Review Summary: Green Day’s worst album commercially is a wonderfully fun, simple album that does not have too much going on in it. And that’s OK.
Green Day, at this point, was in a low point of their careers. It had been 6 years since they had released Dookie, one of the albums that started the pop-punk revival. The two albums that preceded this album, Insomniac and Nimrod, were decent, but did not reach the level of quality or success that Dookie did. At this point, it seems that most of the world had written of Green Day as a one-hit wonder that would never produce something as good as Dookie again. As a result, there was not much anticipation before this album that led to its low sales. However, this album is better than both Nimrod and Insomniac, and did not deserve to be the album that almost ended up leading to the breakup of Green Day.
The album starts out with “Warning”, a slowly-paced track (for Green Day). The instrumentals for this track are incredibly simple, especially the drumming by Tre Cool. They form a background for Billie Joe’s lyrics, which are quite clever. The highlight of the song comes directly after the chorus, with a tom-tom led beat and some wind sounds in the background. This is followed by “Blood, Sex, and Booze” which is an average track. Nothing really special happens in this song, but it isn’t completely terrible either. Nothing noteworthy in this track. “Church on Sunday” is pretty catchy, but the same thing that is said about the previous song can be said for this one as well. The only moment that stands out is at the beginning of the last chorus, when the vocals and the instruments kind of stutter, creating a nice effect. “Fashion Victim” is another average track. At this point, the album seems to be leading nowhere, and the quality of the first four tracks is pretty low.
“Castaway” comes in to save the album. This is, instrumentally, the best track on the album. The opening riff from Billie Joe is powerful and catchy at the same time. The bass is good throughout the song, especially during the bridge. The entire song is upbeat and catchy. “A conscientious objector to the war that’s in my mind” is one of the great lyrics on this album.
If the previous song was the best track instrumentally, the next one, “Misery”, is the best song musically. While the technical ability on this song is average, the overall structure is quite impressive. It starts off with some organ, then the snare drums and guitar come in. The song is about two characters named Mr. Whirly and Virginia who have bad things happen to them and get high when they’re sad. It starts off slowly and inches up in tempo, but the climax that one would expect never really comes. Still, that doesn’t take away from the song, which is superb.
“Deadbeat Holiday” is almost as good as the last two tracks. The intro is the best past of the song, with Billie Joe playing a chord and singing what are the best lyrics on the album. The rest of the song is a little bit above average, but nothing mind-blowing. Next is “Hold On”, which features the harmonica. The harmonica is what makes the song special, but there is some nice bass in it as well.
This is followed by what are the strongest closing 4 tracks for any Green Day album to date. The first of these tracks is “Jackass”. It starts with some simple acoustic playing, then starts jamming out. Everything meshes together well in this track, and the saxophone solo is a nice addition. The lyrics are great, being about someone that Billie Joe does not like, saying things like “To know you is to hate you” “Jackass” is followed by “Waiting”, which starts off with a soft guitar piece that plays for about 10 seconds, then Tre and Mike come in and they all start playing together. This song flows really well, and like the last track, everything meshes together.
Next is the album’s lead single, “Minority” The intro to this song is an incredibly catchy guitar riff. This was the best choice for the lead single on this album. It sounds mainstream, but for this song, it isn’t bad. This track also has some harmonica, though it is easier to miss in this song. A definite highlight on the album. The album ends on a soft note with “Macy’s Day Parade” Everything is simple in this song, but the simplicity is what makes the song brilliant. The drums stay steady on the same beat throughout the song. It works perfectly as an album closer.
Overall, Warning is a quality album. If you're not a Green Day fan, this is not the first album you should get. And it won't convert no-fans into fans. However, if you like Green Day, this is a worthy addition to your collection.