Green Day had guts, personality, and a pop sense lacking in absolutely nothing. Hence we begin.
1,039 Smoothed Out, Slappy Hours
Not a true Green Day album, as Trey Cool is not on it. Though you can tell a phony douche bag by their owning or patronizing of this album.
Lust. He’s met someone, “Adie,” “80,” and things are going well, you might say. Too well. “Everything she does questions my mental health / And makes me lose control I wanna hurt myself” (“80”). Ah, I see you two are hitting it off! Sure, “Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?” is a great title, but more compelling musically are the key album delves into the chthonic like opener “2,000 Light Years Away,” “One for the Razorbacks,” “Private Ale” and “Words I Might Have Ate.” Ever stab your eye on a posy?
Dookie. On the last song on Modest Mouse’s masterpiece album The Moon and Antarctica, Isaac Brock sets up this narrative of meeting some omniscient creature in the afterlife or something, and he goes, “And the one thing it said about human beings was this / They ain’t made of nothin’ but water and sh**!” Boy, this really made me want to move to the Northwest when I heard it. Billie Joe Armstrong was once taking a you know what in a stall at a show, when he saw his name scribbled on the wall in there. Flattering, but there’s just one problem: it was followed by the words “must die.” But anyone who called them a sellout apparently hadn’t heard track seven on Kerplunk!, “One of My Lies,” which is a man of a profoundly ebullient and original chord progression basically just spilling to the audience about being at the end of his rope socially, obviously bearing a heavy burden in this department, as evidenced when he appeals once again to these very grey masses: “If anyone can hear me slap some sense in me.” Trey, take at it.
The desperate attempt to fit in. Less Than Jake’s overlooked but spellbinding fourth (or so) album Borders and Boundaries culminates with a song that goes “Sometimes you just want to belong / At any loss or any cost.” Any studier of the LTJ catalog knows that Chris Demakes fervidly pursues all and sundry opportunities to sharpen his own knife of moral punk integrity, though it’s done over music, which makes it stomachable. The “Geek Stink Breath” fills the room, chinks of insecurity throughout his armor, and thrusts his sword into his own “Brain Stew,” but with “86,” we at least get a denouement of a certain ironic solace: if there’s hell below, we’re all gonna go.
Finally realizing that it’s better that you didn’t fit in anyway. “Reject” spawned the name of The All American Rejects (if only they could’ve captured Green Day’s grasp of actually rocking), and “King for a Day” is a musically rip-roaring sonnet for androgyny. Most importantly, “Prosthetic Head,” the closeur, is a song that couldn’t have come on any other Green Day album, as it actually pulls the card of those who do successfully fit in at the price of the ability to live in the moment and sense simple, unexplainable happiness when they see it. More than anything, it’s a funny album, full of Billie Joe willing to step into multiple personas and foreign roles, because he’s seen how they’re all just as buoyant as the next, anyway.