Head to the AP Store to grab the 30th anniversary Dookie deluxe box setas well as other Green Day merch.
For countless people, Green Day were a gateway into punk rock. Whether you discovered them through their collection of ’90s gems or their 2000s anthems, the band have written a song for every mood and occasion. There’s graduation tear-jerkers (“Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”), mosh pit raves (“Welcome to Paradise”), and political scorchers (“American Idiot”). Along the way, the trio of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool — a band of loveable stoners who named their group after how much they loved to smoke weed — transformed into one of the biggest punk bands on the planet. After more than three decades together, they remain one of the few outfits that still operate under their classic lineup.
Read more: 10 most criminally underrated Green Day songs
We asked our readers what the best Green Day albums are of all time. From Kerplunk! to American Idiotfind the top fan picks ranked below.
5. Kerplunk! (1991)
Green Day’s second album, and last independent release, signaled greater things to come. Brimming with catchier tunes and a slicker chemistry — just listen to the rhythm section of Dirnt and Cool, who replaced OG drummer John Kiffmeyer — the band were starting to figure out what worked. “2000 Light Years Away” opens the album on a blazing note, whereas “Welcome to Paradise” (before it was revamped by producer Rob Cavallo on their next record), stands apart with its indelible chorus and pummeling riffs. Green Day were gaining momentum, and fast, but nothing would prepare them for the mainstream frenzy to come.
4. Insomniac (1995)
Dookie was always going to be a tough record to follow up. As the band navigated their newfound fame — rife with extensive world tours and unexpected Grammy wins — they got a lot darker on their next album. Green Day clearly had something to prove after releasing their 1994 smash, but were also under insurmountable amounts of stress. In turn, the songs were harder and heavier (“Brain Stew,” “Geek Stink Breath”), flushed with lyricism about panic attacks, methamphetamine use, and being a fuck-up. Despite the ugliness, though, Green Day trudged on, and these catchy hits still hold up.
3. Nimrod (1997)
Green Day made another leap forward with Nimrod. The release was longer than their previous three LPs and more musically diverse, offering a whole new side to the band. Nimrod showed that they still had ambition and depth — qualities that’d be blown out when they’d release American Idiot seven years later. “Platypus (I Hate You)” plays on their love of hardcore, while “King For A Day” zeroed in on gender identity and sexuality. Most remarkable, however, is “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life).” The acoustic ballad was tender and stirring, from Armstrong’s sentimental delivery to the string arrangement. There’s a reason the song soundtracks every graduation ceremony video reel (and it’s a total banger).
2. American Idiot (2004)
Green Day’s 2004 blockbuster broke new ground for the band. Called a “punk-rock opera,” American Idiot served as their most ambitious and imaginative record yet. Gone were the days of two-minute punk blasts. Now, Green Day were entering prog-rock territory, offering expansive journeys that offered a view into suburban American life. Not only were Green Day spitting overtly political barbs (“Holiday,” the title track), but they were becoming more outspoken beyond their music, as well. American Idiot is more than a slam against Bush — it marked a turning point for the band that took them to massive heights.
1. Dookie (1994)
Dookie shot Green Day into the mainstream and altered the trajectory of their careers forever. From the jump, their major-label debut attracted attention, from the busy cover artwork to their peers’ brutal criticism. Purists wrote the band off, calling them “sellouts” and baring them from a venue that they helped foster, while others welcomed their widescreen tunes into their hearts. In short, Dookie changed everything. It remains one of the most influential albums of the ’90s, right up there with Nevermind and Ready to Die. Get ready to feel old, too, as the record is turning 30 next year, which the band are celebrating with an extensive deluxe box set, available at the AP Shop.