Yeah, Green Day had two albums out before releasing "Longview," the first single from Dookie, but most likely, this was your introduction to the Bay Area punk band. And for a generation of 15-year-old boys, "When masturbation's lost its fun" became the pivotal giggle-snicker line.
Originally released on their 1992 album Kerplunk, the band re-recorded the track as the follow-up single for "Longview."
Dookie's final single was written about Armstrong's ex-girlfriend, also the subject of "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)." Here's the track, but for a slightly NSFW version, Armstrong performed a nude version at Madison Square Garden.
Here's the point where Green Day grows from fast, three-chord punk anger to a more mature songwriting style, foreshadowing Armstrong's rock opera future. The stewing, bubbling "Brain Stew" blends so well into the hardcore "Jaded," it's hard to remember they're two different tracks.
And a sea of lighters go up. Billie Joe slows it down and writes this atypical acoustic track, replacing electric guitars with orchestral strings. Prom organizers everywhere immediately throw out their "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" CD single and rejoice.
With their seventh album, American Idiot, Green Day went from arenas to stadiums and became one of the biggest rock bands in the world, fueled largely by this title track. Armstrong wrote the track to counter what he saw as a growing anti-intellectualism movement. The song would later snag four GRAMMY nominations, including Song of the Year.
The second single from Idiot remains a crowd favorite, unless you're Noel Gallagher. The former Oasis guitarist accused the band of stealing the song's melody and structure from "Wonderwall." "They should have the decency to wait until I am dead [before stealing my songs]," said Gallagher, who likes to get angry at things.
"This song is not anti-American; it's anti-war!" Armstrong would tell fans before live performances of this song. One of the band's most political songs features lines like "Can I get another Amen? / There's a flag wrapped around a score of men / A gag, a plastic bag on a monument."
Though sadly not a Rage Against the Machine cover, the lead single from the band's eighth album 21st Century Breakdown became the theme song from WWE Smackdown. That should tell you all you need to know.
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