|Green Day - Warning|
|Music Disc Reviews Audio CD|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Tuesday, 03 October 2000|
If you are REALLY into punk rock, you are supposed to hate everything about Green Day. This punk/pop trio from the Northern California Bay Area crossed over to the mainstream so easily with their first major label release, Dookie, that it made punk purists sick to their stomachs. Almost all of Green Day’s songs are so ridiculously catchy that they have become favorites of both teenage girls and college frat boys - not very punk. Despite no longer having the street credibility they had back in 1991 with their album 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, Green Day is, for my money, the most listenable punk band out there today. Blink 182 is over-produced and Fugazi is too underground, but Green Day knows how to keep it simple, short and to the point. On Warning, their fourth album for Reprise Records, the band dishes out 12 new pop songs in typical Green Day fashion. Sure, lead singer Billy Joe Armstrong’s fake British accent can be a little whiny at times, but on Warning, he nails some great vocal harmonies that might surprise his detractors.
The best track by far on the album is the title song "Warning" and this is exactly how a punk/pop album should start. This semi-acoustic track surprisingly rocks pretty damn hard and the layered vocals in the chorus make for such a big hook that this song should be a candidate for the album’s next single. Speaking of singles, the album’s leadoff single "Minority" is just a straightforward rock song that quickly became a track I found myself skipping after a few sessions of listening to the album all the way through. It’s not a bad song, but it seems to have already been played out in the few short weeks that it has been on the radio and on MTV.
The first five tracks on the album are quite good, but the album come to a little bump in the road with the Middle Eastern/polka song "Misery." Green Day doing gypsy music sounds interesting on paper, but it does not translate well on the album. Luckily, the album gets back on track and the rest of the songs are almost as solid as the first five. There is certainly something to be said for an album in this genre that has more than one or two good songs on it.
Many of the tracks on this album have an oldies feel to them with their own punk spin. The third track, "Church On Sunday," with its chorus, "If I promise to go to church on Sunday, Will you go with me on Friday night?", feels more like an episode of ‘Happy Days’ than a song written in the year 2000. Green Day throws a few more curve balls at the listeners that you don’t find on most punk/pop records. On the songs "Hold On" and "Minority," Billy Joe flexes his less-than-stellar harmonica chops, and the song "Jackass" features a saxophone solo so cheesy that it would have been right at home on a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band number.
Sonically, Warning is nothing to write home about. The production is minimal, as is the tendency with this type of music. The recording isn’t noisy or lo-fi, but this album will not be one that comes to mind when you think of the best-sounding pop records of 2000.
If you liked the music that Green Day has put out in the past, Warning offers more of the same fun, lighthearted pop punk, with a few bad words thrown in to keep the band from being considered complete punk sell-outs. If you still read Thrasher magazine and listen to Minor Threat, Bad Brains and Fugazi, then you’d best avoid Green Day’s Warning, because it’s not going to get the job done for you.