its way through the window.
He was once a dreamer, a saint. Love broke him. The snapshots of his mother cradling him are fading, she’s a junkie for love and substances. She smokes her lungs and distances herself from reality. The heart in her is black, there’s no doubt.
Through it all, he sees a light through cocaine abuse. His body isn’t a temple and he certainly hasn’t got an empire to control. He’s lost, St Jimmy is lost. Beaten and programmed to despise the world. With this story, Armstrong has built a powerful, cathartic, plot, worthy of acclaim and praise.
St Jimmy is a character strolling towards the fire. His palms are sweaty and cut to fuck, his mind is playing tricks on him. Over the course of his day, he tries to dazzle himself with drugs and alcohol. But, he’s left fighting the demons that parade his intelligent, fragile brain.
Jesus Of Suburbia is a thriller and is an emotional rollercoaster. Armstrong wrote this blockbuster, and with those volatile riffs aiding its progression, turned it into a masterstroke many can relate to. The artistry is brilliant, but it’s the story which makes it a centrepiece.
Green Day – Nimrod: Feature.
In 1997, Californian band Green Dayreleased their most underrated but diverse record in the form of Nimrod, an album bubbling with hooks and dark edged lyricism. The band had to prove they were still relevant after the disappointing Insomniac, a record which did have its hits, but never hit those meteoric heights. Dookie did so in 1994. That opus brought Green Day into the limelight, a light so vibrant and crucial.
Dookie was a statement of intent, a colossal compendium breaking boundaries, a piece of punk layered with snotty nosed mellow drama. It truly rooted Green Day into the big time, overthrowing their past records. But, as they grew, tensions did too, and the band was banished from Gilman Street, a punk club where many acts nurtured their souls and tweaked their sounds.
As Green Day prospered, many people became distant, fans who loved the band walked away. This is when Green Day became a goliath act, securing places at biggest festivals. But, as they put their pen to paper, their punk laurels were fading. Not to say that the band was forgetting their roots, they just had to grow, they had to burst and breakaway.
Green Day was a major label band when they signed to Reprise in 1994. Some people think the band shot to fame with their seminal record American Idiot all those years later. So the act was making millions well before Jesus Of Suburbia was constructed, they were flying the punk flag through the flurry of scepticism.
And Nimrod pushed Green Day into the light even more so with a ballad that shook the world. That melodic heart-puller is Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life). It’s a song many play at their wedding day, it’s a song which resonates and showcases lead singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong’s impressive writing talent.
Good Riddance sent Green Day onto the airwaves, although it angered the punks and estranged. They were blasting the band for their decision to put a ballad on one of their albums. They thought the act was selling out, nipping at the arms of greed, shooting for the pot of gold. But, Green Day didn’t surrender and moved on up regardless.
Nimrod may contain one of Green Day’s most poignant scores, but the record as a whole is punk infused. Nice Guys Finish Last is a blistering, guitar driven masterclass. Redundant mops up the fragments of punk’s inner core, and cools it down as Armstrong sings with ease and great tone. Reject is a fast-paced pile-driver, it’s in your face. So many of these songs return to the punk days. And that shows us Green Day aren’t leaving their signature sound to rot, they never have cascaded into bubble-gum pop territory, they have tweaked it, adding more complexity. This complexity is heard on American Idiot. A record which saved the pioneers from truly derailing. It’s an album many hate, but many people love the diversity it showcases.
American Idiot may be Green Day’s most popular and audacious LP. But there’s flashes of this magic on Nimrod. The true intensity it creates, the darkness it exudes is believable. It may not be Green Day’s magnum opus, but what it is, is something which strikes punk into veins of those seeking a thrill.
Green Day: Still Relevant.
Green Day status as a band is colossal. They’re true wisdom chasers, chroniclers of punk rock, masterminds behind the art of rock operas. And their hearts are completely drawn to music and its values, its magical aura, its stronghold. The act from California are still relevant and fresh. Their music has always evolved and flourished, it has always been truly monumental. Their style may have changed over the years, but their true humbleness has stayed rooted.
Since 1986 Green Day have explored different musical angles and have morphed into a punk machine, tapping into genres and merging them together to create unique sounds. But are the band still relevant? That’s the question on the lips of many. And you know what? They’re still relevant, they’re still a band that many love.
The band has created some of the most infectious and lyrically cohesive songs of the last 20 years. From their bratty major label debut Dookie to the politically drenched American Idiot, the contributions have always been golden. Billie Joe Armstrong’s sneers and poetic strands have caught the imagination of millions. The leading man writes with verve and precision, opening up worlds and creating stories. He’s gifted and often misunderstood, but truly entertaining. The band as a collective are truly purposeful. They’re focused on ascending and overtaking what they’ve done previously. Their minds are tuned in and ready to empty fables when needs be.
That’s why the Californian punk kings are still relevant!
You're the answer
To my question
A true artist of redemption
An organiser of truth and hope
You're the answer to my question.
Copy me a picture
Of you winning a dream
A battle cry is what I need
To break the shackles of damning nightmare.
The hardest part of losing love
Is when the darkness overrides
When that heartache comes
I'll drink until I rust.
The earthquake in my stomach
A massive noise in my head
On this street I tread
Dying to die again and again.
Look at me as you look
At the burning tree
A colossal fire
Tearing through the seed
The hardest part of losing love
Is when the darkness overrides
When the heartache comes
I'll drink until I rust.
The truth is
I have not got the edge
I'm playing God
and you're the devil in disguise
peeking into my lonely life
cutting me from every angle
and I don't even know it.
The ambassador of all things reasonable
is on holiday
now I must step up
and pulverise you
and take what I'm owed.
You stretch out with a punch
that could knock over my feelings
like domino's, like a wall of cards,
thankfully you don't touch me
you miss and look at me with deceitful eyes.
The colour of this moment
we both see red
and we both want to attack
the throne will be yours or mine
no knifes or batons
no discouragement or arrogance
just iron fists and two toothless mouths.
Rusted tins and loaded bins
I lie here shrieking to the wind
I'm a pile, a mess, a broken coward,
looking at passers by
they move fast like robots
controlled by wealth
as I use stealth to hide
from what could be a sinister confrontation.
I have no light in my heart
there is no flash in my eyes
no sparkle to enlighten a lover
no creativity in my rugged head any more
I might jump off the highest mountain
to feel a buzz and to die.
The frequent swerve
they all ignore me
with their coffee breath
and their cigarette hands
this world isn't wholesome any more
it's a cubical of greed and sexual menaces.
Today I made a truce with myself
under a ragged piece of a sleeping bag
counting loose change
patting the concrete to swallow me up
to spit me out into the arms of someone
who might care enough to battle with me.
That truce is failing
I am soaked in stale beer
it seeped through the holes in my shirt
I stink and I'm on the brink.
The length and breadth
Of this dirty town
To try and find you.
You've escaped the trappings
You've ran away with nothing but
A few cigarettes and a bottle of cheap table wine.
I sunk so low last night
I cried onto my flask of bourbon
The tears of alcohol and resonating emotion
Wetting my raw skin.
You've let the darkness swirl around you
You've tried to jump the hurdles to a better life
You fell and bumped your head
Now your mind is franticly shutting down
Bit by bit.
I'm sorry to you
That I couldn't fight for you
I've drank enough to pickle my liver
So here's to a broken life.
Take the weight
Off my shoulders
Carry me through the destruction
And pay homage to my steady head.
The alarm has woken
Me from a graceful slumber
I'm now opened to the fists
And sharp words.
You need me to say
My feelings of heartache.
I'm no psychologist
I don't know the human mind
But I know you're intelligent enough
To fix yourself.
I wear the armband
You gave me
That has the word love
Imprinted upon it.
Check out my Green Day book review that is posted on JAM Magazine Online! The book is written by Ben Myers and chronicles Green Day's rise to prominence!
Just follow the link!
Cough up your heartache,
On the shirt of the world,
Pass me the bottle,
And we'll drink until the night passes,
To the morning shine.
We're priceless companions,
Maybe even radical lovers?
Looking at the aging face of reality,
Bashing the underbelly of deceit.
You're a mastermind,
A intellectual firecracker,
With vibrant hair,
And a smile that would enlighten any man.
I feel like an old warhorse,
That has fought for my place,
You're totally refined,
Like a fine wine,
But so am I.
The heartbeat that comes from you,
Is so calming and healthy,
I put my head there,
And I close my eyes.
I dream too much,
But what's wrong with that?
Why should I lie down to drama?
I should jump around and shout out,
My feelings that bubble under my skin.
Let's just drink,
Let's just smoke a little of the hard stuff,
I feel in tune with you,
Like a song that never loses balance.
I thought you were indestructible?
A piece of armor no one could pierce,
But now you’re losing the will and the defenses,
You are crashing and colliding,
You’ve extracted the juice from realism,
Now everything you see is fake,
And you are destined to hit the tender nerve,
Of a world you created.
I see that you are weak,
On the ground clawing through the dirt,
Looking to bury your pain,
You are such beautiful wreck,
You think of yourself as a mistake.
The brutal truth,
Comes like a bad smell,
When you slept on that cardboard,
That you were going to create,
A life for yourself,
With a dashing prince kissing you every minute.
I look on,
Do I really want to intervene?
Do I have the cleanest of souls?
That would be no,
But I’m sure I could aid her,
With a shrug of the shoulders,
I pick her up.
She is cold,
Battling her inner struggles,
I cover her with my coat,
And streetlamps offer her a spotlight,
All she craved was some light,
To cover the darkness that swirled around her.
I take to a safe haven,
I give her tea,
And I listen to her,
For the first time,
I feel like I’ve aided a stranger,
I’ll help her embark on creating a life