Green Day

Green Day

They’ve been together for over two decades, and show no signs of slowing down. The punk roots of their songs have faded over the years, but they’ve still put out some incredible songs. After a lot of deliberation, we’ve narrowed it down to ten songs spanning most of their records. It does miss off some of the bigger singles, because Green Day have got some real gems hidden in their back catalogue.

10. ‘Murder City’

Taken from their most recent album 21st Century Breakdown, ‘Murder City’ isn’t the most ambitious song Green Day recorded in the previous decade, but it’s infectious. The power chord-driven, muted verses leading into the big chorus is more akin to their older style. The lyrics have their roots in punk ideals, a tale of revolution holding this pop-punk onslaught together nicely.

9. ‘Longview’

Making this a bit more single-heavy, this song had to be included. Not only did it mention previously taboo activities on the radio, it was just immediately relatable to teenagers everywhere. Capturing the boredom and repetitiveness of being stuck at home, it became almost an anthem for a teen generation, and has remained a live favourite at Green Day shows for the last 15 years.

8. ‘Letterbomb’

By far the heaviest track on 2004’s American Idiot, Billie Joe Armstrong has said it’s his favourite song from the album. Well, ours too! This is just pure energy from star to finish, with some great lyrics. Starting with a poor quality vocal line of “Nobody likes you, everyone left you. They’re all out without you, having fun”, it launches into a comment on apathy, questioning “where have all the riots gone”? It’s Billie Joe’s favourite track for a reason: it’s bloody brilliant, simple.

7. ‘King For A Day’

Wrongly classed as ska, this is basically punk with brass. There aren’t any guitar upstrokes, so it can’t really be described as ska. What it can be described as is a brilliantly catchy tune. It’s upbeat, and brass in punk is always welcome.

6. ‘Misery’

Although Warning as an album wasn’t received all that well by the paying public, it’s got some of Green Day’s best work across its track listing. Trading in teenage angst-ridden lyrics for a more accessible sound with some acoustic guitars, it still had a lot of bite and shock-value, as this song shows. The lyrics are dark, littered with innuendo and backed by some great upstroke guitar playing. It’s an experimental track that worked, but sadly didn’t even get much of an airing live.

5. ‘Basket Case’

A prototype for pop-punk for years to come, this is one of Green Day’s biggest hits, and sent them headfirst into the mainstream rock scene. It’s their best known song, but it’s stood the test of time and still sounds fresh and exciting. Simple and to the point, it’s everything punk should be, with an added layer considering it’s about Billie Joe’s history of panic attacks.

4. ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’

As much as Green Day’s lesser known tracks are hidden gems, their big hits are successful for a reason. ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’ is a beautiful song that deserves to be as well known as it is. No, it’s not adventurous or groundbreaking, but it’s relatable and deep in its simplicity.

3. ‘Christie Road’

A lot of Green Day’s earlier stuff is forgotten or not known by newer fans, which is understandable. However, it’s almost refreshing that they’ve started included ‘Christie Road’ occasionally in their sets. It’s a track any teenager can relate to, about needing your own space. However, it’s also a track about the place Green Day would go to get high when they were in their teens. It’s a great punk rock track that, whilst simple, has familiarity that carries it and makes it seem special.

2. ‘Waiting’

A classic Green Day track, it was a great single from a commercially unsuccessful album. As such, it’s kind of faded from set-lists, although has got the odd live outing during the 21st Century Breakdown World Tour. It’s catchy, and features as close to a guitar solo as you’ll get with pre-American Idiot Green Day. ‘Waiting’ is just an epic track, different enough from the pop-punk style of old-school Green Day to stand out as something special.

1. ‘When I Come Around’

Arguably the best riff the band have ever written, it’s topping our list of the best songs they’ve ever recorded. The lyrics are actually relatable and well-crafted, and the riff holds it together brilliantly. The chorus is simple but catchy, like the solo towards the end. It’s such a simple song that becomes a sum of its parts, and Green Day are yet to match it’s combination of riffs, bass-lines, drums, melody and lyrics.

 Female First - Alistair McGeorge