Review Summary: The Green Clash Day
I’ll admit. I was kind of unfair to Warning
. I included it on my “burning at the stake” list, even though I knew Nimrod
was much worse, and I never did give it a chance to grace my stereo with its melodious tones.
The advent of file-sharing has made it possible for people like me to listen to albums they wouldn’t normally buy in a no-compromise sort of way. After all, I’m not spending money on the record – other than the monthly fee my mum pays the Internet company – and I can just delete it if I don’t like it. This is a combination that works perfectly fine for me, and I’ve listened to more new records in the past few months than ever before. Warning
was one of them, and while I wasn’t exactly impressed, I wasn’t revulsed, either.
Let’s say that the final impression this album leaves is the same its singles leave: they’re OK, at times even good, but Green Day have done much better. The best tunes on here would probably have made a top 3 or top 5 list off Dookie
, which is not bad if we consider Nimrod
, but is still kind of frustrating.
But let’s not rush to conclusions. Before we evaluate the album as a whole, I’ll break down what I thought was good and bad about Green Day’s sixth full-length opus.
I’ll start with the good: this album is a huge improvement over the dreadful Nimrod
, and a valid attempt by Green Day to do something different musically. The songs on Warning
are much more rooted in pop-rock than pop-punk, and the overall impression is one of added maturity. The fact that the group has eschewed teenage-depression themes in favor of more political and social commentary also warrants a bonus mark on Green Day’s report card. Unfortunately, maturity comes with a price, and much of the excitement of former albums is lost on this one.
Still, there are flashes of old Green Day scattered throughout the album. Perhaps the two most typical songs on here are Church on Sunday
– the only time when we feel we could have been listening to old Green Day – Castaway
. Unsurprisingly, the first two are standouts, while the latter is one of those throwaway tracks every GD album includes.
And this brings us to another problem – much of Warning
is made up of throwaway tracks. The middle section is particularly unremarkable, with a cluster of five or so tracks that very seldom raise any interest about them. Fortunately, the first half of the album is much stronger, with Blood, Sex and Booze
constituting the only weaker moment among the early tracks.
Still, not all is bad – lead single Minority
, strangely placed as the second-after-last track, is among the best this album has to offer, and Macy’s Day Parade
provides a logical continuation for Good Riddance
, being a somewhat similar semi-acoustic track. Misery
is also a good attempt at creating something new, starting off with an 80’s-Nintendo keyboard riff, which evolves into a waltz (no, really!) where the strings and traditional bass drum create a nice aural effect. This track also boasts some of the best lyrics on the album, with Billie Joe attempting to tell a real story rather than just repeating choruses.
Come to that, all the lyrics here are great. I’ve never hidden my admiration for Billie Joe as a lyricist, and here he manages to cover a myriad of topics with his typical keen eye and sense of humour. Misery
is a story of down-and-out people with interconnected destinies; Minority
is a declaration of intent (”I wanna be the minority/I don’t need your authority”
); Blood, Sex and Booze
is yet another S&M tale (think Dominated Love Slave
) which must have been written by Tre Cool, since this seems to be his favorite subject to tackle. Overall, however, nearly all the songs have interesting lyrics, with Billie Joe’s only fault residing on a certain tendency to repeat certain verse sections unnecessarily (Minority
Musically, however, the story is altogether different. Green Day are evidently trying to break out from their pop-punk mold, and that’s fine; the problem is, though, that they’re doing so by copying other bands. Specifically one other band. Specifically The Clash. In fact, some moments of this record veer so close to the English ska-punksters that you’d swear that’s Paul Simonon and Topper Headon backing Joe Str…err, Billie Joe Armstrong. In fact, the overall sound of this album apes the sonority of albums such as London Calling
, mixing foreign influences such as waltz and pop to a punk-lite sound. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but still…
However, The Clash are not the only
band Green Day draw heavy influence from. Hold On
’s harmonica intro and verse riff sound ripped straight out of a pre-1965 Beatles record, and Minority
shows Green Day trying to turn into the Dropkick Murphys, with the inclusion of bagpipes and a more heavily-accented Billie Joe Armstrong. In the long run, these blatant influences seem frustrating, because Green Day have showed in the past that they have a distinctive sound and can shine without needing to copy other bands.
is not without its merits. Mostly, it’s a collection of strong, if unassuming, radio pop-rock tunes, with a few clunkers scattered throughout. It also makes for a pretty enjoyable listen, and has some clear standout moments. In the end, however, we remember that this is the same band that recorded Dookie
, and suddenly things don’t seem so bright anymore…
Church On Sunday
Macy´s Day Parade