Daniel Dias

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My Top 10 Underrated Green Day Songs

Love me some old Green Day every now and then.
10Green Day

All The Time - Coming from 1997's "Nimrod", "All The Time" kicks off my list. In an album containing a natural progression in Green Day's sound, incorporating more acoustic guitars and occasional string and horn sections, "All The Time" is probably one of Green Day's most straightforward punk songs in that album. Written by Billie Joe Armstrong in a time of his life when he was indulging himself deeper into drug and alcohol addiction, "All The Time" discusses different sides of his addiction. His line "A New Year's Resolution, how seen that we forget" probably refers to his promise to quit drinking that quickly ends up being forgotten. From Billie's simple but catchy riff, even if quite similar to a main riff in "Welcome To Paradise" and a fitting vocal delivery, greatly backed up by a nice rhythm section, "All The Time" is ugly and raw but still very catchy, featuring a great chorus and outro, and certainly a very underrated in Green Day's "Nimrod".
9Green Day
1,000 Hours

1,000 Hours - Dating back to 1988, "1,000 Hours" served as a title for Green Day's very first EP, being its leading track. It was played frequently in early live shows, but a massive success of "Dookie" led it to end up becoming forgotten. Clocking in at only two and a half minutes, "1,000 Hours" showcases greatly Armstrong's great influence of Ramones, as its sound is quite resemblant to "Rocket To Russia" and "Road To Ruin". A ridiculously simple yet catchy guitar riff, relying on a driving distorted sound, and a loud and heavy beat by John Kiffmeyer set a perfect tone for one of Green Day's very first compositions. Armstrong wrote "1,000 Hours" about his best friend's sister, a girl he was in love with. Its lyrics are a bit childlish, as most of Green Day's old songs used to follow such pattern, yet a bit relatable. Plus, its instrumentation blends perfectly, combining for a very catchy punk song, relying on an ultimately memorable chorus.
8Green Day

I Was There - Representing Green Day's first official studio album "39/Smooth", "I Was There" remains Green Day's only song on record to be written by its original drummer John Kiffmeyer. Due to its memorable verses, relatively clever one-liners, a beautiful chorus and a surprisingly great flow in instrumentation, "I Was There" stands out hugely in Green Day's first album ever. "39/Smooth" showcases a band in search of a natural sound, in an evolution process. From a more heavy and hard hitting sound in songs such as "Don't Leave Me" and "16", to a more experimental tone found in tracks such as "Rest", to songs that clearly suggested what style Green Day would end up embracing, such as in a classic underground hit "Going To Pasalacqua", "I Was There" was one song which showcased most promise for future days. Chemistry between everybody sounded as great as it could, which combined for a classic tune from Green Day's old times, catchy from start to finish.
7Green Day

Prosthetic Head - My last pick to represent "Nimrod" could've gone to an equally deserving "Redundant", or a Beatles-esque addictive love number "Worry Rock", but it goes to "Prosthetic Head". Closing off "Nimrod" in style, "Prosthetic Head" never garnered as much attention as it could've. In a case similar to "Nice Guys Finish Last", it could've been a moderately successful radio hit, but it wasn't even released as a single, let alone listen to it be played live. Regardless, it's a great tune featuring a fine vocal delivery by Billie Joe, alongside a very catchy guitar riff, which would later be ripped off by Offspring in "She's Got Issues" (maybe calling it a ripoff seems a bit harsh, but both riffs are so identical). Tre Cool's simple drum beat keeps a nice tempo going, while Dirnt's sharp bass playing always adds a nice touch to it. Put it combined, and you've got a very solid song to close out an album in "Prosthetic Head". Dirnt's backing vocals in its chorus make it sound delicious and insanely addictive to sing along to. Lyrically, storyline's a bit hard to follow or understand, but its continuously memorable hooks are so great that elevate "Prosthetic Head" to a definitely great song. Just before its final verse, if you listen closely, you can hear Armstrong sniffing, as if he just smoked a nice joint. Ah, drugs.
6Green Day

Macy's Day Parade - Even though it was included on Green Day's compilation album "International Superhits!", "Macy's Day Parade", a song which closes off 2000's album "Warning" beautifully, never garnered as much attention as it definitely should've, as it wasn't even released as a single. "Macy's Day Parade" improves largely upon some of Armstrong's ideas present in "Nimrod". In that album, tracks such as "Redundant", "Worry Rock" and "Walking Alone" displayed a more late 60's rock reminiscent sound, quite influenced by The Beatles and The Kinks. In "Macy's Day Parade", one can identify a great John Lennon and Paul McCartney influence on Armstrong's vocals and songwriting. His use of acoustic guitar adds a perfect touch to his slightly sorrowful vocals, making up for a beautiful ballad and a truly exceptional album. Tre's excessively simple drum pattern is a bit underwhelming, but "Macy's Day Parade" relies mostly on Armstrong's vocals and guitar and a beautiful string section. Green Day's often maligned "Warning" is a bit hated by some fans, but even if it's not an excellent album, its closer is definitely a beautiful moment in Green Day's career.
5Green Day

No One Knows - Green Day's final underground release and second studio album "Kerplunk" is fast becoming one of Green Day's most appreciated albums ever among longtime fans. Containing some truly memorable tracks and little to no filler, it's become a go-to album for fans to look back at Green Day's old days. In "Kerplunk", one can find "No One Knows", arguably a very underrated track. Adding a slightly more depressing touch to Green Day's sound, "No One Knows" kicks off beautifully, thanks to an amazing bass intro of nearly 40 seconds by Dirnt. When Armstrong and Cool kick in, they add an even more sad tone to it. Armstrong's quiet palm muted guitar sound flows perfectly, and his vocals blend in greatly. His lyrics are also top notch in "No One Knows", discussing a fear eventually everybody faces: fear of growing up. Armstrong says he's afraid of growing up and turning into someone who's got to plan out his entire life. He stands by and watches his friends grow up and change, and wonders if he should change as well or if he should remain being his normal self. After much analyzing, all he can answer is "I don't know". It's a fear everyone can relate to. "No One Knows" finds itself packed up in normal Green Day style, but it's added a much more reflective and depressing tone to it, and it succeeds beautifully.
4Green Day
American Idiot

Letterbomb - Found in 2004's massively successful album "American Idiot", "Letterbomb" never gained much attention due to a crushing success of songs such as "American Idiot", "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams", "Holiday", "Jesus Of Suburbia" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends". However, it remains one great tune and one of Green Day's finest to come out of its 2004 "blockbuster" album. As in most songs from "American Idiot", lyrics can have a hundred different meanings and many fans seem to interpret it in various different ways, but honestly it's not what's most important about "Letterbomb". Its greatness relies far more on its great musicianship and addictiveness. After a great, solid intro, Armstrong delivers quite nicely on some greatly crafted verses, a fantastic bridge, in which Armstrong sends out a great, funny one-liner ("Stand still when it's do or die, you better run for your fucking life") and a memorable chorus. "Letterbomb" has got numerous hooks, which stay in people's heads long after they listen to it and make it deserve repeated listens. Far better than a couple of hit songs from "American Idiot", "Letterbomb" deserves more recognition among fans and critics, it remains a very underrated song.
3Green Day

2,000 Light Years Away - An outstanding opener in "Kerplunk", "2,000 Light Years Away" is arguably among Green Day's best songs in an era before "Dookie". An insanely addictive number, due to a memorable hook and a strong chorus, "2,000 Light Years Away" showcases some of Green Day's best talents as a band. A great sense of musicianship seems to be constantly present, Cool's drumming is perfect, Dirnt's bassing is flashy and dazzling as ever and Armstrong's riffs and licks serve as a very special quality to make "2,000 Light Years Away" such a classic. Armstrong's iconic line in its chorus ("I hold my breath and close my eyes and think about her, 'cause she's 2,000 light years away") remains as memorable as ever. Some friends often ask me what's my favorite album from my favorite bands. When it comes to Green Day, I never know which one I should pick, I'm torn between "Dookie" and "Kerplunk". But "2,000 Light Years Away" is a big reason why I hold "Kerplunk" in such high regard. Its relentless energy from start to finish is outstanding, and a big reason why I love old Green Day.
2Green Day

Panic Song - Representing "Insomniac", "Panic Song" is a very underrated track, mostly because it was never played live. But it's such an amazing song. Adding some much required diversity to a furiously played punk environment present in most of "Insomniac", "Panic Song" kicks off in a fantastic way. Its intro is simply outstanding, and impossible to ignore. Cool's pounding jungle beat is perfect, while Dirnt plays one single note at an incredibly rate for almost 2 minutes. Billie Joe adds some soft and clever guitar licks, blending in perfectly. After such a mindblowing intro, "Panic Song" develops into a furious punk display of Green Day's ability as a unit. Armstrong's whiny vocals sound perfectly placed, but it's Green Day's rhythm section taking center stage, playing amazingly from start to finish. Its chorus is instantly memorable and it's got some clever lyrics, and its closing part remains catchy as ever ("I wanna jump out!"). Dirnt and Armstrong collaborated in lyrics for "Panic Song", as it's about, as its title suggests, about frequent panic attacks they used to have. "Panic Song" has got an infectious energy, and it's a great number to be found on one of Green Day's most "punk" albums. A very underrated song.
1Green Day

Who Wrote Holden Caulfield? - "Kerplunk" has got plenty of underrated tracks. Spot #1 could've gone to an almost equally deserving acoustic rocker "Words I Might Have Ate". "80", a great emotional song Armstrong dedicated to his future wife, also could've taken it, as well as "Android", a fast and furious punk track. But it's "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?" that takes #1 as Green Day's most underrated track ever in my opinion. Truly a memorable song to come out of Green Day's second studio album, "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?" showcases a band achieving its full potential. Obviously inspired by J.D. Salinger's classic book "Catcher In The Rye", as its title suggests, it contains some of Armstrong's most interesting lyrics. In a way, he's telling us Holden Caulfield's story, but, at least in his mind, it could just as easily apply to him. Even though Armstrong knew Caulfield was a fictitious character, he saw him as a role model, someone to look up to. However, "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?" isn't memorable just for its great lyrics. Its hook is amazing and sticks in listeners' heads for days after it's been listened to, and its timeless chorus helps turning it into an even greater song. Musically, it's as great as it could be. Among Green Day's extensive catalog, "Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?" is probably Green Day's most underrated song ever.
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