Green Day
1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours


3.0
good

Review

by ReturnToRock USER (303 Reviews)
November 19th, 2007 | 26 replies


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A formative album that sounds like a prototype for the next few. It shows promise, but it only just hints at the greatness of later albums.

Today, Green Day are one of the most hated bands among «real» music lovers. But what most of the detractors of American Idiot – and also a vast majority of its defenders, present writer included – aren’t old enough to remember is that Green Day were once an up-and-coming band like any other. That’s right, before the concessions to radio airplay, before the eyeliner, the emo ballads and the conceptual albums, Green Day were just another melodi-core band with a street cred. The year was 1990, the place was Southern California, and Green Day were nothing but a trio of 18-year-olds trying to break through in a thriving hardcore scene. Back then, they had the support of Jesse Michaels (of Operation Ivy fame), who contributed the artwork for their first full-lenght album, 39/Smooth. The band repaid by including a cover of Knowledge in one of their multiple Ep’s of the time.

Both the artwork and the cover song are included on 1.039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, a re-release that comprises both their debut album and two of the aforementioned Ep’s, 10.000 Hours and Slappy, as well as a track from a Flipside compilation of the time. What we have in this 19-track opus is basically a formative version of what Green Day would later become. The trappings were all here – Mike Dirnt’s complex bass, Billie Joe’s trademark riffs and the poppy choruses – but there were still some adjustments to be made. Billie Joe, for example, sounds paradoxically more mature here than on any other release by the band, Kerplunk included. His nasal tone was still developing, causing him to sound somewhat less shrill than usual. Furthermore, Tre Cool hadn’t yet entered the picture, and featured here is Green Day’s first drummer, John – unpronounceable surname – who even contributes with lyrics to one track, I Was There. Sadly, he isn’t a patch on Tre Cool, which means the drum acrobactics of other Green Day CD’s are sorely missed here. Instead, John Whatsits prefers to keep a more straightforward beat, that ends up detracting from the songs themselves.

Not that the songs were overtly inspired to begin with. The album does start out with three strong tracks (paticularly At The Library) but everything is quickly submerged in a sea of edgy riffs, mediocre drumming and over-repeated choruses. Every now and then, a gem arises – Going To Pasalacqua is an excellent track worthy of Kerplunk or Insomniac – but overall the first half of the album – Green Day’s debut proper – leaves something to be desired.

The real saving grace, then, is the second half, consisting of the two EP’s plus the compilation track. This, ironically, is where the best moments can be found. Even though these are tracks from three separate sources, they sound more like a whole than the first ten, and grace us with two of the best tracks here: 409 in you Coffemaker (a track so mature in its composition that when I first heard it, separate from the album, I though it might be a latter-stage B-Side) and The One That I Want, a perfect song to dedicate to the woman you love.

And speaking of love...Billie Joe shows throughout this album that he was a keen observant of human relationships, even this early in his career. An example" Well, I remember someone on this site complaining that some band had written a «scared virgin» ballad...well, In The Library is the perfect virgin ballad. It’s about sitting in the library, seeing a pretty girl across the room and not being able to gather up the guts to go talk to her. A feeling I assume we’re all familiar with. Its chorus of «are you leaving soon"/I just need a little time», set to a quick, poppy backbeat rings true within us all. Another example is the – fairly weak – Green Day (yes, they have an eponymous track), which does feel like a marijuana trip, with its whacky visions about «being in a field». And last, but not least. John’s lyrical contribution with I Was There – a strangely melancholic lyric for ones so young.

Musically, the group also shows glimpses of good ideas, but these songs feel more like a prototype for those on Kerplunk or Dookie. For instance, 16 could just as well be called When I Come Around Part 1, the intro riff is just so similar. Similarly, the similarities between Rest, Christie Road (from Kerplunk) and Pulling Teeth (from Dookie) are hard to overlook. The second half of the album also shows something unheard-of in any Green Day album since: ripping surf-rock guitar solos! In fact, many of the songs from the EP’s (and The Judge’s Daughter from the album itself) show that Billie Joe has some skills, a fact that could not have been ascertained from his ever-so-simple riffs and chord progressions. However, the album itself shows a clear abandoning of this particular element, which would only be recovered once or twice in Green Day’s subsequent career. A shame, really.

Interestingly, this is also the only Green Day album in which the constant comparisons to the Ramones make at least some sense. In some of the most straightforward riffs, the simpler choruses and the most energetic songs, one may occasionally be reminded of Joey and Co, something that does not happen in other Green Day albums. However, 1.039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours strays closer to bands such as Generation X (from 1977 – yay), Dag Nasty or – you guessed it – Operation Ivy. Soon, this band would make it bigger than any of those and lose all street credibility. This remains as a document of a more formative age, one of naïveté and teenage rebellion. Casual Green Day fans might be let down by it, but it remains, above all, one for the collectors and all those who, like me, share an interest in a band’s formative stages. There’s been much better debut albums, but there’s also been much worse ones.

Reccomended Tracks
At The Library
Going To Pasalacqua
409 in your Coffeemaker
Dry Ice
The One I Want

Final Rating - 3.2/5



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
November 19th 2007


17623 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review... I'm glad the older Green Day albums were both reviewed. This album is at least higher quality then Blink-182's pre-radio days.

cometuesday
November 19th 2007


959 Comments


Yeah jeez Green Day has always >>> Blink 182.
But yeah good review, I don't know if I'd pick this up because like you said now you're lame if you like Green Day but you have me interested at least. I only ever got around to a few of their albums before I sort of lost interest for some reason.

Serpento
November 19th 2007


2351 Comments


I don't know if I'd pick this up because like you said now you're lame if you like Green Day
*facepalm*

Good review. I always found it funny how a lot of bands (like the aforementioned Op Ivy) intertwined on the Berkley scene back when Green Day was forming. Right place, right time, I suppose.

Willie
Moderator
November 19th 2007


17623 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah jeez Green Day has always >>> Blink 182.
I'd have to disagree with that. Blink 182's "Take Off Your Pants..." and their self-titled album were both better then the Green Day albums released at roughly the same time.
I don't know if I'd pick this up because like you said now you're lame if you like Green Day but you have me interested at least. I only ever got around to a few of their albums before I sort of lost interest for some reason.
If you haven't heard "Kerplunk" that is the one you should check out...

ReturnToRock
November 19th 2007


3446 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i got Dookie first, then Insomniac, then a friend burned me American Idiot (upon request), then Kerplunk, and then this.



all for low prices, apart from Dookie, which i got waaaay back in maybe 1998.

Meatplow
November 19th 2007


5524 Comments


Good review.

Green Day were the first band I ever liked, and even now that i've matured strongly in tastes since my high school days I can't deny I still find them pleasurable to listen to. I had a tape of Nimrod which I played so much that it broke just from use, these songs are nostalgic for me.

Dookie & Insomniac were also great, Warning less so but not bad, and eventually American Idiot good as well despite the fact I was turned off by all MTV cock suckery and change in image. I've never listened to their earlier material, the shame being when I was big into the band I had no way to access it. Now, I don't know if i'd go out my way, sounds interesting though.

McP3000
November 19th 2007


4049 Comments


Yeah jeez Green Day has always >>> Blink 182.

Every Green Day album i've ever listened to is worse than the Blink counterpart. (Except Dookie)

Electric City
Emeritus
November 19th 2007


15762 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

^lololol





Independent_CA
November 23rd 2007


6 Comments



Yeah jeez Green Day has always >>> Blink 182.

No. Just no. "Dude Ranch" is blink's career equivalent of "Dookie" and it's much better and that's the only place they even come close. Green Day hasn't been good really since 1997.

And Green Day is from Nor-Cal and more specifically the East Bay area if I'm not mistaken, so I don't know why the review says So-Cal. But anyway good review other than that.

Electric City
Emeritus
November 24th 2007


15762 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Dookie really is a lot better than Dude Ranch. In fact, most of Green Day's albums are better than their "Blink 182 equivalent", whatever that means. Yes, I think American Idiot was better than Blink's suddenly-serious, tuneless self titled album.

Electric City
Emeritus
November 12th 2008


15762 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, I remember someone on this site complaining that some band had written a «scared virgin» ballad...




haha that was my Catalyst review goddamn

TrantaLocked
October 2nd 2013


1827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album has more heart than you'd expect.

claygurnz
December 14th 2015


5232 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This rocks man, so damn good.

Drifter
December 18th 2017


15392 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Album has more heart than you'd expect"



Yup

onionbubs
December 18th 2017


11221 Comments


some jams on this one

Digging: Periphery - Periphery IV: Hail Stan

Drifter
December 18th 2017


15392 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

All of them are top tier green day tbqh

onionbubs
December 18th 2017


11221 Comments


nah def some questionable songs on here. songs dont really feel fully finished either, but im willing to look past that since it was their first

Drifter
December 18th 2017


15392 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

All 19 of the songs from here are in their top 25 tbqh

onionbubs
December 18th 2017


11221 Comments


idk if even one song on here is in their top 25 tbh

maybe not even top 50

Drifter
December 18th 2017


15392 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Smh



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