Thursday, January 17, 2008

Defending the music XII: A Sentimental Journey into Sight and Sound

There aren't many bands who you can blame more for emo, than Green Day.

There are precious few bands that have made it further on as much lack of talent as Green Day... but, like the Clash (You knew I couldn't last much longer, could I? C'mon I narrowly avoided mentioning The Clash entirely in the OLP entry.), they honed their understanding of their abilities into increasingly adept incicive songwriting.

I was the demographic to blame for shooting Dookie to the top of the charts in 1994. It was hardly the paradigm setting moment it's since been hailed as when Mike Dirnt had his teeth fed to himself by a security guard at Woodstock '94 - if you actually watched the incident - well, you can't see it happen. Green Day's set was over, and the director cut to long-shots of the stage as the marauding fans rush the stage. However, the preceeding band incited mud-fight was great - harmless fun. The 'band violence' (I repeat: The mud-fight was harmless, and the punching actually had the band on the victim end.) helped catapult Green Day into the stratosphere. Oh yes, we were a disenfranchised lot, us Gen-X'ers. What's new? Every second wave of adolescents gets to be angry at the opulence of the intermediate generations... gawd, can I hardly wait for that phase to swing back around... perhaps kids will start re-fucking-cycling again! But I digress....

Yes, Dookie was a lot of fun. Revitalized punk - with harmonies! Who didn't get off screaming along with 'Basketcase's "Am I just paranoid or UHh-Muh-Glaaaaauuuh!" (Which, for the record, was actually "...or am I stoned?")

But then they had to go and write that fucking song.... You know the one. 'Good Riddance.' (Oh how I wish it appropriately WOULD go away.) Changes are you know the somg by it's refrain - "I hope you had the time of your life." Would someone please kill me if I ever have to hear that song again? And don't you DARE play that song at my funeral - which I think is the real problem with it. It went from release to overplay inside of three days. Okay, realistically, three months. (Okay, so there are occasional exceptions to the 'I will listen to anything they release' rule.) Until their most recent album, this has been the flagship song of their career - fuuuuuuck....

It took me a long time to let Green Day back in. In fact, they had to actually start channeling The Clash in order to do it. I don't really know what happened, but somewhere along the line Billy Joe Armstong quit acting upon kneejerk defiance and started speaking about real problems. "Warning," while just a warm-up to what was coming, is still my favourite Green Day disc. Their next album, "American Idiot" went for the throat. It was great. And somehow the Dixie Chicks took all the heat for pointing out what a mess the USA was.

Perhaps the most complete acknowledgement of their political validity was the release last year of a collaborative effort between Green Day and the band that has best mixed music and politics ever - U2; 'The Saints are Coming.' A pretty kick ass song to boot.

Oh... and final proof: The drummer's name - is Tre Cool. Literally.

No comments: