There’s been a billion lists lately regaling the musical best of the decade, the worst of it, and everything else in between. Rolling Stone readers of their “Rock and Roll Daily” recently placed Green Day’s 2000 album Warning on its list of the Top 20 Most Underrated Albums of the Decade, coming in at #17. I first listened to Warning this year and there is a great part of me that wishes I had heard its musical battle cry to arms at the dawning of the new century. The early part of the decade for me was full of anger and bitterness over our political system and I didn’t have any music in my life at the time to sustain me through the turmoil and the political transition of Presidents Clinton to Bush. I’ve written a bit about “Macy’s Day Parade” (a thoroughly depressing song for me, unlike for some people) and Warning here before, if you’d like to read it.
Mary P. posted a Youtube video link of a performance by Green Day of “Waiting,” a song that I would pull teeth to hear Green Day sing live… hey guys… next year on tour, pretty please… with cheeries on top?? This is from a performance at the California Music Awards, though I don’t know what year they played the awards:
“Waiting” – California Music Awards – Green Day – Year Unknown
CoS – Consequence of Sound, has named Green Day “Band of the Decade.” And of course, if you read the comments over there from the lame-assed whiners pouting that “Green Day sucks,” wwwaaahhhaah, I would just recommend that you, as a reader, laugh it off and know that your favorite band, Green Day, is the Band of the Decade. From the moment that the year 2000 hit (Warning), to the middle point of the decade (American Idiot), right until the very end of this most tumultuous and stomach-churning new century (21st Century Breakdown), Green Day has been there for YOU, the fan, the most important entity in the world to them (Ok, besides their family and friends, but still, you know what I mean). And I don’t even have to mention those other extracurricular bands that have fueled them in between this decade’s albums. If, of course, those bands were “really Green Day.” I still don’t believe it! LOL.
Even from my point of view in hindsight, they seem to “do what they want to do when others do what they are told.” Not what the music industry tells them, not MTV, but their dedication seems to be to the music that they want to play. Or as CoS says, “They are what they’ve always been: three guys with a sense of melody.” Yes, sure, it’s gotten bigger and bolder and the marketing has kicked into hyperdrive lately that I’ve noticed (how many songs can they stick into movies these days, really?), but on the whole, the boys keep it real, particularly in concert where they are throwing a giant party and inviting you to join in.
I’ve written before about how Green Day fans have to put up with all kinds of crap about being Green Day fans, and what I always come down to is this: “we don’t care what anyone says bad about Green Day.” So take their mealy-mouth whining with a grain of salt – take it like a man – and read why Consequence of Sound says that Green Day is the Band of the Decade. And don’t forget to go and watch the videos that they have included in their commentary. And if you decide to add a comment, just remember, YOU know that CoS is right. (Thanks, Sharon, for the link!)
2000’s Warning may be the most underrated album of the decade. For one, everybody remembers it, but not until you remind them. It was swept under. The band opted for acoustics, the fan base opted out. But at its heart, it’s the band’s most decisive record in their discography, as it’s the first time they truly carved something different. Warning hardly screamed, but when it did, it wasn’t an angsty wail, it felt… mature. The mud-chucking Armstrong sounded more like John Lennon than Jesse Michaels (or Paul Westerberg) and both Dirnt and Cool spent the extra time to bring in some extra fills and key changes. Songs like “Warning”, “Waiting”, and the magnum opus “Minority” spoke different tongues, and while some fans “got it”, the album plummeted in sales, despite the broad critical support. This led to the release of a greatest hits compilation, which is just a sign that the label needs more money, the awkward Pop Disaster Tour, where the three opened for Blink-182, and even discussions about splitting up the band.
But here’s where things get interesting. Armstrong, Dirnt, and Cool pushed forward, recording the long delayed follow up, Cigarettes and Valentines. Call it fate, call it a draw of luck, or call it a brilliant restart, but the tapes were stolen, and the album was eventually canceled. Shoot to 2004, the music industry receives its most iconic concept album since Radiohead’s OK Computer. It’s called American Idiot, and while it doesn’t take off immediately, it goes on to be the band’s most successful album since 1994’s Dookie. The band’s back. Radio stations of every genre play “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” ad infinitum, the American Idiot tour sells out everywhere, and by 2005, the album snags a Grammy for Best Rock Album (not counting the four other nominations, which includes Best Album). The biggest surprise? Armstrong’s a house hold name, a modern rock hero to new generations.
No, if the band’s taught us anything this year, it’s that they’re just a straight up, honest-to-god rock band with little to no pretensions. What else do they have to be? Not punk rockers. After all, they told the punk genre to fuck off back when “Basket Case” hit MTV in the summer of 1994, and by the time they squeezed out “Nice Guys Finish Last”, anyone still snubbing them were yesterday’s news. They are what they’ve always been: three guys with a sense of melody. It’s that same mentality that put The Beatles on the proverbial rock ‘n’ roll pedestal, it’s that sort of attitude that draws crowds of every age, demographic, and nationality. What’s more, they love their fans. Since the early ’00s, their shows attempt to incorporate older and younger audiences in any way or form possible; either through singing along, pulling tykes on-stage for support, or passing out guitars to prospective rock ‘n’ roll heroes to come. That’s why the idea of Harmonix working with the guys for an incarnation of Rock Band isn’t surprising in the slightest. In fact, it was probably just another way they wanted to reach out to kids — because really, it’s doubtful they’re in it for the money (if they ever were in the first place).
At the end of the day, they just know what it’s like to be a band. God, do we even remember what a band is anymore? One downside of this decade has been everyone’s incessant need to find some obscure act we have no idea about (and the internet’s made that easy for everyone to do, of course). Well, Green Day has always been the opposite. They want to be a band for everybody. This past July, we wrote about their time in Chicago, concluding, “Risky or not, Green Day continues to tear the house walls down, pillar by pillar and generation after generation.” This statement says it all. They’re a party that will never slow down, that will take each hurdle with the smartest consideration, and they will never tire. But don’t worry, you can always join in on the fun. They sort of pride themselves on having an open-door policy.
News via GDA, Mary P., Sharon M.