so i wanna get into green day, largely because i'm always hungry for gay content (i heard "coming clean" was the early 90s version of born this way but idk how legit that statement is) & love the political & religious influences i've read are in american idiot. how do you recommend i start?
hi yes thank you for this ask because (a) i’ve love getting people started w/ discographies and (b) classes are over and i’m working 7 hour shifts in a totally desolate library so i have A LOT OF TIME and © i’ve been listening to green day literally since I was seven years old so i am READY 4 THIS
this might be #problematic but the best green day albums are:
- Dookie if only for the fact that it is so incredibly self-aware for such an early album (or, maybe in the way that only early albums can be)
- Nimrod seriously this album is fantastic, such a strong album
- American Idiot this album polarized a lot of green day fans when it came out for a lot of reasons. a lot of people saw it as too overtly political, because until then Green Day were really just goofy stoners, and a lot of die hards resented the mainstream success (though when Dookie came out they resented it. and then “Time of Your Life”, and so on and so on) Personally, I think it’s a good concept album - definitely overtly political but didn’t completely abandon their goofy self-awareness
I can’t recommend those three albums enough and I recommend that you listen to them in their entirety because - yes, obviously American Idiot is a concept album, Nimrod and Dookie are extremely cohesive and they are best played loud and from start to finish. I also super recommend you listen to their live album, Bullet In A Bible: Green Day Live (and watch the full concert as well it’s really fantastic)
I’m of the opinion that, with the exception of two or three songs off 21st Century Breakdown, Green Day hit their creative peak with American Idiot, and I personally can’t recommend anything they’ve done since then as I genuinely think it’s kind of terrible. (I’m not gonna go into American Idiot The Musical here because I think you should get to know the band before you dive into that, but I saw it opening week and it had #problems but all in all was genuinely very good, if you want to know more about it feel free to ask)
Insomniac (1995) and Warning (2000) are good but I rarely listen to them in full. Insomniac is very much a natural progression between Dookie and Nimrod, so if you’re digging the old goofy punk stuff, you might like it. Warning is very interesting - the band was in kind of a weird place and that album reflects that, I think. 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours is a compilation album of their reeeeally early stuff from when they were playing dingy shows in the bay area at 19, which I would recommend if you’re curious about those really early sounds.
From those other albums, I’m going to just recommend some individual songs, you can get a feel for what you like:
- “Brain Stew” (from Insomniac 1995)
- “Walking Contradiction” (^^)
- “Warning” (Warning 2000)
- “Minority” (^^ and note that this is a very political song, 4 years before the release of American Idiot)
- “Blood Sex and Booze” (^^)
- “Church on Sunday” (^^)
- “Last Night On Earth” (21st Century Breakdown 2009 - okay I said I wasn’t gonna talk about the musical but this song is one of the few songs from this album that were added into the story of American Idiot for the show, and it is so beautifully sung and there’s a clip in the broadway musical documentary of Billie Joe bursting into tears when he hears the cast sing it for the first time)
- this 1994 concert which you can watch in full on youtube, which I liveblogged about here
- this time they covered “Eye of The Tiger” please listen to this and also do not have any liquids in your mouth when you do
- Bullet In A Bible (2005 live concert/film)
- this clip from when Billie Joe played St. Jimmy in the musical on Broadway
- I know I said not to listen to the musical until you’ve listened to the original stuff (or at least the original album) so this is farther down the line but I highly recommend watching Broadway Idiot after you’ve exhausted all these other resources. There are some great quote from the band and the actors (John Gallagher Jr. who is lovely and spit on me once talks about the significance of American Idiot as a post-9/11 concept album) and Billie Joe talks about finding a home on Broadway when he didn’t expect to. it’s lovely!!!!
- I’m not gonna recommend every video ever because they’ve had a lot of great ones but in particular: early ones like “Basket Case” (cw for hospitalization and pills) and “Longview” are just precious. “American Idiot” is Peak 2005 Green Day and the debut of their signature Look that they maintained pretty much from then until now
- this fucking video of baby billie joe