Music

Green Day: Warning

Charlotte Robinson

Real old school punks know that punk is about following your own path, and that's just what Green Day are doing.


Green Day

Warning

Label: Reprise
US Release Date: 2000-10-03
UK Release Date: 2000-10-02
Amazon
iTunes

Poor Green Day. There are a lot of so-called punks out there who are going to cry "sell out" no matter what the band does. Living up to everyone's definition of a "punk" band is virtually impossible, but Green Day are at a special disadvantage by now. With major-label platinum albums under their belts, boasting a singer who is a married father with a well-fed physique, Green Day can hardly pretend they are lean and hungry youths anymore.

On Warning, their first album in three years, they've dropped the charade altogether and bravely embraced the pop bent that has always been a part of their sound. From the opening bars of the title track, it is obvious that this is not the Green Day that most listeners expect. Instead of opening with an adrenaline-pumped rocker, Green Day begin their first album of the new millennium with a sober, mid-tempo pop song. Its melodic, mellow bass line sounds like the Kinks' "Picture Book," and for the first time, Green Day display a Ray Davies-like fascination with the tricks of the trade, worrying more about songcraft, arrangement, and production than volume.

This shouldn't come as a total surprise to those who have been paying attention. After all, Green Day's last album, Nimrod, often strayed from the three-minute-rocker formula, most notably on the hit ballad "Time of Your Life." Green Day push the envelope even further on Warning, incorporating strings, harmonica, and saxophone into their sound. They slip up every now and then -- the music-hall ditty "Misery" is overly kitschy and the wailing sax on "Jackass" seems forced -- but most of Warning sounds surprisingly organic.

As the lyricist on all but one track, Billie Joe Armstrong displays a fair amount of tenderness and vulnerability, such as when he sings in "Hold On": "When you lost all hope and excuses / And the cheapskates and the losers / Nothing's left to cling to / You got to hold on to yourself." On "Waiting," he nearly drowns in dewy-eyed optimism: "I've been waiting a lifetime / For this moment to come / I'm destined for anything at all."

Of course, this is still Green Day and Billie Joe is still Billie Joe, no matter how many kids he has. There is still plenty of smart-ass rebelliousness in this music, as evidenced when Billie Joe rails against authority in "Warning," conformity in "Minority," and materialism in "Fashion Victim." There's even a little S&M thrown into "Blood, Sex and Booze" for good measure.

Old fans who would have enjoyed such messages in the past might not like them packaged with such clean music, but they'd be missing the point. Real old school punks know that punk is about following your own path, and that's just what Green Day are doing.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image