This chart includes Green Day’s studio discography ranked according to its Spotify streams. American Idiot is topping the list, while their first to releases prove to be not that relevant today.
*Source: Spotify streaming volume date information taken on July 13, 2020.
Green Day: The trio consists of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool. They are a well-known Californian punk band with quite some good hits on their music portfolio. But how popular are they today? Here are we will try to shed some light on this question.
Green Day´s most popular albums
To begin with, I shall comment on Green Day’s two most important records: American Idiot from 2004 and Dookie from 1994.
In 2004, Green Day managed to reinvent themselves with a rock opera based record called American Idiot. Previous to this, the band had lost relevance in the music industry, especially after the release of the average-sounding and dull album, Warning in 2000. Even though I am not a big American Idiot fan, this album must be credited as the one that put Green Day again on the map. It remains the band’s most popular work to date.
In the second place of this graphic, we have Dookie. This album meant Green Day’s jump to the mainstream music scene, with megahits like When I Come Around, Basket Case, Longview and She. This LP sounds a lot more polished than the previous two Green Day productions, Smooth (1990) and Kerplunk from 1991. This is due to the production work of Rob Cavallo, who knew how to refine the band’s sound in order to leave the underground Lookout Records era behind and embrace a new era of worldwide success with Reprise Records (Warner).
In the third place, we have 21st Century Breakdown, an album that did well in terms of album sales and popularity, mainly to the comeback effect generated by its predecessor, the aforementioned American Idiot.
An important album like Nimrod (1997), is at the 4th position on this chart. Leveraged by the acoustic single Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), it also includes relevant songs such as Hitchin’ a Ride, Nice Guys Finish Last and others that open Green Day’s sound portfolio a little bit more.
Their best album at least for me, Insomniac (1995), is in sixth place. In short, more than I expected, given that it was not a major hit when it was released. It contains some good songs like Geek Stink Breath, Stuck With Me, Walking Contradiction and 86. With a less pop vibe than Dookie, it is a more powerful and direct-sounding record.
It is worth mentioning that they experimented under an alternative band name, Foxboro Hot Tubs. Could the project have spawned into the third wave of Green Day popularity? I think so: at least, at the time it sounded fresh and garage. Their only album under that moniker, Stop Drop and Roll !!! (2008), could have had more attention from the press and fans. But that did not happen.
Which are Green Day’s worst albums?
All this expressed above, leads me to talk about the worst Green Day albums: the trilogy of unnecessary albums, One !, Two! and ¡Tré !, all released in 2012. An ambitious project that lacks any kind of really creative output. Without any hits, without any relevance, and with a sound that lacks any appeal, this triad of albums has no purpose for its existence. With this kind of low-quality songs, they could not even have released a single disc of mediocre quality.
In fact, this trilogy sounds like a series of discards and attempts to emulate another of their weakest releases: Warning, published in 2000. Here, perhaps the excuse was an existential crisis, fatigue or lack of direction. But at least that bad situation led to American Idiot a few years later, which as previously said, it is their most popular record today.
In Warning the change in musical direction was substantial. Acoustic guitars were used prominently, although without too many ideas on how to use them. Also, around this time Billie Joe swapped his sticker-riddled classic Fender Stratocaster guitar for a Gibson Les Paul junior that has way less attack distortion. Sounding a lot weaker, Green Day did not know what to do.
And at the bottom of this chart we find Father of All …, released previously to the pandemic, in 2020. A bad record. A risky one, but a also bad one: it features falsettos and pop choruses. Guitar rhythms are worthy of a bad Guitar Hero game version. At least, I expect it to be more popular than the trilogy, but there will be not much merit for that.
Top 10: Green Day most-streamed songs on Spotify
- Basket Case (Dookie) 448,536,015
- American Idiot (American Idiot) 388,664,050
- Wake Me Up When September Ends (American Idiot) 343,044,869
- Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) (Nimrod) 301,180,221
- 21 Guns (21st Century Breakdown) 287,453,786
- Holiday (American Idiot) 232,492,435
- Boulevard of Broken Dreams (American Idiot) 228,190,128
- When I Come Around (Dookie) 209,093,431
- Jesus of Suburbia (American Idiot) 91,875,279
- Welcome to Paradise (Dookie) 84,647,401