September 12, 2002

Test Spin: Green Day

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Come on Billie! I know the jackasses at Gilman Street (the club where Green Day began) don’t like you, but no need to forget the punk ethic altogether. Following last year’s useless best-of International Superhits, we get Shenanigans — a regular-priced compilation of imports, b-sides, covers, and throwaways. This is the type of release that bands should give away for free to their fanclub members. It doesn’t cost anything extra to record and most B-sides are B-sides for a reason. Green Day write consistently great power-pop but they are still a singles band, their songs are good but when you get to “When I Come Around” (oh I was young once too) the stakes are upped.

The songs that make up Shenanigans are the ones that would precede or follow the single on an actual album. Spanning the Dookie-Warning era, the album tracks minor changes in the band’s sound. “Suffocate” and “Desensitize” are faster and less guitar charged, akin to Nimrod’s “Nice Guys Finish Last.” “I Want To Be On T.V.” sounds strangely like Youth Brigade. The rest, well, it sounds like Green Day doing what they do better than most.

Two covers round out the disc. Ramones’ “Outsider” is average, but the Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting For You” is excellent. Instead of speeding it up, as punk bands are wont to do, they retain the song’s charming mellowness.