If you’re just joining us, check out the About This Project link for details. Basically, I make playlists of all the singles by certain musical artists and then try to order them using the guiding principle “do I like each song more than the last song.” I define “single” in a broad enough way to include any song that was released as a purchasable single in any format in any country; as a promotional single in any country; as a video; or generally any song that I know charted anywhere. My main sources are Wikipedia (mostly reliable) and Discogs (reasonably reliable). I welcome editing feedback since sometimes I favor speed over spelling.
Just some housekeeping -as you may have noticed, I’m going to be alternating entries for INXS with entries for Green Day for a few weeks. I’m still going to use the “Coming Soon” comments for the next entry in each individual band’s list.
I realized that I’ve not linked band homepages and fan pages in a while. Green Day’s homepage is promoting their God’s Favorite Band collection. They’re starting to work on some new music so that will change in the near future. As far as fan sites go, the ultimate one is Green Day Authority (where I’ve lurked but not participated since 2003 or so. If you want to see the list of their actual single releases without the promos, mock-ups, etc. that I include, Green Day Authority’s list is pretty definitive.
Moving on to the next chunk of the list…
60. Teenagers From Mars
(Artist: The Network)
Every now and then, you just miss a band’s entire output. I’ve missed The Misfits’ entire output. I’m not proud, but I have to say that since I’m not really more than passingly familiar with the original version of “Teenagers from Mars,” I can’t really compare it to the cover by Green Day side-project, The Network. It’s a fairly catchy standard rock song with 50’s sci-fi inspired lyrics. They play it well but it’s not like I especially seek it out.
59. Christie Road
“Mock-Up” single of a song originally from Kerplunk (1991), mock-up released in 2012
Kerplunk had no singles, yet here we are. In 2009, the band released a boxed set of vinyl singles titled Green Day: Ultimate Collectors (enjoy this unboxing video) and a “mock-up” single of “Christie Road” was pressed for that occasion. “Christie Road” is an early turning point on this list because it usually takes a bunch more songs before I say “everything from this point on is essentially pretty good,” yet here we are. Green Day’s second album (and final album before their major label deal and the first with drummer Tre Cool) is an above average record by a band who are in the midst of discovering their sound (listen to the Kerplunk version of “Welcome to Paradise” to hear what I mean). “Christie Road” falls into the pop song tradition of tracks like “In My Room” by the Beach Boys – it’s a song about a place Billie Joe Armstrong can go when he’s feeling alienated and lonely (both themes that he’d continue to explore on future songs).
Promo single from Insomniac (1995), released as a single in 1995
I don’t think these songs have anything to do with each other, but I hear a little bit of Rancid’s “Ruby Soho” in the bass work for “86.” I’m not accusing either band of anything – I just head a little similarity. “86” is almost certainly a song about Green Day being 86’s from the 924 Gilman street punk club for signing to a major label. I have evolving feelings about the idea of selling out, but ultimately I think you can make great music either on or off a major label. Furthermore, I think selling out (like “art for arts sake”) is a phrase used often to enforce a kind of classist “you have to be wealthy to be an artist because you shouldn’t make any money being an artist” attitude. That’s the simplified version. Anyhow, Green Day couldn’t return to that club, but they’ve been playing huge venues and making a living doing what they love so, ultimately, I can’t imagine they lose much sleep over the situation. The song is rather good but I just like virtually every other single by Green Day a little (or a lot) better.
57. Stay The Night
Music video from ¡Uno! (2012), released in 2012
Reprise Records promoted the heck out of ¡Uno! when it was released. There were four conventional singles, one promotional singles and two videos for songs that were not released as official singles. This song is the latter. “Stay the Night” opens with a chiming guitar before settling into a classic Green Day pop/punk groove. It comes across as a slightly more optimistic song if you ignore the parts of the lyrics where Billie Joe Armstrong confirms that the relation is not likely to work. None the less, he really wants the person he’s singing to to stay the night with him.
56. Poprocks & Coke
First single from International Superhits! (2001), released as a single in 2001
I’m on record as feeling dubious about new songs being included on Greatest Hits packages. If “Poprocks and Coke” had been a song on any other album, it probably wouldn’t have been released as a single. That’s not to say it’s not an enjoyable song,just that Green Day turns out enjoyable pop punk the way rabbits churn out kits. Calling this song a greatest hit before it had a chance to prove if it was a hit or not was kind of a leap of faith and now everyone who bought that record has to either pretend this song is as good as their classics or wrestle with whether it even belongs in their library. I like the repetition of “I’ll be there” and also appreciate that this is genuinely a positive tune, perhaps about childhood friendship (which draws an image of the longtime friendship between Armstrong and Dirnt to my mind). Nice little pop tune,but a greatest hit.
55. Stray Heart
First single from ¡Dos! (2012), released as a single in 2012
There a little touch of Motown to Mike Dirnt’s bass work on “Stray Heart” – I almost hear “You Can’t Hurry Love” – and I mean that as a compliment. In the aggregate, I really like ¡Dos! and think the garage rock influenced songs are relatively fun and messy (in a good way). I have my suspicions about why the albums wasn’t promoted as aggressively as ¡Uno! (Armstrong was going through a health issue at the time) and wonder which other tracks they’d have picked as singles if they’d had the chance (almost certainly this one, though I wonder if they’d have edited it for airplay). I promise I’m not just ranking the optimistic songs lower on the list, but this one is also a very positive love song. If you’ve not listened to the ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! trilogy and you’re even a slight fan of the band, you owe it to yourself to find the collection and listen to it a bunch. It’s really quite good.
54. Prosthetic Head
Promo singles from Nimrod (1997), released as a single in 1998
This is already the third song from Nimrod on this list, which is kind of surprising to me because I dig the album. There are, of course, more songs from the album coming up in higher ranks than this. “Prosthetic Head” has everything I typically like in a Green Day song – hook filled chorus and verses, excellent rhythm work from Dirnt and Cool, and some classic soft/loud guitar work. I really genuinely enjoy it when I’m listening to it but can’t quite remember it after. I didn’t feel I could rank a song that I can’t remember higher than this no matter how much I like it (and I’m listening to it again and thinking “this is pretty awesome”).
53. Mother Mary
(Artist: Foxboro Hot Tubs)
From the Foxboro Hot Tubs’ Stop Drop and Roll!!! (2008), released as a single in 2008
The Foxboro Hot Tubs are another Green Day side project featuring the three core members of the band, Green Day touring guitarist Jason White, multi-instrumentalist Jason Freese and guitarist Kevin Preston. Focusing on a more garage rock sound, The Foxboro Hot Tubs are a pretty fine combo. They have yet to release an official second album, though the Green Day album ¡Dos! is sometimes referred to unofficially as their sophomore effort. “Mother Mary” was the first single and most successful song. I absolutely love the chorus but could take or leave the verses. That chorus though, friend, is something special.
52. Nuclear Family
Promo single from ¡Uno! (2012), released as a single in 2012
Yet another song from ¡Uno!. I’ve ranked this song all over this list during my evaluation process. It’s been top 20, it’s been bottom 10 and now it’s kind of settled here. The lyrics of “Nuclear Family” seem to be on the theme of “let’s live it up before we all die,” a time honored rock theme to be sure. Ultimately, this is just a good, solid Green Day song.
Single from Angus: Music from the Motion Picture (1995), released as a single in 1995
“J.A.R.” is a song of mourning, written by Mike Dirnt (hence, perhaps, the terrific bass work that opens the tune) for his friend, Jason Andrew Relva (the titular “J.A.R.”). Dirnt reflects on his own mortality and concludes he needs to live life to the fullest, the way Relva did. It’s a pretty deep subject, even for a 1995 punk-pop tune. This song got a ton of airplay on Oahu thanks to the late, lamented Radio Free Hawari. At the time, I couldn’t quite figure out how to find a copy of this song. Turns out there was a movie called Angus and this single was on the soundtrack to that movie. I thought I was pretty up on pop culture at the time, but clearly 1995 was when I started missing major pop culture milestones and also Angus.
Coming Soon: Two of their earliest, two of their latest