If you were to travel back to 1986 and tell the members of Green Day that they would grow into one of the world’s largest mainstream rock bands, still playing to sold-out stadiums worldwide in their 40s, they would probably think you were out of your mind.
Nonetheless, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool (who replaced former drummer Al Sobrante early on in the band’s career) were never shy about their ambition.
1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours stands as a great snapshot of the band’s hunger to get their music out there and reach out to a broader audience.
This release is a collection of songs sourced from the group’s earliest EPs: it is relatively unpolished (especially when compared to Green Day’s later output) and it is loaded with Pop-Punk anthems about girls and teenage boredom.
The deceptively simple sonic format adopted by the band actually betrays a broader range of influences that have shaped the band’s sounds and tone.
References to classic punk bands such as The Ramones or Sex Pistols are obvious, but the Californian trio allowed their love for cheeky 60s beat to creep into their music.
The basic, yet engaging guitar riffs have a lot in common with early recordings by The Who and The Kinks, while the vocal harmonies have a distinctive Beatles / Beach Boys vibe.
On the other hand, the aesthetics of the band’s sound certainly also mark the influence of some of their contemporaries, including Bad Religion, Descendents or Husker Du. - those hardcore bands who distanced themselves from the growing macho attitude that took over the scene by the late 80s.
The hilariously chaotic rendition of The Who’s “My Generation” and the cover of “Knowledge” by fellow Gilman Street alumni Operation Ivy are a great example of Green Day’s awareness of the music that informed their vision as a band.
The songs featured on this record are fast direct and concise, with the exception of “Rest”, a slow, hazy tune with a nearly psychedelic vibe.
1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours captures that naiveté that comes with being young, but more importantly, it also embodies the passion and energy that defines youthfulness.
The world’s a fucked up place,
but it depends on how you see it
Life is full of change,
you grow up and then you feel it.
But smooth seas don’t make good sailors,
Jump ship and head for failure,
Find yourself a tragedy,
Slowly lose your sanity