'Wake Me Up When September Ends'
This isn't about 9/11, but rather Armstrong's father, who passed away when the singer was just 10. Armstrong sings: "Like my father's come to pass / Twenty years has gone so fast / As my memory rests / But never forgets what I lost / Wake me up when September ends." The song's title was inspired after his father's funeral. Armstrong locked himself in his room and when his mom entered, he said: "Wake me up when September ends."
'Jesus of Suburbia'
Jesus of Suburbia is the fictional character off their 2005 album 'American Idiot.' A resident of the suburban town Jingletown, he is a victim of everything that is wrong in his life: a broken family, substance abuse of both TV and drugs, and unachievable dreams. The opening line says it all: "I'm the son of rage and love / The Jesus of Suburbia / The bible of none of the above / On a steady diet of Soda Pop and Ritalin." The nine-minute opera had to be cut down to six and-a-half minutes for radio airplay.
'Minority' was released as the first single on their 2000 album 'Warning,' the only Green Day album to not go platinum. The album diverged from the Green Day's typical punk rock sound by adding a bit of acoustic elements. The song is about learning to live your life as an individual: "Stepped out of the line / The sheep runs from the herd / Marching out of time / To my own beat now / The only way I know how."
This Green Day song was written to express their discontent with national affairs. Apparently Armstrong was inspired to write the number after hearing an overly patriotic Lynyrd Skynyrd tune. The song was released Sept. 14, 2004 -- just months shy of former President George W. Bush's re-election.
'Welcome to Paradise'
Ironically, it's anything but paradise. The song is about the band moving out of their parents for the first time, to live in a warehouse in Oakland for free with a mix of artists, musicians, drug addicts, and gang members. The song is featured on their 1992 'Dookie,' but was first released on their first full-length album 'Kerplunk.'
The medley is actually two songs: On the 1995 album 'Insomniac,' track 10 ('Brain Stew') transitions into track 11 ('Jaded') without the music stopping. Both songs were so popular, that many radio stations played it that way. The medley was later featured on their 2001 compilation album 'International Superhits!'
'When I Come Around'
When this Green Day song was released in 1994, off 'Dookie,' it was the highest peaking song until 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' broke its record nearly a decade later. Before the music video debuted, MTV aired a live performance of the song at the infamous 1994 Woodstock Festival.
'Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)'
Armstrong wrote this memorable acoustic number (featured on 1997's 'Nimrod') as a way of saying goodbye to his girlfriend who was moving to Ecuador. His recorded mistake (twice) in the beginning was left in the track as to provide comic relief to a song about a heart-rending break up.
'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams'
Told in Jesus of Suburbia's point of view, this ballad is the "hangover" to the party tune 'Holiday,' the band going as far as to film both videos as a continuous storyline. In the beginning of the music video, you can hear the last few seconds of 'Holiday' and see that they even featured the same car. 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams' scored them a Grammy for Record of the Year in 2006.
Or not basket case? Armstrong thought he was going crazy, but was later diagnosed with a panic disorder. So what did he do? He wrote about it as therapy, to help him cope with his anxiety: "Sometimes I give myself the creeps / Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me / It all keeps adding up / I think I'm cracking up / Am I just paranoid? / Am I just stoned?" One of the greatest punk rock tunes of our generation, this Green Day song earned them a Grammy nomination in 1995 for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.