Armatage Shanks
Brat
Stuck With Me
Geek Stink Breath
No Pride
Bab's Uvula Who?
86
Panic Song
Stuart and the Ave
Brain Stew / Jaded
Westbound Sign
Tight Wad Hill
Walking Contradiction

Green Day Insomniac Album Review
by Harry Boast - harryboast@btinternet.com

Armatage Shanks

A good, exciting opener to the album and sets the pace for the rest of the album. There is a fantastic drum opening to the song. The vocals are typical Green Day but at the same time contain some unexpected parts such as the ‘whoa oh’ which occurs just after the second chorus. Green Day avoided doing this sort of thing in Dookie and so spell out their intention immediately that they want to make an album different to Dookie. The bass carries on where it left of from Dookie at a very high standard. The guitar is nothing new but at the same time is just as exciting as any other Green Day song and just as clever. Overall, a very good opener to the album.

Brat

A very good, short but fast paced song. ‘Brat’ is about a whining teenager fed up of waiting for his inheritance. Billie Joe’s vocals are very hard and meaningful. The lyrics are sung in a way that sounds like he’s literally just having a go. The bass is brilliant and fantastically well timed. A good song to listen to loudly, if you feel angry at your parents, or just angry in general.

Stuck With Me

This song is one of the highlights of the album. Fantastically fast paced right from the off. It is about Billie Joe adjusting to life among a higher social class and how doesn’t feel part of it, hence the lines ‘Cast Out – Buried in a hole, Struck down – forcing me to fall’. The riff is very clever. The song opens brilliantly going straight into the main riff where you can pick up the pace very quickly. It also has a bass solo worthy of being in the same sentence to that of ‘Welcome to Paradise’ which, if you’ve heard, says it all. Drums are again at a high standard and resemble the anger of the song very well, particularly during the bass solo.

Geek Stink Breath

A very good song and well placed within the album. The start of the song up to the end of the second chorus is fairly laid back. This is resembled by the lyrics with everything being so clear, for example ‘Im on a mission, I made my decision’. As the song goes on everything becomes more confusing to the point where it almost has an explosion and erupts into a frenzy of confusion. The guitar opening and ending is clever to cut out the bass and drums to give a sense of opening and closure the song. However the bass and drums are mediocre but at the same time they don’t really have a chance to shine. Overall, though an extremely good and catchy song.

No Pride

Another angry song in the album. The song could be described as a ‘filler’ in the album however this would not mean it is a track to skip. Very simple riff played at a furious pace once again resembles fury within the lyrics. This song highlights a gift that Billie Joe has to take an extremely simple guitar riff and make it exciting. Bass and drums aren’t as present as in ‘Brat’ or ‘Stuck with Me’ but at the same time are still playing at a high standard.

Bab’s Uvula Who?

One of my personal favourites from the album. One of the best guitar/bass intros on the album. Fantastic ‘stop/go’ guitar riff ensure the start of the song remain fairly slow paced. The song contains a lot of attention to detail, such as the small pick slide just before each chorus. After the second chorus the song explodes, in a similar way to ‘Geek Stink Breath’, to pick up the pace of the and really helps it avoid being boring, which it could have if it stayed with the same riff all the way through. Overall a very clever song in which every instrument used fits in perfectly.

86

A truly angry song from start to finish. This is about Billie Joe’s rejection from his original fans after he ‘sold out’. He is very clever with the lyrics. He talks about his experience from the point of view of the person telling him to go away or **** off, if you will. The guitar riff is again very simple but sounds very good as is the bass. The drums are also played at a very high standard with a very good opening, similar to ‘Armatage Shanks’. It also contains a fantastic bass interlude where both guitar and drums cut off for just a second to a beautifully sounding bass riff. A very good song.

Panic Song

A different song to anything Green Day has ever done before. The song might as well be described as instrumental as the first two minutes are just a slow build up of first bass then drums then the guitar builds up to point of the vocals. Very clever song and shows the progress the band has made musically since Dookie. Personally I felt it would have been better to keep it instrumental because it sounded like a panic song anyway which probably would have got them greater recognition for it. Beautiful attention to detail in the song with the small pick slides just before the guitar enters. Overall, a very good song to listen to.

Stuart and the Avenue

This song is probably my favourite on the album. It owes much of that down to the utterly brilliant bass opening. The guitar riff is fast and furious, like many of the other songs. The lyrics are very good, more so with the chorus with the final line providing good sense of closure. The guitar fits in very well in the interlude with also good drumming and a very good outro. Brilliant song.

Brain Stew

This is the best known song to come out from the album; ‘Brain Stew’ is a very clever song. With the riff being so simple it does have the chance of being boring but makes up for it in the chorus. The lyrics fit perfectly within the song with the guitar riff giving a sense of being in a wasteland and with the lyrics reinforcing this it makes it a very meaningful song. Some complain that it is a boring song but I think that it wouldn’t have the same meaning if it wasn’t. The highlight of the song is Billie Joe’s vocals which are very good and are on they’re on their best form in the album.

Jaded

This song is basically Brain Stew’s alter ego, shorter and much faster paced. It is really the after effects of what Billie Joe has just been through in ‘Brain Stew’. The guitar is very fast and the bass and drums follow suit with the guitar shining more in this song than in any other. It has a very punk chorus with a message, i.e. ‘Always move forward – going straight will get you nowhere’. Overall a very clever song to follow ‘Brain Stew’ and very much feels like it’s a part of ‘Brain Stew’. At its core ‘Jaded’ is a fast a d furious punk anthem.

Westbound Sign

A cool song about Billie Joe’s wife coming to live with him. Billie Joe uses a similar guitar riff for songs such as ‘No Pride’; however I think this song is cleverer by where it places it riffs. The main riff is very catchy and it clever when it switches between one riff and another. The guitar is better than the bass on this song despite the bass maintaining a high standard. The guitar riff just after the interlude on its own is a highlight of the song and almost makes it more exciting only to leave you wanting more by finishing – very clever.

Tight Wad Hill

Another fast and furious song from start to finish, almost like a much fast version of ‘No Pride’. Drums are the highlight of this song with some lovely drumming at the end of the chorus. The lyrics are also very good with a very catchy chorus. The guitar is also good in this with the bass probably at the weakest point in the entire album but still has some nice touches in the background. Overall, a good Green Day song that maintains the main themes of the album.

Walking Contradiction

One of the singles from the album ‘Walking Contradiction’ is very cleverly worked on guitar using the same chord triangle all the way through using only different strumming patterns. It is a different song to anything else on the album which makes it unique although still containing a similar theme through the lyrics. Bass is very good during the verses with some nicely timed touches. The drums also have a nice intro with the guitar and bass. Basically this song complements each instrument as they all give strong performances. A very good end to a very good album.

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