A 30th birthday tribute to Green Day

The latest issue of Kerrang has a tribute CD to Green Day, with 15 of their songs performed by other bands. The track listing is:

1. Hitchin’ A Ride
2. Basket Case
3. 2000 Light Years Away
4. 21 Guns
5. She
6. Jesus Of Suburbia
7. St. Jimmy
8. Welcome To Paradise
9. Nice Guys Finish Last
10. American Idiot
11. When I Come Around
12. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
13. Wake Me Up When September Ends
14. Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)
15. All By Myself

If you could replace one song, which would it be and what would you replace it with? Leave me a comment and let me know. I would replace 21 Guns with Geek Stink Breath, which is an excellent track on Insomniac (which is not represented on this tribute album).

Happy 30th Birthday, Green Day

The latest issue of Kerrang magazine has 30 different musicians selecting their favourite Green Day song. Instead of picking my top 30 Green Day songs, I will select my favourite song off of each album.

1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours

Green Day’s first album, comprising of the the album 39/Smooth and the extended plays Slappy and 1000 hours. My favourite song on the album is Knowledge, a cover of the same song first performed by Operation Ivy. This song is my favourite because instead of just copying the album, Green Day have changed the song completely and made it their own, albeit a tribute. Knowledge is a firm Green Day favourite and a song they will play at most shows, normally inviting members of the audience up on stage to replace them on the instruments.

Kerplunk!

Kerplunk! continued the themes started with previous Green Day recordings, with short, sharp, snappy songs. My favourite song on the album is 2000 Light Years Away, the opening track. It’s a catchy tune combined with well-written lyrics and is proof that even as a young band, Green Day were destined for greatness.

Dookie

Dookie was released in 1994 and was Green Day’s first album on a major record label and introduced them to the world, with millions being sold. The Green Day formula does not change, but the recordings benefit from being produced by a major record label. Dookie is packed with excellent songs, but I will select Longview as my favourite. It has a driving bassline throughout the song and there is a marked difference between the verses and the chorus.

Insomniac

The follow-up to Dookie continued with short, sharp songs, but the fun and positivity of previous albums was replaced with darker, more negative songs. The sound was also different, with songs at a quicker tempo and with a rockier sound. My favourite song is Geek Stink Breath, which has an aggressive bassline and summarises the album perfectly, with little of positive to note in the lyrics.

Nimrod

Nimrod is arguably Green Day’s most musically diverse album, with plenty of different genres being covered and experimented with in the 18 songs (it is also my favourite Green Day album). My favourite song is The Grouch, which has a catchy tune. Whilst the lyrics appear to be quite negative and in place with something from Insomniac, there is the feeling it is more tongue-in-cheek than anything that would have appeared on Insomniac.

Warning

Warning showed Green Day continue to be an experimental band, with acoustic songs forming the backbone of the album. My favourite song is Minority, the first Green Day song I heard when I knew it was them. Catchy and fun.

International Superhits!

After the success of Dookie, the following albums became less and less successful; Internation Superhits! is a best-of collection spanning Dookie to Warning, with a couple of songs not on any other Green Day albums. My favourite is J.A.R (Jason Andrew Relva), a tribute by Mike Dirnt to one of his friends who died.

Shenanigans

Shenanigans comprises of b-sides, covers and rare recordings, creating a bit of a disjointed album. My favourite song is Ha Ha You’re Dead, which had previously been unreleased. A catchy tune and verses that build up well to the chorus.

American Idiot

A band that has released a best-of compilation album and a collection of previously rare material are surely finished as a major force in music, destined to see out their days touring their greatest hits to ever dwindling crowds in smaller and smaller venues? Not Green Day, who released what is arguably their best known album. The album marked a change in sound, with Green Day becoming a fully-fledged rock band (with plenty of the punk sound mixed in as and when they pleased) and a change in concept, with a (punk) rock opera. My favourite song is Holiday, which is the first Green Day song I learnt to play on the bass guitar.

21st Century Breakdown

The (punk) rock opera format continued, although 21st Century Breakdown was not as well received critically (in my opinion, it certainly matches and probably exceeds American Idiot). The album was split into three separate acts. My favourite song is East Jesus Nowhere, which is fun to play on the bass.

Uno!

After 21st Century Breakdown, Green Day decided to change again, releasing three albums in the space of a few months, each with their own distinctive sound. Uno was the first and a return to the earlier punk sound of Green Day. My favourite song is Let Yourself Go, an aggressive song with a frenetic but controlled tune.

Dos!

The second of the trilogy saw what has been described by some as the never-released follow-up Foxboro Hot Tubs album (the Green Day side band). Garage rock and rock and roll are the basis for the tracks, with my favourite being Stray Heart. The song has a strong garage rock feel to it.

Tre!

Tre completed the trilogy and is closest in sound to American Idiot and 21st Century, with no overall music theme running throughout the album. As it doesn’t tell a story, it does seem disjointed. My favourite song is Dirty Rotten Bastards, which changes the style and pace throughout the song, ultimately returning to where it started.

National Record Day

With it being National Record Day, I’ve had a little think and decided on 5 albums I would like to have on vinyl (and why). They are in no particular order.

Extreme II – Pornograffiti (Extreme) A great album by an underrated band. This album has a diverse range of songs on and showcases what they were capable of. The opening song of Decadence Dance is an amazing song and is well supported by the rest of the album.

Slippery When Wet (Bon Jovi) Not a long album with only 10 songs, but there is not one bad song on there. Bon Jovi’s third album is their best by quite a distance and features some of their best known songs, notably Livin’ On A Prayer.

Enema Of The State (Blink 182) All The Small Things was Blink’s big breakthrough song and is on this album, although I would argue that there are much better songs on the album. Dumpweed is a great album opener and there is a high standard throughout, with Anthem finishing the album off nicely. Whilst I think that Dude Ranch is a better album, I’ve picked Enema of the State because it was the first Blink album I bought and got me into punk-pop/rock.

Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols An amazing album. It’s a 12 song album and there is not one bad song on there. God Save The Queen and Anarchy In The UK are both on it, but the other 10 songs are just as good. I cannot recommend this album enough.

Warning (Green Day) Picking a Green Day album was difficult as all of them are so good. My personal favourite is probably Nimrod (for the diversity on the album), although Insomniac and 21st Century Breakdown run it close. However, I chose Warning for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that Warning was the first Green Day album I bought after having heard Minority and loving the song. The second reason is that Warning often seems to be an overlooked album, probably because the following album (American Idiot) was such a success. Much of the album is acoustic, which shows that Green Day were confident enough to do what they wanted and is full of underrated songs that are well worth a listen to.

Book review: Green Day Treasures

Green Day Treasures tracks the career of Green Day from their formation (and before) to 21st Century Breakdown. As well as tracking their career, there are profiles of the three band members and a look at their side projects. Each album gets a couple of pages review, with the exception of American Idiot, which receives four. Various reproductions of posters, tickets and flyers are also included.

The book would be an excellent starting place (it did not tell me anything that I didn’t already know) for anyone who is just getting into Green Day, providing an overview of the band and their career. I thought that the overview of the albums were good; for example, previous books I have read about Green Day often focus on Dookie and American Idiot, whilst overlooking Warning, which I think is an excellent album (and the first Green Day album that I bought). A profile of musicians who tour and play with Green Day would have been a welcome addition, but this is a good overview of Green Day.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Muvizu

Muvizu is a free animation program that can be downloaded, although a version with additional features can be purchased. There are various video tutorials showing how it can be used, but it is quite intuitive to pick up and lots of fun to explore. There is a range of characters and locations, all of which can be customised to create the desired effect. I have produced two videos; the first was based on ‘Monster’ by Paramore and the second, in which I used a greater range of effects, background and lighting, based on ’21st Century Breakdown’ by Green Day.