Green Day has accomplished squeeze what Nirvana did for grunge and has subsequently reinvented both the genre and themselves while simultaneously pushing and rewarding their fanbase. Take a journey on our guided tour of the California trio’s previous studio albums.
1 Dookie (1994)
Green Day’s third album catapulted the Berkeley three to new heights, reassuring the rest of the world that punk music still existed. A perfect, irresistible compilation of immediate classics, Dookie seamlessly blends the wild energy of Basket Case with the deft control of When I Come Around, making them seem as if they were destined to be together.
Warners published five singles from the band’s big-label debut, including a re-recorded Welcome To Paradise, as the band approached 20 million global sales. However, every song on this vividly coloured Molotov cocktail feels like a single due to its writers’ anarchic wit and uninhibited sense of humour.
2. Obsessive-compulsive (1995)
How can you follow up an album that suddenly elevates you to worldwide superstardom while making you pariahs among punk purists? Of course, by channelling all of the tension and needling energy into its follow-up.
Insomniac debuted less than a year after Green Day made its global debut, and it’s the sound of a band shrugging off their cartoon punk image with a deep plunge into drugs, uncertainty, and self-loathing. “I have a penchant for screwing everything up,” Billie Joe Armstrong sang on the characteristically delectable Bab’s Uvula Who? Ironically demonstrating that he did not.
3. The Idiot in America (2004)
Green Day’s second act started with a complete fireworks display and a Christ-like resurrection, rather than a bang. It’s tough to stress how surprising American Idiot was: equal parts swing for the fences by a band on the ropes and a regular reminder that you’d be a fool to underestimate their intelligence, ambition, and songwriting abilities.
Both the title track and Holiday are fantastic anti-George W Bush anthems, while Jesus of Suburbia is one of two multi-part epics that snub convention and invite you to the party. A work of contemporary rock art.
4. Caution (2000)
Green Day’s mid-career slump occurred in the early 2000s. While record sales were acceptable, they fell farther down the punk rock pecking order than Blink-182, and there was a widespread impression that they had become the wrong sort of misfits.
As a result, Warning is a contentious yet engaging album. It is too sluggish, too folky, and a drain on one’s energies to its detractors. To those who like it, it’s probably the band’s most bold move: raw, modest, and with a title tune that captures them at their most aggressive.
5. Kerplunk! (1991)
With its gun-toting cartoonish cover image and more profound plunge into raw yet musical punk rock, Kerplunk took no prisoners. This was the album that best foreshadowed the band’s subsequent success, with 2000 Light Years Away being a live staple, silly noodle Dominated Love Slave capturing the band at their most mischievous, and Welcome to Paradise later re-recorded for their big label debut.
No One Knows another early indication that this band was willing to take a step back and look within, with excellent songwriting maturity for their age.
6. Nimrod (1997)
Nimrod is the sound of Green Day meeting their large audience halfway without compromising. The opening double of Nice Guys Finish Last and Hitchin’ A Ride demonstrates the band’s unwavering commitment to lively, appealing pop-punk, the latter’s cascading crescendo a thrilling delight to hear all these years later.
The acoustic sledgehammer To boot, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), remains Green Day’s most well-known and beloved calmer moment, and these towering high points compensate for Nimrod’s length.