Ranking My Top Ten Favorite Green Day Songs

I remember in 2015, my sister shared a post about the Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins having a Back to the Future themed game. She tagged me and wanted to know why we couldn’t have been in Florida at the time. I commented and asked her why we couldn’t have been in California during Labor Day weekend. The reason I wanted to know that was because Green Day was doing a live performance in Oakland.I have been wanting to see them ever since, and hopefully I will get the chance next summer. Here are my top ten favorite songs from the group.

#10: Welcome To Paradise. I fondly remember listening to this song on a frequent basis my freshman year of college. Just thinking about that song makes me want to start an air guitar competition. The bass solo that’s played in the middle of the song is absolutely electrifying. The vocals are absolutely powerful. I like to think of this song as the anthem to the spring semester of my first year of college. The message I get from the lyrics is that the song is about making your way by yourself in the world. I think that the reason I resonated so hard with this song is because I had a major coming of age when I graduated high school and began attending college. I have had many coming of age moments since, from getting a university job to earning my sociology degree. 

#9: 21 Guns. This is such a melancholy-filled song, but so well composed and recorded. This was one of the first Green Day songs that got me into liking the band. There’s something about this song that resonates with me and my mental health concerns. I suffer from severe depression, and some of these lyrics resonate with what it’s like to struggle with the issue. For some strange reason, I kept thinking that the Fall Out Boy song My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark was partially to the tune of that song. Same thing for the hit Jesse McCartney song Beautiful Soul. I think the reason for that is because I find the instrumentals very powerful. This is a well-composed song, in my opinion.

#8: When I Come Around. I really like the songs from the albums Green Day released in the 1990s. I really like the guitar riff that is almost completely consistent throughout the song. It’s very well composed. Something else I really like is all the rhyming all throughout the verses and the chorus. The writing and composition are high quality in this song. It’s a good balance of punk music and relaxing music, in my opinion.

See the Light by Green Day - Songfacts
The lyrics to the Green Day song See The Light (Credit: Songfacts)

#7: 21st Century Breakdown. This feels like a politically charged song version of a reality show. What I really love is just how quickly the music escalates. At the beginning, it’s at a normal level of intensity. After the second chorus, the base gets more intense. It’s the kind of song where you would whip out your car keys and use them as a guitar pick for an air guitar in public and not feel an ounce of shame at the end of the day. I love the bit of radio static at the end. It’s as if Green Day is doing my political ranting for me.

#6: Basket Case. Yet another song that’s worthy of playing an air guitar in public. This song describes what it’s like to live with an anxiety disorder. I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder myself, and this song is extremely accurate. I love how the first line is, “Do you have the time to listen to me whine about nothing and everything all at once?” Not only do I have time to listen to Green Day whine, I appreciate every moment of it. I love the excellent drumming in this song. A song that is both relatable and well-composed? Sign me up!

#5: Wake Me Up When September Ends. This is a very well-composed, well-written, well-recorded, and heartbreaking song. When I first began listening to this song, I cried when I would hear it. I could feel my heart breaking for the lead singer, whose late father this song is in memory of. I have dealt with a lot of tragedies, and some of these tragedies I still grieve to this day. Listening to this song really helps me feel like I’m not alone and that I can feel someone grieve along with me.

WATCH: Green Day's “American Girls” Video | SPIN
Green Day performing the official music video for Last Of The American Girls (Credit: Spin)

#4: American Idiot. I could be angry enough to where I want to cry, then I listen to this song and I have a significant mood improvement. Green Day are not playing around in this song. They are ready to release some intense political energy. They do a good job with the potent instrumental and the choice lyrics. The reason I love this song is because it feels like the band is expressing my angry thoughts and feelings for me. Knowing that someone has the feelings I do really helps me feel better.

T-#1: Still Breathing. This song is beyond amazing. I love how this song relates to my life. I hear a lot about desperate situations and what it feels like to struggle with anxiety.Not only have I been diagnosed with anxiety and depression, but I have been diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Some days, I feel like I’m just clinging on for dear life. This song describes what it’s like to struggle with three mental health issues all at once. In addition, I really like the bass in the song.

T-#1: See The Light. This song feels like a crossover between 21st Century Breakdown and the hit AC/DC song You Shook Me All Night Long. I remember walking on campus on a cloudy morning on the second day of school during the fall semester of my third year in college. I was listening to that song and I really loved the experience. Quickly the song became the anthem of that semester. I really love the composition and the intense bass. This song is also the anthem of me liking the Oakland Athletics. This song is the one I have used for my symbolic walk-up song for the team since 2018, and they have performed well ever since. I’m not saying it’s a good omen, but it’s a good omen.

American Idiot - Wikipedia
The album cover for the Green Day album American Idiot (Credit: Wikipedia)

T-#1: Last Of The American Girls. I cannot get enough of this song. I literally listened to it almost every single day during the fall semester of my last year of college. I actually mentally choreographed a dance to the bridge a couple of years ago. The person Green Day are describing sounds like a powerful human who lives, eats, sleeps, drinks, and breathes awesomeness. I’m considering making this my symbolic walk up songs for one of my favorite baseball teams next year because that’s how much I enjoy the bass and the lyrics of the song. 21st Century Breakdown is a very brutally underrated album, in my opinion. This is my favorite song off that album, and that album is my favorite album.

HONORABLE MENTION: Youngblood. Can you say, punk rock love ballad? This song is dedicated to the lead singer’s wife. In fact, this is about when they first met. You can tell that she’s the love of his life. My heart, y’all. I can’t take it.

HONORABLE MENTION: Know Your Enemy. I listened to this song often whilst writing a movie review for a political science class. The mood was just beyond perfect for that song. I love the instrumental in the middle of the song is just worthy of headbanging to. Interestingly enough, it was one of the songs I considered listening to at an April 2016 blood draw.The main reason for that is because of the line, “When the blood’s been sacrificed.” All in all,it’s a good song to listen to when doing political science homework and also for when you want a really good song to listen to.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jesus Of Suburbia. I saw someone on YouTube say that this song is a punk rock version of Bohemian Rhapsody. I’d have to agree. I cannot get enough of this amazing song. Some of my favorite lines include, “To live, and not to breathe, is to die in tragedy,” “And there’s nothing wrong with me, this is how I’m supposed to be in a land of make believe that don’t believe in me,” and “I don’t care if you don’t care.” It’s literally some of the best nine minutes on this side of the asteroid belt. Trust me.

What is your favorite punk rock song and why? Let me know in the comments below.





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