Alrighty, we’re back to the On Spec series! Let’s give ‘er!
On Spec 8: Green Day – Shenanigans
Yes, I say I bought this on spec because I go in and out of like and love with Green Day, so it wasn’t a shoe-in I was gonna dig this. Not to sound punker-than-thou (because who cares), this is just truth, but I generally like the earlier records better. Kerplunk!, 39/Smooth, Dookie, and Insomniac are essentials. After that, it’s tracks here and there, as somewhere in all of this (for me, anyway) they began calculating their sound instead of just being snotty assholes about it. Ach what am I saying, most of it is strong, anyway, so I’m just talking out of my ass.
So what do we have here? A collection of b-sides, covers, rarities and one unreleased track. Interesting. It could go either way – it could be awesome, or it could feel like a contractual obligation release of mediocre stuff that is a placeholder between studio albums. And the verdict? Find out in the In Sum, below!
Here’s a look at the tracks and whence they came:
Suffocate – Australian editions of Nimrod, 1997
Desensitized – Good Riddance, 1997, and Japanese & Australian editions of Nimrod
You Lied – Good Riddance and Australian editions of Nimrod
Outsider (written by Dee Dee Ramone; originally performed by the Ramones) – Warning, 2000
Don’t Wanna Fall in Love – Previously unreleased song from Dookie but later re-recorded as a b-side for Geek Stink Breath, 1995
Espionage (instrumental) – Hitchin’ a Ride, 1997 and the Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me soundtrack
I Want to Be on T.V. (written by Sam McBride, Tom Flynn; originally performed by Fang) – Geek Stink Breath, 1995, and Japanese editions of Insomniac, 1995
Scumbag (lyrics written by Mike Dirnt) – Warning, 2002 and the American Pie 2 soundtrack
Tired of Waiting for You (written by Ray Davies; originally performed by The Kinks) – Basket Case, 1994 and the Private Parts soundtrack, 1997
Sick of Me – Hitchin’ a Ride
Rotting – Good Riddance
Do Da Da – Brain Stew/Jaded, 1996, and Australian editions of Nimrod
On the Wagon – Basket Case, 1994
Ha Ha You’re Dead (lyrics written by Mike Dirnt) – previously unreleased
There was supposed to be one other Tré Cool-written track, D.U.I. (Driving Under The Influence) on here, but it got taken off for no given reason. It’s even painted over in the booklet. Thanks guys. I mean, how hard would it have been to include it? This disc has 14 tracks, sure, but for a total length of 33:23. You had a shit-ton of space! Alas.
Also, what about J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva)? That appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Angus, but who the fuck bought THAT? OK, I did at one point, but still. You should have included that track here too, boys!
Awesome! I honestly had so much fun listening to this. It’s because it has been so long since I played these guys, probably. This was just good clean Green Day fun. Yeah it sounds like them, you know what I mean. And that’s the point – crank it and have silly fun!
Here’s another one I rocked in the Man Cave this weekend…
Sunday Man Cave Series, Part 2
I’m probably losing cred here, but I love this album. I know people who have no time for Green Day at all. They say three chord pop punk is shite, and just bash it mercilessly. Me, I just listen and nod but don’t try to defend it. There’s no point, with those folks.
Listen closely, though, and hear how tight and cleverly-crafted it is.
I say it’s just unabashed, smartly-played fun, so crank it!
Yeah, OK. What can I say about this record that hasn’t already been said before? Not much. I had it long after I owned Kerplunk and 1,039/Slapped Out Happy Hours… it was a natural progression, for me. I’ve always loved the energy, here. Overplayed? Sure. Easily dismissed? Too much, so. Definitely.
Picture yourself in a little punk band, probably still practicing in a garage. You might play at the club occasionally. Your local following is solid but small. Imagine you only know a few chords, but you believe in yourselves and you have that brash, snotty angst that only painfully-young people can perfect. Now, take shitloads of major label money and cough up the most infectious, perfectly-formed hairball you can imagine… and you’ll get this record.
Every single song is a single, in and of itself. It’s all done to perfect effect, whether you write it off or not. Look… if you hate it, volume helps. Turn it the hell up and do your damndest to not tap your toes to any these tracks, if you’re so hardcore, you bastard. Bet you can’t do it.
Surely I don’t even need to mention song titles or go through every track like you haven’t heard it all a zillion times already. Yes, the hits are here. Yes, the songs that should have been hits are also here. And yes, you know all the words. The three-chord bratty brilliance is intact. The recording is unimpeachable. Does it stand up? Hell yes. History will prove that, for whatever its detractors may say about how this is the exact point where the band sold out, and for whatever half-baked political-rock opera Billy Joe farts out of his brain next, this particular record is a culmination of the band’s early sass and energy, a snapshot of a group (finally) fully realizing the simplicity of its hypnotic power… and then gleefully speeding everything up and saying fuck you to anyone who takes it too seriously with songs about masturbation and disillusionment.