Green Day - Insomniac (Cover Artwork)

Green Day

Insomniac (1995)


Green Day were at the height of their fame in 1995. They had just become the biggest punk band ever. Grunge was on it's last leg. The corporate alternative Indie/college Rock wave was officially stopped by the punk revival. Warped tour had just been founded.

All the punk bands were still riding high from 94. Green Day was atop the charts with JAR and constantly touring everywhere. They were now the kings of hard rock at the moment and it was actaully quite a load to bear for ab and that started off at Gillman and playing basements.

It was actually a pretty crappy time for the band. The crowds got bigger, the shows got more intense and the pressure increased. Expectations were high for the next album. When Insomniac came out it hit 2 (The highest Green Day ever got) To some critics it was Dookie 2, others said it was an appropriate follow-up. The fans loved it.

What many don't know is Green Day was on the verge of breaking up in 1995. (The end of the Insomniac tour would even be cancelled due to physcial and mental exhasution months later) Billie Joe was actually sufffering Insomnia(hence the name) internal conflicts were building up in the band, and recent marriages were putting strain on the band and the popularity didn't help much.

It's pretty noticeable. If you look into the deeper meanings of the songs you'll notice there all angry, miserable lyrics about drugs, apathy, hate, and ill-feelings. BUT their packaged as nice sounding little anthems with catchy hooks, chugging riffs, and an upbeat sound. Many people didn't even notice the songs were so disenfranchised angstriden tunes until years later.

Only a few songs caught on with the general public. (Brain Stew and Walking Cntradiction were big hits) so a few hailed the album as a failure. It actually was a HUGE step lyrically for Green Day supassing the more of the bratty songs and cheesy pop tunes on earlier work.

Songs like "Panic Song" "Walking Contradiction" and "Jaded" look inside and give suprisingly ugly portraits of oneself. "86" and "Westbound sign" talk of past mistakes and how you can never go back.

Songs like "Brat" (I'll just wait for mom and dad to die and get my inheritance) and "Stuck With me" and "Babs uvula who?" lash out against others and taunt physical violence, while "Tight Wad Hill" and "Geek Stink Breath" tell stories of rotting junkies looking for a fix.

It doesn't lack on the catchy side, all of Green Day's musical trademarks are still there, as fast and catchy as ever. Many fans consider this the best of Green Days work(As do I) and I think this album and showed the steps of seriousness to their music. Though later work would even be more mature sounding.

With all said and done. Insomniac is a perfect testament of a band on the verge of breakdown, an album that can't be recreated, showing what fame actually will do to you. Listen to this before you peg Green Day as ungrateful millionaires that got the "Easy road." They paid their dues, and even after they got famous, they still didn't get it easy.