Green Day is my favorite band. It's no secret. Aside from The Libertines they're probably the ones who changed my life. Music has a way of connecting people, and the boys from Oakland, California have connected with millions. Here are 10 Green Day songs you should listen to if you're feeling a little bit lost, or like a total loser.
1. Lazy Bones / Dos
When Green Day's triple record: Uno, Dos Tre! came out, I was a sophomore in college. Things were changing. I was just starting to feel the weight of a heavy schedule and little sleep. I was discovering vices. I was having a hard time. This song spoke to me on a level I couldn't even begin to describe, but to put it lightly: it is a testament to loserdom. It takes you to that place where everything feels alien and nothing is normal. Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong went into rehab shortly after this record was released, and I believe this song is the reach for help. I listened to it during some of my darkest moments. It made me realize that I wasn't alone. Best Lyric: "I'm too mental to go crazy / I'm too drunk to be pure / and my mind is playing tricks on me / and I can't sleep tonight cause I'm so tired."
2. Give Me Novocaine / American Idiot
This entire album is legendary, but Give Me Novocaine in particular boils down that feeling of painful melancholy into one sublime track. You can listen to this song over and over if you're feeling a little out of place, and you're just looking for something to take you away from your own thoughts. For those of us who think too much, this feeling is familiar. We want nothing more than to escape. Best lyric: "Give me a long kiss goodnight and everything will be alright / tell me that I won't feel a thing."
3. Restless Heart Syndrome / 21st Century Breakdown
The descending chord progression in this song sets the mood for melancholy. It's a dreamy glam-rock track that, if you didn't keep up with Green Day's artistic progression, would shock the hell out of you. There are string swells, glossy vocals and seasoned guitar licks akin to "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". It's an essential rainy day listen, and if you're feeling off-kilter, like the world is falling down around you and nobody seems to understand...this track will make you realize that someone does. Best Lyric: "I feel like I've been Crucified to be satisfied."
4. Reject / Nimrod
Nimrod is one of those albums that sometimes gets lost in the Green Day shuffle. Although it's home to mega-hit "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)", it is so much more than that. This is the album where Green Day grew up. It has countless tracks that deal with that subject. Growing up is extremely hard, and Green Day never sugar coat. Reject is a track that you can scream when everyone is coming down on you for acting "childish" or "immature". It's all about bucking those people who ask you, "Where are you going to be in 10 years?" You know who you are. A fun fact about this track is that the band The All-American Rejects got their name from it. Best Lyric: "I do what I want / and you do what you're told."
5. Minority / Warning
To this day, this track is the battle cry for Green Day fans. People gravitate toward this band because they give you permission to be yourself. There are no apologies when you're a Green Day fan. "Minority" will pick you up if you're feeling a little left out. Who would want to be like everyone else anyway? Best Lyric: "One light / one mind flashing in the dark / blinded by the silence of a thousand broken hearts / for crying out loud / she screamed un to me / a free for all / fuck em all / you are your own sight."
6. Walking Contradiction / Insomniac
This album may seem like the middle child of the Green Day catalog, but I assure you it's anything but. Insomniac as a record stands out to me because of its blunt lyrics and often triple tracked guitars. It's heavier than most of their stuff. I named my first band after this track. Walking Contradiction is maximum Green Day in the sense that it's clever, blunt, angry and totally individual. This is the kind of song you scream alone in your room after your friends ditch you to hang out with someone you hate. Best Lyric: "Call it as I see it / Even if I was born deaf, blind and dumb."
7. Rusty James / Uno
This is quite possibly my favorite song from the Green Day trilogy. Picture this: you go back to your hometown, it's years later...maybe five or ten, removed from High school or college. And in the dust and ashes of places you used to hang out...you see an old friend. Someone you haven't spoken to or thought about in years. You see that they've aged. They haven't done much with their life. They work a dead end job and have two kids to support. They look so much colder than you once thought. Listen closely. This is that song. That experience. This is the ultimate ode to regret. It's perfect. Best Lyric: "When there's no one left around / and you're the last gang in town / and your heart can't even break / when it doesn't even pound."
8. Prosthetic Head / Nimrod
Another song that describes the hollow thoughts of thinking about the past is Prosthetic Head, the last track on 1997's Nimrod. Its a deep cut, the kind of song you'll miss if you're not a super-fan. Trust me, this is the song that will make you go, yeah...I know these people, and I hate them. It's the perfect mix of insulting and honest, amazing for those times you feel like you may have made a wrong turn here or there. Best Lyric: "All dressed up / red blooded a-mannequin / do or die / no reply / don't deny that you're synthetic / you're pathetic."
9. Christie Road / Kerplunk
Before Green Day was signed to Reprise records, they put out two studio albums on indie label Lookout! Records. One of those albums was Kerplunk, a group of ramshackle tunes you could listen to every day for the rest of your life. My favorite Green Day song of all time comes from this album. Christie Road is the track you hear in your head when you're unfortunate enough to be left alone with your own thoughts. the simplicity of the lyrics combined with a sing-song melody makes it an essential Green Day track, but more than that...it brings up that feeling you get when you're really home. When, if nothing else, you can turn around and see a familiar face. I haven't felt that in a long time, but this song brings me there. That place, where people know your name. Best Lyric: "Give me something to do to kill some time / take me to that place that I call home / take away the strains of being lonely / take me to the tracks at Christie Road."
10. X-Kid / Tre
If you're feeling the weight of getting older, this is the track for you. I was talking with my parents over FaceTime the other day, and something my mother said triggered my memory of this song. She said, "I'm in my 50's Tess, and I still don't know what I'm doing." Best lyric: "Hey little kid / did you wake up late one day / well you're not so young / but you're still dumb."
Being an adult doesn't mean you have all the answers. It just means that you're smart enough to know that the answers aren't worth looking for.
Being a loser is okay. Feeling like one is okay. You'll be okay.