The following list is not to imply that Green Day has only three great songs. They have a long list of brilliance (“Basket Case,” Longview,” “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” and “American Idiot,” to name a few) but the following three songs stand above the rest.
Over the course of their career Green Day has been called Punk Rock (bit of a stretch), Pop Punk (little closer), Alt. Rock and Power Pop. These songs clearly encapsulate the band’s musical and lyrical ethos.
The fourth single from Green Day’s third album and major label debut, “Dookie,” was inspired by a woman.
Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the infectious riff-based track about being away from his girlfriend (and future wife Adrienne) and the frustrations they both felt when he was on the road.
In the song, Armstrong finds it difficult to maintain a long-distance relationship while touring but assures his girlfriend that when he “comes around” the lost time will be made up.
Like “When I Come Around” this song was a result of a relationship. Here it’s a relationship breakdown. Armstrong’s girlfriend had moved to Ecuador. He was angry over the relocation and the song was intended as a kiss-off (“Good Riddance”).
However, the acoustic track became a staple at proms where graduating students identified with the evocative lyrics.
“The people that you grew up and braved the trials of high school with will always hold a special place,” offered Armstrong. “Through all the BS of high school you hope that your friends had the time of their life, and that’s what the song is talking about”.
Bassist Mike Dirnt said the song was probably the “most Punk” thing they could have done.
The slashing, abrasive song was released as the third single from Green Day’s seventh studio album, “American Idiot.”
The confrontational line ” I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies” implies a refusal to believe the deceptions and misrepresentations proffered by the government and media.
The chorus’s refrain “This is our lives on holiday” was intended to reflect the average American’s apathy toward the issues of the day.
Armstrong has said the song is “not anti-American, it’s anti-war (Iraq, Afghanistan). And he characterized it as an outspoken “fuck you” to then-President George W. Bush.
Green Day has won five Grammy Awards: Best Alternative Album for “Dookie,” Best Rock Album for “American Idiot,” Record of the Year for “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, Best Rock Album for a second time for “21st Century Breakdown” and Best Musical Show Album for “American Idiot: The Original Broadway Cast Recording.”