First Appeared in The Music Box, June 1998, Volume 5, #6
Written by John Metzger
After the repetition of Insomniac, Nimrod is a huge step forward for Green Day — at least in part. It essentially is a transitional album that's nearly twice as long as any of the group's other discs. Half the material is firmly rooted in ground already tread, as if the band (or perhaps the record company) doesn't wish to totally alienate Green Day's following, but at least the enthusiasm that was lost on its last album Insomniac has returned with a vengeance.
Clearly, it was time for Green Day to change if it was ever going to continue to survive. The band addresses its audience directly on Redundant and warns them of the impending changes stating: "We're living in repetition/Content in the same old shtick again/Now the routine's turning to contention/Like a production line going over and over and over."
It's the way that Green Day is altering its sound that is the real story here, and it is what makes Nimrod all the more special. Worry Rock is still rooted in the band's punk sound, yet it incorporates a bit of country-rock into it with a guitar solo that jangles and falls somewhere between The Byrds and Neil Young. The sound of waves crashing on the beach links Uptight with the beautiful surf-rock instrumental Last Ride In. The stripped-down acoustic arrangement of Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) comes complete with a string section and is perhaps the ensemble's biggest departure from its usual fare. The fact that this track has become such a hit for Green Day has certainly made its transition a little easier, and it should help to pave the way for more experimentation in the future.
XTC also began with a sound that was firmly rooted in punk rock, and look what it wound up writing. Green Day hasn't yet reached any of XTC's musical achievements, but this transitional album is the best piece of work that the band has put together. Given the new directions explored on Nimrod, there's a lot more yet to be said by this talented group. ½
Of Further Interest...
Nimrod is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1998 The Music Box