What does a Green Day Deep Cuts collection sound like? Why, it sounds just like the rest of their stuff! Yuk, yuk! I kid. But really, when it comes to the beloved Green Day and their patented brand of pop-punk, you're not going to find too much variation from their well-known tracks. But that's OK, as that means the album tracks are pretty much going to be just as enjoyable as the singles if you're a fan -- and even if you aren't, you can listen to these songs and say, "Hey, was that one on the radio? I swear I've heard it before," because, as we all know, all of Green Day's music sounds the same. I kid!
"16" – 1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours
Billie Joe Armstrong sings about being 16 years old and all the emotional bullshit that goes with teenage angst. Hey, wasn't he that age when this thing was recorded? Man, that must have been straight from the heart, then. Works much better than any of the modern emo crap pursuing the same lyrical goals. Also could have been an instant hit single.
"Paper Lanterns" – 1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours
One (if not the only) of the early tunes Green Day played from their catalogue at Woodstock '94. It's easy to see why: this three-chord lament sounds like it could have been taken right off Dookie. Short and sweet, like the best of ‘em are.
"Words I Might Have Ate" – Kerplunk!
With new drummer Tre Cool in tow, Green Day gets a bit tighter. This acoustic-based groover predates all that "Good Riddance" tripe by a handful of years and is far better. Why? Because it isn't sappy and it rocks. Wonder why the locals weren't screaming "sell-out" at the time due to Bille Joe not being plugged in. Hell, if Husker Du could do it, so could they. Take that, narrow-minded fans.
"Private Ale" – Kerplunk!
Another ode to longing for some girl who's already taken by some other goofball. The longing turns into sweet daydreaming and ultimately a feeling of consolation in the middle of all the bullshit. I remember those days too. Jesus, those teenage years sure are a pain in the ass, aren't they?
"One of My Lies" – Kerplunk!
Billie Joe sure could cram a lot of words and thoughts about life into his catchy little ditties. More teen angsty sludge propped up with a peppy three-chord workout. No wonder the kiddies latched on so easily. Relate, junior members of the world!
"Burnout" – Dookie
"I declare I don't care no more" declares Billie Joe on the first cut of Green Day's major label debut. Every member of Generation X who had been feeling the same way fell right in line and had a new voice of dissatisfaction to lead the way. "I'm not growing up, I'm just burning down," went the chorus. Revolution through exposition of the daily monotonous grind. This is living.
"Chump" – Dookie
Billie Joe brings the obvious to the fore with the opening thought, "I don't know you but I think I hate you." Jesus, was my generation really that apathetic? It must have been, because 14 years on I can still relate to that sentiment. Is that good or bad? Maybe I'll discuss it with my therapist.
"Pulling Teeth" – Dookie
An ode to self-abuse, or a sweet little number about a girl who causes tooth-pulling? A bit of both. Again, we could all relate in some way. Well, all of us who weren't with the in crowd. You know how it is. Don't you?
"Coming Clean" – Dookie
Billie Joe, what's this one about? "Seventeen and strung out on confusion! / Trapped inside a world of disillusion." OK, business as usual then! Is it catchy? It is! Well, we like it, and we want you to be the poster boy for our angst. Lead us not into acceptance but deliver us from boredom.
"Armatage Shanks" – Insomniac
Billie Joe looks into the mirror and what does he see? Utter darkness, kids. You know, just like the kind you saw from time to time way back when. You're still relating, aren't you? It's still catchy, too. We're still approving.
"Babs's Uvula Who?" – Insomniac
Named after an old "SNL" skit featuring Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner (Was I the only one hip enough to instantly get the title?), Billie Joe continues to dig inside himself. "I got a knack for fucking everything up" and "My fuse is short" are just a couple of self-defeating sentiments layered up in this number. Before Fiona Apple was making angst rock, there was Green Day doing it for you. Enjoy.
"86" – Insomniac
A song directly confronting the old fans screaming "sell-out" at the band. 86 was an old local club Green Day frequented before the big time came to call. Apparently, after they got big, they were no longer welcome there. Punk rock "purists" really are assholes, aren't they?
"Stuart and the Ave." – Insomniac
"Before it might have made some sense, but now it's all fucked up." ‘Nuff said.
"Jinx" – Nimrod
"I fucked up again, it's all my fault." So, nothing has changed since the last album? Well, that's tasty, Billie Joe! Only problem is, it's starting to drag a little, even if this is one of the better cuts from this so-so album.
"Last Ride In" – Nimrod
An instrumental, semi-surf groover that even includes some tasty marimba and Spanish-infused horns. Why couldn't this have been the single instead of "Good Riddance"? You wanna turn some heads, release the instrumental.
"Fashion Victim" – Warning
A direct descendant of the Kinks' "Dedicated Follower of Fashion." Hey, maybe that's why "Warning" sounds like a rip-off of "Picture Book." Damn you, Ray Davies!
"Tired of Waiting for You" – Shenanigans
Hell, since we're on that route, we might as well include this groovy cover of an actual Kinks song. Hey, if it gets more kids into discovering that band beyond "You Really Got Me," I'm all for it.
"Espionage" – Shenanigans
Sounds like an old spy flick theme that never was. Oh, is that what it is? Me likey! These guys do good instrumentals.
"Ha Ha You're Dead" – Shenanigans
If I have to explain why such a sentiment is so good to hear in a popular song format, then I quit. Okay, I'll tell you: it's because it's catchy and sounds like the rest of Green Day's stuff. I kid!
"Give Me Novacaine" – American Idiot
Probably the best recorded example of acoustic-meeting-electric Green Day. There's something inherently sexy about the groove, and the compressed vocals during the louder, breakout sections of the tune are gnarly cool as well.
"Letterbomb" – American Idiot
Reaches back successfully to the darker grooves that adorned the masterpiece Insomniac and pulls out another winner. Even though the lyrics get a little heavy-handed here and there (all for the "concept" of course), this is a tight rocker.
"Whatsername" – American Idiot
For all of the epic posturing that goes on in this album, this closing number seems to say it all the best. Quiet moments broken up by louder breaks, building a nice tension and release groove with lyrics that aren't too overreaching. Nice.
"Longview" – Bullet in a Bible
Because you want to hear a European audience go nuts for the song that put Green Day on the map, don't you? Sure ya do!
"Red Tide" – Stop Drop and Roll!!!
From the outset this tune (recorded under Green Day's newest “secret side project” name the Foxboro Hot Tubs), one can only hear The Kinks' “Tired of Waiting for You” through and through, from the rhythm guitars down to the way Billie Joe sings the song. Instantly likable by Kinks fans, but positively copped from the source material.
"Sally" – Stop Drop and Roll!!!
Again, another completely ripped-off tune (this time the Hot Tubs sound like Strawberry Alarm Clock a la “Incense and Peppermints”) that manages to hit the intended target upon first listen. Although I'm not sure if this stuff is supposed to be completely enjoyable, or is just an exercise in “bringing the classics” to the Y generation.
"27th Ave. Shuffle" – Stop Drop and Roll!!!
In a sentence, “Run Run Run” by the Who, redone. There's nothing else to say. I predict this project will be a one-off. Amen.