Pandemic Playlist: Top 5 Green Day songs are a celebration of the Pride-friendly band's enduring hits
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In celebration of June being Pride Month 2020, we're taking a look back at some of the iconic singers who have endeared and entrenched themselves with the often marginalized LGBTQIA+ community. Today, we're checking out songs from the celebrated pop-punk band Green Day, whose singer Billie Joe Armstrong has admitted to being bisexual in the past. He once stated in 1995, "I think I've always been bisexual. I mean, it's something that I've always been interested in. I think people are born bisexual, and it's just that our parents and society kind of veer us off into this feeling of 'Oh, I can't.' They say it's taboo. It's ingrained in our heads that it's bad, when it's not bad at all. It's a very beautiful thing."
The singer also told Rolling Stone in 2014 that a lot of the songs on Green Day's classic 'Dookie' album touched on bisexuality. Referring to the song 'Coming Clean', Armstrong stated, "It was a song about questioning myself. There are these other feelings you may have about the same sex, the opposite sex, especially being in Berkeley and San Francisco then. People are acting out what they're feeling: gay, bisexual, transgender, whatever. And that opens up something in society that becomes more acceptable. Now we have gay marriage becoming recognized... I think it's a process of discovery. I was willing to try anything." So in celebration of these pride-friendly rockers, let's take a look at some of their enduring hits.
Pandemic Playlist - Green Day Edition
This was the song that kicked it all off for Green Day and cemented their status as punk supremos of the mainstream music scene. Released as the second single from their seminal 1994 album, 'Dookie', this pop-punk classic about mental health reigned supreme at the top of Billboard's Alternative Songs chart for a total of five weeks. Vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong revealed that the song was about his struggles with anxiety. Although he was diagnosed with a panic disorder many years later, the singer thought he was going crazy at the time. He admitted, "The only way I could know what the hell was going on was to write a song about it." We're really glad he did, because every guitarist who ever learned a power chord went on to play this angsty beauty throughout the '90s.
'Boulevard of Broken Dreams'
One of the biggest hits from Green Day's multi-platinum-selling 2004 album 'American Idiot', the song 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' was hailed as an instant classic as soon as it released. The signature song is known for its bleak themes and iconic tremolo-heavy intro, with lyrics that touch on loneliness and emotional isolation. "My shadow's the only one that walks beside me / My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating / Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me / Till then I walk alone." The song immediately struck a chord with Green Day fans, and went on to sell over 5 million copies worldwide. The song's memorable music video was also a smash hit, going on to clock over 422 million views at last count.
'Wake Me Up When September Ends'
This moving and sentimental song from the iconic 2004 album 'American Idiot' was written about Billie Joe Armstrong's father, who passed away when the singer was just 10 years old. The therapeutic release of this touching fan-favorite was also impeccably timed, considering it was dedicated to the victims of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005, as well as those affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The music video depicts a couple torn apart by the horrors of the Iraq War under the George W. Bush regime, serving as a potent reminder of loss and heartbreak. The lyrics of the bittersweet ballad go - "As my memory rests / But never forgets what I lost / Wake me up when September ends." This beautiful track was certified platinum and went on to peak at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
Another iconic Green Day song that revels in patriotic themes, this track was released as the second single from the band's 2009 album, '21st Century Breakdown'. The song's title alludes to the 21-gun salute often reserved for military honors or state funerals. Talking about the song, Armstrong said, "It brings up '21st Century Breakdown' in a lot of ways, and the 21-gun salute for someone that's fallen, but done in an arena rock 'n' roll sort of way." The pointed lyrics of this emotive number seemingly touch on the ravages of war, with lines like "Do you know what's worth fighting for / When it's not worth dying for? / Does it take your breath away /And you feel yourself suffocating? / Does the pain weigh out the pride?" The song eventually peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart, and the music video remains one of Green Day's most massive hits, with over 279 million views.
'Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)'
Let's close out this Green Day playlist with another treasured song that's been played by every aspiring guitarist since the turn of the millennium. First released as the second single from their 1997 album 'Nimrod', this sentimental track went on to sell over 2.6 million copies in the United States alone, and was also certified platinum in the United Kingdom. Although initially conceived as a "goodbye and good riddance" track for Armstrong's ex-girlfriend following her departure from the United States for Ecuador, the nostalgic song's themes about remembering the good times in life soon made it a hit at prom dances and farewell ceremonies across the country. It's also been used to close out plenty of Green Day concerts, with fans often heard chanting "It's something unpredictable, but in the end it's right / I hope you had the time of your life."
Pandemic Playlist is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained instead of feeling drained while you're isolated at home. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!