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Punk / New Wave - Released March 3, 1998 | Reprise

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It's a bit tempting to peg Green Day's sprawling, ambitious, brilliant seventh album, American Idiot, as their version of a Who album, the next logical step forward from the Kinks-inspired popcraft of their underrated 2000 effort, Warning, but things aren't quite that simple. American Idiot is an unapologetic, unabashed rock opera, a form that Pete Townshend pioneered with Tommy, but Green Day doesn't use that for a blueprint as much as they use the Who's mini-opera "A Quick One, While He's Away," whose whirlwind succession of 90-second songs isn't only emulated on two song suites here, but provides the template for the larger 13-song cycle. But the Who are only one of many inspirations on this audacious, immensely entertaining album. The story of St. Jimmy has an arc similar to Hüsker Dü's landmark punk-opera Zen Arcade, while the music has grandiose flourishes straight out of both Queen and Rocky Horror Picture Show (the '50s pastiche "Rock and Roll Girlfriend" is punk rock Meat Loaf), all tied together with a nervy urgency and a political passion reminiscent of the Clash, or all the anti-Reagan American hardcore bands of the '80s. These are just the clearest touchstones for American Idiot, but reducing the album to its influences gives the inaccurate impression that this is no more than a patchwork quilt of familiar sounds, when it's an idiosyncratic, visionary work in its own right. First of all, part of Green Day's appeal is how they have personalized the sounds of the past, making time-honored guitar rock traditions seem fresh, even vital. With their first albums, they styled themselves after first-generation punk they were too young to hear firsthand, and as their career progressed, the group not only synthesized these influences into something distinctive, but chief songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong turned into a muscular, versatile songwriter in his own right. Warning illustrated their growing musical acumen quite impressively, but here, the music isn't only tougher, it's fluid and, better still, it fuels the anger, disillusionment, heartbreak, frustration, and scathing wit at the core of American Idiot. And one of the truly startling things about American Idiot is how the increased musicality of the band is matched by Armstrong's incisive, cutting lyrics, which effectively convey the paranoia and fear of living in American in days after 9/11, but also veer into moving, intimate small-scale character sketches. There's a lot to absorb here, and cynics might dismiss it after one listen as a bit of a mess when it's really a rich, multi-faceted work, one that is bracing upon the first spin and grows in stature and becomes more addictive with each repeated play. Like all great concept albums, American Idiot works on several different levels. It can be taken as a collection of great songs -- songs that are as visceral or as poignant as Green Day at their best, songs that resonate outside of the larger canvas of the story, as the fiery anti-Dubya title anthem proves -- but these songs have a different, more lasting impact when taken as a whole. While its breakneck, freewheeling musicality has many inspirations, there really aren't many records like American Idiot (bizarrely enough, the Fiery Furnaces' Blueberry Boat is one of the closest, at least on a sonic level, largely because both groups draw deeply from the kaleidoscopic "A Quick One"). In its musical muscle and sweeping, politically charged narrative, it's something of a masterpiece, and one of the few -- if not the only -- records of 2004 to convey what it feels like to live in the strange, bewildering America of the early 2000s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 28, 1994 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 15, 2009 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 7, 2012 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 25, 2012 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 7, 2012 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 9, 2012 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 4, 2012 | Reprise

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Arriving earlier than expected but last as planned, Green Day's third album of 2012 concludes their pop-punk trilogy not on a triumphant note but on one of confusion. Green Day's blueprints for 2012 and beyond may have been trashed by Billie Joe Armstrong's unexpected entry into rehab but that doesn't alter the albums themselves, which aren't necessarily a carefully constructed trilogy but rather an outpouring of energy, the group pushing out every completed song it had. ¡Tré!'s two predecessors had clear identities: ¡Uno! was the arena rock record; ¡Dos! was the punk-garage lark. In contrast, ¡Tré! feels like leftovers, the songs that didn't fit either theme, a collection of songs capturing the band at its loosest and poppiest, throwing away tunes without much care. It's hookier and not as ponderous as ¡Uno! but not quite as breakneck as ¡Dos!, never delving into the sleaze of "Fuck Time," never feeling like a last grasp at adolescence the way ¡Dos! did at its best. Instead, ¡Tré! is a morning-after record, sometimes regretful, sometimes unrepentant, divided between unapologetic partying and amends for their wayward ways. On the whole, ¡Tré! winds up on the happier side of the scale: the rhythms are insistent, the hooks immediate, the veneer bright and cheerful, never once regretting the chaos that happened the night before. But underneath this good time is the slight, perhaps unconscious, admission that things cannot continue as they did before. There is not the desperation or the hedonistic pulse that ran through ¡Dos!, but rather a shrugging admission that the time for partying is over. So there's a bittersweet undertow to ¡Tré!, a feeling underscored by Armstrong's rehab: he could no longer continue trying to recapture his youth, but dammit if he doesn't come close to doing so at times throughout ¡Tré! ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Punk / New Wave - Released February 7, 2020 | Reprise

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Billie Joe Armstrong’s band is back with Father Of All Motherf***ers, a manifesto of pure rage if ever there was one. Ten tracks make up twenty-five minutes of Green Day intensity that they have not displayed for a long time. When words, actions and even protests no longer have any effect, the only response possible is to let the decibels speak instead of the fists. Catchy and unpredictable, the only thing left to do is to headbang and admit defeat during the stronger moments like during the eponymous track, or the airy Oh Yeah with its unwavering rhythm. Green Day is not only able to sing loud and fast, as proven by the poignant Junkies On A High which employs a well-used catchy melody. The closing song Graffitia is a fierce old-school frenzy which is capable of getting anyone nearby up to dance. Father Of All… (its more marketable alternative name) is the album which has the fire that was perhaps missing from a few of their latest records. It’s a real pleasure to hear the Californians regain all that rage that we were suspecting was beginning to diminish. © Maxime Archambaud/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 17, 2017 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 7, 2016 | Reprise

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Green Day couldn't have had a blockbuster without Nirvana, but Dookie wound up being nearly as revolutionary as Nevermind, sending a wave of imitators up the charts and setting the tone for the mainstream rock of the mid-'90s. Like Nevermind, this was accidental success, the sound of a promising underground group suddenly hitting its stride just as they got their first professional, big-budget, big-label production. Really, that's where the similarities end, since if Nirvana were indebted to the weirdness of indie rock, Green Day were straight-ahead punk revivalists through and through. They were products of the underground pop scene kept alive by such protagonists as All, yet what they really loved was the original punk, particularly such British punkers as the Jam and Buzzcocks. On their first couple records, they showed promise, but with Dookie, they delivered a record that found Billie Joe Armstrong bursting into full flower as a songwriter, spitting out melodic ravers that could have comfortably sat alongside Singles Going Steady, but infused with an ironic self-loathing popularized by Nirvana, whose clean sound on Nevermind is also emulated here. Where Nirvana had weight, Green Day are deliberately adolescent here, treating nearly everything as joke and having as much fun as snotty punkers should. They demonstrate a bit of depth with "When I Come Around," but that just varies the pace slightly, since the key to this is their flippant, infectious attitude -- something they maintain throughout the record, making Dookie a stellar piece of modern punk that many tried to emulate but nobody bettered. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 7, 2016 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 7, 2016 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 7, 2016 | Reprise

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Following the cool reception to Insomniac, Green Day retreated from the spotlight for a year to rest and spend time with their families. During that extended break, they decided to not worry about their supposedly lost street credibility and make an album according to their instincts, which meant more experimentation and less of their trademark punk-pop. Of course, speedy, catchy punk is at the core of the group's sound, so there are plenty of familiar moments on the resultant album, Nimrod, but there are also new details that make the record an invigorating, if occasionally frustrating, listen. Although punk-pop is Green Day's forte, they sound the most alive on Nimrod when they're breaking away from their formula, whether it's the shuffling "Hitchin' a Ride," the bitchy, tongue-in-cheek humor of "The Grouch," the surging surf instrumental "Last Ride In," the punchy, horn-driven drag-queen saga "King for a Day," or the acoustic, string-laced ballad "Good Riddance." It's only when the trio confines itself to three chords that it sounds tired, but Billie Joe has such a gift for hooky, instantly memorable melodies that even these moments are enjoyable, if unremarkable. Still, Nimrod suffers from being simply too much -- although it clocks in at under 50 minutes, the 18 tracks whip by at such a breakneck speed that it leaves you somewhat dazed. With a little editing, Green Day's growth would have been put in sharper relief, and Nimrod would have been the triumphant leap forward it set out to be. As it stands, it's a muddled but intermittently exciting record that is full of promise. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 14, 1997 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 17, 2017 | Reprise

Green Day released their first hits collection in 2001, just prior to opening up a wildly successful second act with 2004's American Idiot. Greatest Hits: God's Favorite Band incorporates all the hits from that second act in an album that's just one song longer than the 21-track International Superhits! God's Favorite Band repeats ten songs from its predecessor and they're all the ones you'd expect: "Longview," "Welcome to Paradise," "Basket Case," "When I Come Around," "She," "Brain Stew," "Hitchin' a Ride," "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)," "Minority," and "Warning." Similarly, the six Green Day albums since International Superhits! are represented by the big hits -- "American Idiot," "Holiday," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Wake Me Up When September Ends," "Know Your Enemy" -- with the triple-album ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré! being dismissed with only one song ("Oh Love"). To this foundation, the band adds two new cuts -- "Back in the USA" and a duet with Miranda Lambert called "Ordinary World" -- but the real appeal of God's Favorite Band is how it serves as a testament for the longevity of Green Day, which is the opposite argument of International Superhits! That collection still stands as an excellent distillation of Green Day's frenetic '90s, while this one paints the band as sturdy rock & roll lifers. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 7, 2016 | Reprise

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By 2000, Green Day had long been spurned as unhip by the fourth-generation punks they popularized, and they didn't seem likely to replicate the MOR success of the fluke smash "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)." Apparently, the success of that ballad freed the band from any classifications or stigmas, letting them feel like they could do anything they wanted on their fifth album, Warning. They responded by embracing their fondness for pop and making the best damn album they'd ever made. There's a sense of fearlessness on Warning, as if the band didn't care if the album wasn't punk enough, or whether it produced a cross-platform hit. There are no ballads here, actually, and while there are a number of punchy, infectious rockers, the tempo is never recklessly breakneck. Instead, the focus is squarely on the songs, with the instrumentation and arrangements serving their needs. It's easy to say that Green Day have matured with this album, since they've never produced a better, more tuneful set of songs, or tried so many studio tricks and clever arrangements. However, that has the wrong connotation, since "mature" would indicate that Warning is a studious, carefully assembled album that's easier to admire than to love. That's not the case at all. This is gleeful, unabashed fun, even when Billie Joe Armstrong is getting a little cranky in his lyrics. It's fun to hear Green Day adopt a Beatlesque harmonica on "Hold On" or try out Kinks-ian music hall on "Misery," while still knocking out punk-pop gems and displaying melodic ingenuity and imaginative arrangements. Warning may not be an innovative record per se, but it's tremendously satisfying; it finds the band at a peak of songcraft and performance, doing it all without a trace of self-consciousness. It's the first great pure pop album of the new millennium. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 10, 2019 | Reprise

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 19, 2000 | Reprise

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Pop - Released September 29, 1995 | Reprise