Purists of the abyss, malcontent Sid Vicious nostalgics bitch that Green Day aren't orthodox punks. All right, just label the Berkeley, Calif., trio brilliant punkoids and be done with it. But it's useful to remember that before mythic Brits such as the Sex Pistols and the Clash spewed distorted guitar and anarchic politics, punk essentially was the Ramones that is, basically just the Beach Boys ultraloud and pissed off.
Joe, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool of Green Day render the spirit of (19)76 in crunchy pop-guitar hooks, trebly bass and madcap tempos. They're convincing mainly because they've got punk's snotty anti-values down cold: blame, self-pity, arrogant self-hatred, humor, narcissism, fun.
On rave-ups like "Basket Case," "Welcome to Paradise," "Having a Blast" and "Longview," Green Day's lyrics score graffiti hits: "I don't know you, but I think I hate you"; "She screams in silence"; "No time for motivation/Smoking my inspiration." And if for targets they substitute demonized moms and mall ennui for the jackboot brutality of the State, they render teenage wasteland politics with all the more accurate deadpan wit. (RS 698/699)