Green Day is one of the bands that emerged from the Californian punk scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Initially, their music was fun. However, there was no particular reason to believe that Green Day would stand the test of time. That changed in the early 2000s with the release of American Idiot, which enabled the band to find a new generation of listeners. Something that made it very clear that Green Day was here to stay.
In 2012, Green Day released a trilogy of albums called iUno!, iDos!, and iTre! They weren’t necessarily bad. However, the trilogy had some serious issues. For example, none of the three albums had a unifying theme to them, meaning that their songs were very scattered in nature. Similarly, one can’t help but feel that the content for the trilogy was stretched a bit thin when split into three parts. As such, the three albums are very close to one another, with iUno! winning out because it had some decent songs that took inspiration from a wide range of sources.
Green Day’s first release was an EP. However, 39/Smooth can claim the honor of being the band’s first album. Even though it was released in 1990, it is very much recognizable as Green Day music, meaning that the band had a clear idea of where they wanted to go even when they were still starting out. Having said that, 39/Smooth suffers because it is a Green Day album from the band’s early years. As such, it just doesn’t have the weight of experience behind it even when one overlooks its low production budget.
8. Revolution Radio
Revolution Radio came out in 2016, meaning that it is the release that followed the aforementioned trilogy. Considering the band’s own admission that the aforementioned trilogy lacked anything to tie it together, it should come as no surprise to learn that this album was something of a return in that regard. In any case, Revolution Radio was quite decent. The band made a decision to self-produce, with the result that they put extra effort into it. Something that shows quite clearly.
Warning is often overlooked. It came out in 2000, meaning that it was sandwiched between two better-known periods of Green Day’s existence. Moreover, it was rather unusual in that it strayed from the band’s characteristic punk while indulging in pop as well as folk influences. Still, while Warning didn’t get good commercial results, there are solid reasons for why it was well-liked by the critics.
6. 21st Century Breakdown
Released in 2009, 21st Century Breakdown was a clear attempt to recapture the spark of American Idiot, which explains why it is also a rock music opera. It wasn’t as impressive as its immediate predecessor. Partly, this was because it wasn’t able to execute its core concept well enough, thus resulting in much vagueness. Partly, this was because its songs were perhaps a bit too reminiscent of earlier material. Whatever the case, 21st Century Breakdown wasn’t bad, just not capable of living up to the expectations laid out by the massive success of American Idiot.
Kerplunk! in 1991 was something of a turning point in Green Day’s existence. Moreover, it was the band’s last album before switching over to a major label, which used to be a huge point of debate in punk circles for various reasons. In any case, Kerplunk! makes it very clear that it is by the same band that created 39/Smooth. However, the album also sought to improve on its predecessor, meaning that Green Day had a keen eye on improving themselves even then.
Dookie is one of the best-known Green Day albums. For starters, it was the band’s first collaboration with Rob Cavallo, who was the one who convinced them to switch over to a major label. Something that caused Green Day to lose a lot of its original fanbase because of the perception that they had sold out. However, Dookie tends to be even better-known because it was a huge success, so much so that it has sometimes been credited with bringing punk music into the mainstream.
People have been known to do remarkable things when they feel that they have something to prove. In the case of Insomniac, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong was stung by the accusations of selling out, with the result that he and the rest of the band set out to prove that they were more than a one-time success. Insomniac is a very 90s album, but it can claim to be one of the best examples of 90s punk rock.
Having proved themselves with Dookie and then Insomniac, Green Day proceeded to get more experimental with Nimrod in 1997. It is well-known for its willingness in this regard, as shown by its incorporation of ska, folk, and surf rock influences. Moreover, Nimrod was a very clear reminder of Green Day’s willingness to continue improving on its music.
1. American Idiot
Music is a reflection of the changing times. As such, the punk rock opera American Idiot was an expression of the disillusionment felt by an entire generation whose lives were fundamentally shaped by 9/11, the War in Afghanistan, and the War in Iraq. Something that provided it with lasting influence. Career-wise, American Idiot was interesting in that it could be considered a maturation of sorts for Green Day, which came as a real surprise to a lot of listeners in the 2000s. Moreover, it was credited with bringing rock music back into the mainstream, though that might be a bit of an exaggeration.