Green Day - God’s Favourite Band album review

Concise career ‘best of’ collection from the kings of pop-punk

Cover art for Green Day - God’s Favourite Band album

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The arguments over what is and isn’t punk have raged for as long as the genre has existed. They might share a common ancestry, but Green Day bear as much resemblance to the politically charged, $8-a-show likes of Fugazi as a chihuahua does to a wolf. Green Day’s brand of punk has, from day one, harboured capitalist ambitions of fame and fortune, stadium shows and high-return royalty payments. And, fair play to them, they’ve succeeded to a degree that they themselves probably couldn’t have envisioned. This new ‘best of’ collection unveils the secret of their success in very simple terms: they’ve written some blinding songs in their time.

From the irresistible bouncing bass of early smash Longview, the sarcasm and snotty self-loathing of Basket Case – which defined Generation X ennui with laser precision – to the move towards more considered acoustic, string-laden pop with Good Riddance and the political and social fury of George W Bush-era American Idiot (ah, if only we had some inkling of the true horrors to come), they’ve soundtracked popular culture since breaking through with their major-label debut Dookie, the starting point of God’s Favourite Band’s tracklist, in 1994.

While it’s not all gold – Warning remains a dragging misstep that sticks out like a sore thumb among their greatest pop moments; and the ‘P’ word really is their greatest ally – they’ve never been afraid to celebrate the joys of pop, the fizzy highs of a singalong chorus, the communal joy of a concert that throws in everything including the T-shirt cannon. While grunge was busy pretending fame was a curse, Green Day were embracing it and moulding themselves into the ultimate gateway band for rock fans to come – that you can go to one of their gigs now and see two or three generations of the same family singing their hearts out is a truly wonderful thing. And this collection of their biggest hits is the perfect introduction to the pre-teen budding rocker in your life.

For those already familiar with the tracks on God’s Favourite Band (which is probably most of us), there’s the new Back In The USA, a rollicking, all-American anthem stuffed with harmonies and all set to soundtrack the next big teen drama, and a new version of then gentle, Americana-tinged Ordinary World, now transformed into a tear-jerking duet with country singer Miranda Lambert. But that’s just garnish. Really, God’s Favourite Band is about the hits, the whole hits and nothing but the hits.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.