Review Summary: No sap, no soap, just the sound of three guys rocking out in a garage.
After blasting to stardom with their smash hit Dookie
, the Californian trio of Green Day
found themselves to be punk rock's hottest topic. And with good reason, as 1994's Dookie
was nothing short of astounding, delivering standout tracks such as Longview
, Welcome to Paradise
and When I Come Around
. So the eve of 1995 brought the spotlight on Green Day
. Could they dish out another punk rock masterpiece to rival their magnum opus" Hell yes, as Insomniac
not only meets its lofty expectations, it skyrockets through.
Though considered rather tame and receiving lukewarm reviews compared to its predecessor, Insomniac
might just be Green Day's finest hour, let alone their best album of the 90's.
The beauty of punk rock lies in its austerity; killer hooks, crass attitude and an immense adrenaline rush that listening to it brings about. Though it may seem formulaic at times, Armstrong and Co. execute it with such finesse they make it look easy. Which brings us to the album's greatest strength; the three aren't trying so hard, in fact all the songs may seem identical at first listen. But like all brilliant records, repeated listens truly uncover the gifts this album has to offer. There's no sappy ballads, no head-scratching moments; just balls-out madness and fun.
That's not to say the album is repetitive or dull with a daunting stretch of 14 tracks; each song benefits from great songwriting with tremendously powerful guitar hooks, stellar basslines and maddening drumming, as well as Billie Joe's charismatic vocal performance. Some tracks benefit from this amalgamation more than others, especially Geek Stink Breath
, Stuck With Me
and Stuart and the Ave.
. Elsewhere, some songs are characteristically captivating such as the adrenaline-fueled Jaded
or Panic Song
, where Billie starts his cynical preaching after a minute-and-a-half of drum rolls and guitarplay. Which brings us to the record's lyrical content; it's got some of Armstrong's most nihilistic and depressing, like "Stranded...lost inside myself - My own worst friend - My own closest enemy - Branded...maladjusted - Never trusted anyone - Let alone myself..." off opener Armatage Shanks
, while Brain Stew
's title is quite self-explanatory. However, Billie's sing-song caterwauling mirrors each track's inherent pessimism as seemingly joyful and apathetic.
In short, Insomniac
is the sound of three guys just rocking out in their garage and having fun. Thankfully, they were kind enough to let us in on their mirth. An amalgam of rock's versatility and punk's nonchalance, Insomniac
is a criminally underrated record that demands your attention. If the title holds true, you might become an insomniac yourself rocking out in your bedroom all night while the neighbours tell you to shut the heck up. Well, that's when you know it's a killer album.
Geek Stink Breath
Stuck With Me
Stuart and the Ave.