Release Year: 1991
This is an album that I didn’t always like when I first got into Green Day, but as I’ve gotten older I have come to the realization that it is a great album. It may not be my favorite Green Day record, but it’s not bad like I once thought it was. This isn’t their first album, but rather a combination of their first album (39/Smooth) and two EPs (Slappy and 1,000 Hours).
The album opens with the awesome track “At the Library.” There’s this dirty, rough sounding riff that opens the track and is then followed by a young Billie Joe singing “Hey there looking at me…” We then get on the fast track with the next song “Don’t Leave Me.” This has a seemingly simple, speeding guitar riff playing throughout the song, which shows Billie’s talented guitar playing.
Just about all of the songs are loud and fast, but we do get a break with the track “Rest.” This may not be the greatest slow Green Day track, but it’s pretty good for being on a first album. There’s some interesting singing from Billie and Mike along with some hypnotic guitar playing. I love it when they shout out “Angel!” It’s a bit unexpected and sort of reminds me of something that would be in a doo-wop song. This song shows how the band is capable of stepping away from the fast paced songs and is able to slow it down, but can still not lose their sound.
This album also shows how the band were already pretty well established songwriters. Sure, a lot of the tracks deal with girls or lack there of, but there are other songs that deal with the pain of getting older and rejection. It shows that even for their young age, the boys were thinking about more than just girls and teen angst.
Just as with most debut albums, this one is not perfect. For one, this album has nineteen tracks and it gets to the point where there are so many songs that some of the other songs get overlooked. Some songs seem to have trouble standing out from others. It’s not that these songs are bad. They might sound similar to other tracks on the album that they blend together a bit.
While this album doesn’t really stray away from what the band would do later in their career there are some slight differences. The biggest one being Billie is more experimental with his singing. You can hear this the most in “Paper Lanterns” and “Rest.” You can still hear Billie’s infamous fake British accent while he’s singing, but the singing is different, as if he was trying to figure out which style he likes best. And while the guitar work isn’t as elaborate as it is in their later stuff, you can still hear some fancy guitar work in the track “409 in Your Coffee Maker.” The mini solo in the track is just amazing and it’s short enough to not grow tiring or repetitive. There’s also another great solo in “Only of You.”
The songs may not have as much energy as the band’s later work, but it’s still a pretty good album and I give it 8/10. All of the songs are catchy (just like most songs from the band ) and it definitely shows promise from the band. It may be difficult to get into when you first listen to it, but it’s one of those albums that the more you hear it, the more you fall in love with it.