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Day - Warning

In light of Green Day's recent commercial revivial, I thought it necessary to review the album which led up to this year's best pop-punk faux-operatic album (a highly contested category, I'm sure). In the year 2000, Green Day was suffering from a situation which plauges every sucessful band at least once in their career: They ran out of ideas. Most likely under obligation to fulfill their agreement with the record company for a set amount of albums, they released an album that would define their place in the annals of mediocre radio-punk. So sucessful was Warning, the band soon followed it up with Shenannigans, an album full of subpar album-padding which was bad by even Green Day's standards. But we're getting ahead of ourselves, so let's get down to the tracks themselves before I change my mind and do something productive.

1) Warning

This is the track which sets the pace for the entire album, by which I mean it's bland and derivative. With lyrics ripped straight from a heavy-machinery manual mixed with unenthusiastic angst, Warning has all of the social relevance of a MAD magazine cover. Scholarly prose such as "Caution, police line, you better not cross," makes you wonder why I went to college to become a writer when shit like this sells. I swear you can hear Billie Joe yawning towards the middle of the track. I've heard Depeche Mode singles with more get-up-and]go than this crap. This first track is reason enough to put the CD back on the shelf. However, I'm not going down that easy, so let's continue.

2) Blood, Sex and Booze

In case anyone was wondering when Green Day was going to slip in the S&M-flavored song for this particular album, wait no further. On past albums, the band has had enough taste to hide the S&M song between slabs of filler, but on Warning, Green Day puts it right up front for everyone to see...er, hear. After the monotone lullaby that was Warning, BSB is almost a welcome sound to bored ears. Almost. BSB is one of the highlights of this album, if only because it doesn't partake in the shoegazing of the coming tracks. I'm almost sorry it had to be on this record; It would have done well as another filler song on Nimrod.

3) Church on Sunday

The spiritual successor to Time Of Your Life, CS is yet another stab at the mainstream by a band sliping off the edge of the stage of relevance. Unfortunately for the band, however, there was no final episode to a long-running sitcom in which to promote this single, and it consequentially failed. CS is a song about growing up and accepting compromise, which is ironic when you consider that the band is currently dressing up in black suits, red ties, and mascara in order to appeal to the much younger Good Charlotte crowd. Green Day is this generation's answer to U2, in that they're still putting out albums, people are still buying them, and no one knows exactly why. Anyway, back on topic, Church on Sunday is unremarkable.

4) Fashion Victim

Oh, how quaint, a song about the futility of brand-name fashion! I'm so glad Green Day covered this topic at long last, seeing as no one else ever has. Ball-busting sarcasm aside, FV is a by-the-numbers Green Day song: bouncy guitar, competent drums, non-existent bass, and uninteligible lyrics. By the way, has anyone ever figured out why Billie Joe sings with some sort of half-cocked Cockney accent when he hails from SoCal? Nonetheless, this is two unremarkable songs in a row, so let's see if we can go for three.

5) Castaway

Castaway is probably my favorite track on the album, which is like saying that I prefer to be kicked in the nuts by a girl in flip-flops. It's no Longview, but Castaway is a bright spot in the middle of this sleepfest. The lyrics aren't half-bad (they're not all-bad either, smartass) and bassist Mike Dirnt makes a cameo appearance towards the tail-end of the song. If Warning was the handful of sleeping pills meant to release the album from this cruel world, Castaway is the sudden wake in the hospital bed in which you realize, if only temporarily, that this album might be alright after all. If only Green Day could keep up the energy of this track, they'd have enough steam to plow through another 15-20 minutes of B-Side fodder.

6) Misery

Those of you who first became familiar with Green Day from American Idiot will probably testify to the band's ability to tell a relavent story with their music. Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but they weren't always that good at it, and Misery is proof. Misery is roughly 2 minutes of 'story' slowed down to take up 5-and-change on the disc. The lyrics themselves are wrought with archaic slang and only the vaguest metephors a high-school English class could ever produce. It's the mark of a great band when you listen to a song multiple times to understand an underlying meaning to the lyrics; It's the mark of an untalented group when you have to listen to a song multiple times just to figure out what in the fuck they're talking about. Needless to say, the momentum from Castaway meets Velcro tape here.

7) Deadbeat Holiday

Here's another example of that good band/bad band analogy I made in the last section. DH is full of metephors so fucking vague, I'm not entirely convinced that they're metaphors at all. I'm of the opinion that the band is simply filling in space between hamfisted political commentary. Here's the first measure, for your perusal:

"Wake up, The house is on fire

And the cat's caught in the dryer

Philiosophy's a liar when

Your home is your headstone

"Icon" is the last chance for hope

When there's no such thing as heroes

Your faith lies in the ditch that

You dug yourself in."

I'd go through the process of disecting these lyrics line-by-line, but I'd rather not waste my sanity and your time doing so. Suffice to say, there's probably a message somewhere in there, but by this point the average listener has either turned the stereo off, fallen asleep, or skipped ahead to the next track. I'd like to take that last option.

8) Hold On

I swear Green Day stole the intro to this goth-chick anthem from Maynard's Dick. You know, the Tool song. Listen to both and tell me it isn't a sped-up version of Maynard's Dick. Anyway, this song is yet another track placed on the album to keep Church on Sunday from running head-first into Minority. It's mercyfully short, so I won't spend anymore time reviewing it than you would/should listening to it.

9) Jackass

Up goes the tempo again, as Green Day desperately tries to keep a two-finger hold on their punk cred with a half-hearted ode to someone who annoys them. Or something. Honestly, at this point I'm just glad they're done with the fucking metaphors, if only until the next song. Jackass would have been an alright song if only it hadn't appeared on this alt-rock mishmash and had been given a proper injection of attitude from a circa-1995 Green Day. As is, it's presented with warm tones and a saxaphone. Pretty neato.

10) Waiting

You might recognize this pop tune from any number of movie trailers or MTV commercials from the period in which this album was released. It's a song about waiting for...something. I'm going to assume that since this is pop-punk, they're waiting for a girl, or for Hot Topic to open, or some shit. I wish I could figure out just what the hell half of the songs on this damn disc are about. Anyway, I guess the whole waiting theme is appropriate, considering most people would simply wait through this song in order to get to...

11) Minority

Hooo boy, this one's a real stinker. Here's a song about non-conformity, sung by a band which will do anything in their power to conform to trends. As if that weren't enough, the lyrics read like something written by a distressed 15-year old with a loose grip on the English language and a looser grip on reality. Example:

"I pledge allegiance to the underworld

one nation under dog

there of which I stand alone

a face in the crowd

unsung, against the mold

without a doubt.

singled out

the only way I know"

One nation under...dog? Please tell me Billie Joe fucked up when he wrote this down, then fucked up again when he sang it, then fucked up yet again when he allowed these lyrics to be printed in the liner notes. And why are we pledging allegiance to anything, let alone the Underworld (omg goth), in a song about non-conformity? And here's another slab of pork fat:

"One light, one mind

flashing in the dark

blinded by the silence of a thousand broken hearts

"for crying out loud" she screamed unto me

a free for all

fuck 'em all

"you are your own sight"

So, can anyone explain how you scream something 'unto' someone else? Does this involve some sort of apparatus in which the screamer hangs upside down above the screamee, screaming all the while? And just what in Green Hell does "you are your own sight" mean? Was there some sort of contest on MTV where one lucky contestant got to write the next Green Day single? Did anyone run the spellchecker on this? Who cares, let's get the last track over with so I can go get a drink or a thesaurus, or something.

12) Macy's Day Parade

Green Day decided to wrap up this godforsaken mess with another anti-consumerism tune, and a semi-acoustic one at that. Listen guys, if you happen to be reading this, you lost your right to lecture the rest of us on materialism when you decided to start selling T-shirts, bumper stickers, lunch boxes, ring tones, condoms, blank CDs, and all of that other bullshit you're been pushing since you sold out to Reprise back in 1994. If you want someone to blame for the American way of life, look in the fucking mirror. Your ballads against the establishment will fall on deaf ears, since all of the people who believe in individualism have long since stopped going to your shows and buying your rubbish. The best thing Green Day ever did was release American Idiot shirts, so that all of the mallcore brats can walk around with a big fucking label to tell the rest of the world just exactly what they are.

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