Review Summary: Antics, capers, and misbehavior.
Physical CD singles, along with VHS tapes, land lines, and dialup internet can now officially be considered relics of our past. VHS tapes were killed by the DVD, land lines were killed by cell phones, and, unfortunately, you may go the rest of your life without hearing the screech of your computer connecting to the internet via America Online like you did back in 1998. Likewise, the CD single was quickly killed by digital downloads, combined with an incentive by major labels to hold back excess material for exclusive releases, a future studio album or a soundtrack contribution. But, as recently as a decade ago, CD singles were substantial contributors to chart success. Before the advent of digital downloading, fans would flock to their local CD shops and records stores to buy a band’s CD single, which besides containing the band’s latest radio hit, would contain at least one B-side that could not be acquired anywhere else. Various bands with an excess amount of material would place extra tracks on a succession of CD singles to help promote chart and radio success. British bands often took advantage of the two-sided single the most in the eighties and nineties, including groups like Oasis and the Smiths, (both of whom had B-sides that were often as good, if not better than their respective A-sides as shown on their respective compilations The Masterplan
and Louder Than Bombs
). Seeing green, American labels and bands quickly followed suit by releasing CD singles with exclusive B-sides in order to try and tap the growing worldwide market for their music.
, a compilation of B-sides from Green Day that hit shelves at the end of the CD-single era in 2002. Shenanigans
quickly became one of the last examples of a B-side compilation album from a mainstream artist, and is the sister release of 2001’s International Superhits!
, the wildly great collection of all of the band’s singles from 1994’s Dookie
to 2000’s Warning
. However, its release, along with Superhits!
, provided further proof to fans that the band was experiencing some internal turmoil that was preventing the creation of a new studio release. Despite the songs on Shenanigans
being recorded over the course of six years, the album, like Superhits!
, flows surprisingly well, a testament to the consistency of the band’s recordings during their first major label years. Shenanigans
offers a little bit of everything to a devoted fan: the blunt but nevertheless great Mike Dirnt penned lyrics of the previously unreleased “Ha Ha You’re Dead,” and the above average B-sides that were recorded during the creation of 1997’s Nimrod
, including the driving opener “Suffocate,” the start-stop antics that run throughout “Desensitized,” the chiming guitars of “Rotting,” and the slow, over-driving guitar line of “You Lied.” Also included in this collection are a couple of covers that range from mandatory listening (The Ramones’ “Outsider”) to questionable (Fang’s “I Want to Be on TV,” the Kinks “Tired of Waiting For You”), as well as the instrumental “Espionage” from the band’s contribution to the first Austin Powers movie, and the bluesy highlight “On the Wagon,” which dates from the band’s Dookie
Despite its short running time of just over 30 minutes, most of the fourteen tracks that are featured on Shenanigans
are relatively worthwhile listens to most casual fans of the band. The album presents careful listeners with a variety of songs that give greater context to the subtle changes in the band’s sound that occurred during their heyday in the nineties. Of course, despite grim circumstances (and supposedly stolen master tapes), the band persevered onwards and experienced a massive resurgence in popularity only two years later with the “rock-opera” American Idiot
, leaving Shenanigans
placed firmly in the band’s rear-view mirror to most fans, both old and new. Even with some quality tracks, Shenanigans
remains an oft forgotten compilation of Green Day’s deepest cuts, having the dubious honor of not only being the band’s least talked about release and marking a low point in the band’s popularity, but also for being one of the final, dust-filled gasps of the CD-single era.