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The Monday Meh! – Green Day

Green DayAmerica, wonderful country that it is, has a habit of not always appreciating things which originated outwith its own borders. It’s the reason Americans don’t revere football the way the rest of the world does. You are unlikely to find a good chippy in downtown Des Moines. And as for socialism? Christ, you’d meet less resistance when introducing heroin to a nunnery than Obama is encountering in trying to sell the concept of universal healthcare.

This extends into music. Americans have always had a warped relationship with what we may still quaintly call Punk Rock. Ignoring their own rich legacy (Stooges, Ramones, Húsker Dú et al) and the initial London boom which first gained attention, they have often gone for the Mohawks, spitting and safety pins cartoon image. The gauche political posturing has often gone hand in hand with big shorts and even bigger choruses. It’s appeared, at times, that some of the bands believed that fusing a Sid Vicious attitude with the music of REO Speedwagon was a winning formula.

To be fair, for many it has been exactly that. Inescapably awful bands like The Offspring sold millions of albums and were as punk as the Andrex puppy after a stroke. But the spiritual godfathers of the whole thing were Green Day. As a simplistic rockish pop band, they were quite loveable in their own way. They lacked the humour and arch warmth of the Ramones, but early albums like ‘Dookie’ and ‘Geek Stink Breath’ set the template; blasts of big chord, post-Gen X pop with solipsistic lyrics aimed at the generation who bought too many shoes. Indeed, Green Day seemed almost transient. By the late 90’s, despite releasing probably their most mature album in ‘Warning’, they were looked on as being somewhat over. They looked as of-the-decade as combat trousers and Sunny D.

Yet, Lazarus-like, they popped up in 2004 with an album which tapped into the anti-Bush feeling prevalent amongst any right-thinking individual. ‘American Idiot’ was everywhere – a generation of kids too young to have been buying records when ‘Basket Case’ came out were suddenly going to see them in stadiums. That the album contained lyrics which would shame even the most self-absorbed fourth-year schoolchild was ignored; that the ballads were sugarier and hammier than a dongle after dipping it in a pound of granulated was not a handicap. They are now proper massive. Fair play.

Green Day are the most deserving recipient of the Monday Meh! in its short life, because they aren’t bad; they just aren’t any good either. They churn out 3 minute pop with an ostensibly political message as efficiently as Ikea knock out flatpack furniture. They are no more or less punk than McFly and they are getting a little too old to dress in the emo outfits. But they are essentially inoffensive. They will rock on and out with the longevity of Status Quo, and probably with the same vigour. Like soap operas and the poor, they will always be with us.

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4 Responses

  1. The problem for them as with all bands is what do they do if they split? Stack shelves? So bands just keep going….and going….and going….

  2. I think it’s more likely they’d sit aound on piles of money with many beautiful ladies.

  3. So why not do it then?!

    I suppose I meant more in general terms…not just bands who are millionaires.

  4. Green Day are so rich they could buy Europe. They aren’t doing it for money any more.

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