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  • Kaleb Crowhurst

Top Ten Green Day Songs

This weekend on 92.9, we are bringing you the Top 10 Songs from Green Day! From the heights of grunge in the 90s, a resurgence in the early 00s through to being inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame – Green Day have been one of the biggest bands of the last 30 years. But, what is their GREATEST song?!


10.

Know Your Enemy

21st Century Breakdown (2009)

Singer Billie Joe Armstrong said about this rock number: "It's a rallying song. It's about liberating yourself from a lot of bulls--- that you see on TV."

This was the lead single from the 21st Century Breakdown album.

This entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #40, earning Green Day the highest debut of their chart career. The rock band's previous best arrival was the #53 bow of "Working Class Hero" in 2007.


9.

Warning

Warning (2000)

This song is about how rules are made to be broken and warnings can be ignored. You live your own life, you make your own choices. Says bass player Mike Dirnt: "You gotta make your own decisions and choices. It's not so much about what to think, it's just to think. Question everything."


8.

Holiday

American Idiot (2004)

This is about the American government and society during the Iraqi War. It begins by commenting on how the thousands of dead Americans and Iraqis are nameless to the average American citizen. The song expresses resentment with the corporate greed and corruption involved in the "rebuilding" effort, and shows how the average protester realizes that the pro-war money involved has more power than they can ever have.

This is often considered an anti-American song, but on Green Day's Bullet In A Bible DVD, Armstrong says, "This song is not anti-American, its anti-war."


7.

The Saints Are Coming

U218 Singles (2006)

This is a cover version of a song by the Scottish band The Skids from their album Scared to Dance (1979). September 25, 2006 at the Louisiana Superdome, when Green Day and U2 performed together at a New Orleans Saints football team pregame. The song was recorded to support Music Rising, an organization that helps return music programs to New Orleans, and helps musicians replace the instruments they lost to Hurricane Katrina.


6.

21 Guns

21st Century Breakdown (2009)

This song addresses the topic of patriotism. Frontman and chief songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong said in May 2009: "It brings up 21st Century Breakdown in a lot of ways, and the 21 gun-salute for someone that's fallen, but done in an arena rock 'n' roll sort of way." Marc Webb (Maroon 5, My Chemical Romance) directed the music video, which features a fugitive bank-robbing couple holed up in a room with Green Day lyrics scrawled on the walls. To stage the shoot-out, a thousand tiny explosives called squibs were embedded in the walls and furniture to mimic gunfire


5.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

American Idiot (2004)

Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong wrote this song about his father, who died of cancer on September 1, 1982. At his father's funeral, Billie cried, ran home and locked himself in his room. When his mother got home and knocked on the door to Billie's room, Billie simply said, "Wake me up when September ends," hence the title.

The line "seven years has gone so fast" is a reference to how Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt's band Sweet Children (which would morph into Green Day), was formed seven years after Armstrong's father died.

"20 years has gone so fast" represents the time from his father's death to when Billie Joe wrote the song.


4.

When I Come Around

Dookie (1994)

A track from Green Day's first major-label album, "When I Come Around" is a very personal song lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong wrote about being away from his girlfriend, Adrienne Nesser, and the frustrations they both felt when he was on the road. Billie Joe met Adrienne in 1990 when Green Day performed in Minnesota, where she lived. He was just 18, and found it difficult to maintain a long distance relationship, especially with his touring schedule. In this song, he affirms his devotion for her, assuring her that when he does get to see her (when he "comes around") he will make it up to her.

When performing this song at Woodstock '94, a fan threw a clump of mud onstage and Billie Joe stuck it in his mouth. This caused the fans to keep throwing mud and started the infamous mud fight. A security guard (in a rush to get fans off of the stage) accidentally slammed bassist Mike Dirnt into an amplifier, causing him injuries to his arm and three of his teeth.


3.

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

American Idiot (2004)

This song is about estrangement and the recognition that the American Dream can let you down. The singer's hopes have been crushed, and he finds himself very much alone. This follows the main character from Green Day's song "Jesus Of Suburbia." He leaves town, has one crazy first night and now it's kind of like the hangover. He's just walking, thinking about whether it was the right decision leaving where he used to live.

This won a Grammy for Record Of The Year.

In Rolling Stone's Decade-End Readers' Poll, this song was voted the Best Single of the '00s. Green Day proved they are the band of choice amongst Rolling Stone readers by also grabbing the #1 spot for Best Album (American Idiot) and being named Top Artist of the Decade.


2.

Good Riddance (Time of your life)

Nimrod (1997)

Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong wrote this when his girlfriend moved to Ecuador. He tried to be levelheaded about it, but to show his anger, he named the song "Good Riddance" and made "Time Of Your Life" the subtitle. This was written as an acoustic song to distinguish it from the heavily produced rock music that was popular in the '90s. Armstrong recalled in a 2010 interview: "That was really the first time we attempted a ballad. The first time we ever played that song was during an encore in New Jersey - I had to pound a beer backstage to get up the courage. I knew we were gonna take a tomato to the face."

This won for Best Alternative Video at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards.


1.

American Idiot

American Idiot (2004)

The title refers to the state of the United States at that point in time. It speaks of a nation controlled by the new, biased media, and how the singer is not part of a "Redneck Agenda" discontent with how things are going. Green Day performed this at the 2005 Grammy awards, where the album won for Best Rock Album. This is one of three Green Day songs that is also the name of the album it comes from. Green Day had to start the album over from scratch after the masters for around 20 songs were stolen from the studio. "We had completely finished these songs, and we were getting ready to mix them," Billie Joe Armstrong explained to MTV. "We walked out of the studio and came back the next day, and all of the masters had been stolen … but [American Idiot] was about making mistakes and fixing them."