Has Green Day Become The Punkier U2?

1/12/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Jessica Bender

There is a reason why I don’t listen to the radio that much. Aside from not having a means of listening most of the time, the few occasions where I do have access leave me disappointed. The pop stations play the worst selection of the Black Eyed Peas and Taylor Swift, the classic rock stations loop the same Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd songs once every three hours, and I don’t even go near the rap stations. The two selections I listen to, the two that I can tolerate, are my college radio stations (which plays an eclectic mix of indie rock and Irish bagpipes) and New York’s best rock station, 101.9 RXP. While fairly new, RXP has been an above-average replacement for famed K-Rock, and has a great mix of classic and newish rock.

Anyway, I was in the car today in front of suburban haven BJ’s when Green Day’s “She” blared from my car speakers. As probably the least-known single off 1994’s "Dookie," it’s a decent-but-forgettable tune about a feminist girlfriend. Still, hearing “She” was a breath of fresh air from Green Day’s singles from the past five years. I know I’m in the minority for this, but I sort of despised everything that came from "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown." In a sense, Green Day became the punk rock U2 in my head.

If you’re just a casual listener to both Green Day and U2, you’re not going to hear the similarities between the two bands. They also look nothing alike, so they don’t match up visually, either (unless if Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong adopted Bono’s tinted sunglass look). However, dive a bit deeper and both are taking similar paths.

Let’s begin in 2004. Both Green Day and U2 release “concept” albums, respectively "American Idiot" and "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb." While Green Day had a more blatant theme of problems in Americana in songs such as “Jesus in Suburbia” and “Letterbomb,” Bono and company were vaster in topic discussion, ranging from developing countries in “Crumbs From Your Table” to universal harmony in “Love and Peace Or Else” to death in “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own.” As if either Green Day or U2 didn’t say everything they wanted, both released albums in 2009, "21st Century Breakdown" and "No Line on the Horizon." While "21st Century Breakdown" continued on making rock operas, U2 began introducing characters in "No Line." Both get political and personal, and they make the critics and the audiences go wild. To add to this excitement, both bands collaborated on the benefit single “The Saints Are Coming.” America sure loved that move.

As a personal preference, all of the material that has come out of these albums is bland VH1 fodder. Green Day and U2 had major breakthroughs with their earlier material, and that’s the material that inspire millions and influences musicians to go that extra mile. The albums that both bands have released this decade may be considered masterpieces at this immediate moment for some, but I don’t get it. I doubt that they’ll be considered as influential as time goes on.

Now, I wish that Green Day doesn’t continue on a socially aware path. I realize that they have to mature as time goes on, but they lose their hyperactive hostility that I have grown up with and loved. I’m sure a few other fans feel the way I do, but they’re losing the parts that have made them so great and memorable over these years. Hey, maybe Billie Joe should put on Bono’s sunglasses. He could see the world through his rose-tinted eyes and see that only one front man should take the job as the industry’s voice on social issues.

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  1. Misscrabbypants said...

    Okay, no. Green Day can always aspire to be the best band in the world. Hope.
    I am a U2 fan. I have listened to Green Day. I don't see the similarity. I shall endeavor to take a listen once again.