While watching Tyler Hansbrough (same name!) absolutely wreck the Michigan State Spartans Monday night on national television, I was given a little shock when CBS Sports decided to turn itself into a veritable music promotion show and premier a 90-second clip of a new Green Day song called ‘Know Your Enemy.’ It’s not really surprising that CBS would do this; more than likely the Warner Music Group (which owns Reprise Records, Green Day’s label) struck a pretty lucrative deal to have the clip shown. What was surprising was how many times I laughed while watching Billy Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tr’eacute; Cool prostrate themselves before a massive television station in front of a massive sporting event.
First off, ‘Know Your Enemy’s’ lyrics don’t look too promising. The only words I could gather basically tell the story of ‘knowing your enemy right here,’ which is just about as shallow as Soulja Boy’s lyrical output. Secondly, the staged, filmed performance reminded me for the first time in almost five years why Green Day’s music works better as comedy album material than punk.
For those of you who thought 2004’s overwrought ‘American Idiot’ was genuine punk, I beg of you to change the channel off MTV, and, if you’ve been listening to too much ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams,’ kindly give yourself a frontal lobotomy. Green Day has never been good, especially when it comes to making broad statements about some idiot named the Jesus of Suburbia. The SoCal punks have always been sort of comic; we all know they are really only three middle-class white kids who can’t play their instruments and think that complaining about the supposed struggles of the suburban lifestyle equates to a legitimate social problem. I’m sorry if you don’t see the comedy in that.
Green Day’s new disc, entitled ’21st Century Breakdown’ (which, by the way, happens to rank No. 7 on my list of worst album titles ever (just ahead of ‘Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water’), will probably suck just as bad as ‘American Idiot,’ ‘Warning,’ ‘Nimrod’ and ‘Insomniac’ all did. The only difference here is that most of the populace thinks Green Day is cool. We will probably listen to all 19 tracks, including the wonderfully stupid couplet of ‘Viva La Gloria!’ and ‘Viva La Gloria?,’ and wonder how on earth Billy Joe Armstrong gets away with writing some of the worst lyrics pop music has ever seen (seriously, just read through ‘American Idiot’s’ lyrics). Why will we do this? I’ll tell you. Because Green Day doesn’t know how to write music, yet is still incredibly popular, the band gives hope to everyone else who has an Ibanez electric guitar but doesn’t know how to use it. So cheer up, kid who really wants to be in a band. Green Day is back, and it aims to make you look a lot more talented than you actually are. So whatever you’ve got to say, chances are it’s better than a song called ‘Christian’s Inferno.’ Happy writing.