Green Day Albums Ranked - Discography Tier List
My ranking scheme: FAV / GREAT / GOOD / DECENT / MEH - I replace the standard "S" tier with my own top level tier of Favorites. This way I can highlight albums that have a bit more personal meaning to me while still celebrating the albums that are deserving of a top level ranking.*Note: Every ranking exists within it's own isolated universe. Meaning the albums are only being compared to other albums from the same band. In this way, it would be unfair to compare one of my tier-lists for band A with a tier-list from band B.
This ranking includes full length LPs only. No compilations, greatest hits, or live albums.
Still a fantastic album, but because each of my tiers exist in their own isolated universe, when compared to the rest of Green Day's catalog I have to give this album a DECENT.
Pro: Good songs with fun energy. Billie Joe Armstrong actually does some guitar solos. The album is technically a compilation of an LP and two EPs, but still maintains a cohesive feel across the entire album. No song feels out of place.
Con: Recording is a little raw, but not enough to distract from the music. A lot of rosy-eyed love songs. They are good songs but the album just isn't as relatable to listen to as an adult. I have to be in a mood for nostalgia to pop this one in.
2. Kerplunk! (1991) - GOOD
Kerplunk! & 39 Smooth always go together in my mind as a package deal, like Adam Sandler's first two hit films Billy Madison & Happy Gilmore. Together they both represent Lookout Records! era Green Day. But where 39 Smooth was more of a bubblegum pop record, Kerplunk! dips in to some emo territory with slightly more mature lyrical content.
Pro: Album includes an earlier version of "Welcome to Paradise" than the Dookie version which received major radio airplay. "No One Knows" is one of Mike Dirnt's best bass-lines. Tre Cool joined the band during this album and contributes vocals on "Dominated Love Slave." Iconic album artwork.
Con: Noticeable change in recording quality for the last four songs, which were actually tacked on from Green Day's very first EP.
3. Dookie (1994) - GREAT
This was the album that was almost solely responsible for rescuing me from Top 40 Rap/ R&B radio. Yes, I will shamefully admit that I used to listen to a Top 40 station when I was first getting in to modern radio as a kid. Fortunately, Green Day came along with songs like "When I Come Around" which received significant airplay on the Top 40 station.
This was also shortly after the time that Kurt Cobain passed away and I was having a huge Nirvana phase. Well I learned that the local mainstream rock radio station played Green Day and Nirvana a heck of a lot more than the Top 40 station did. So I gradually transitioned away from rap & r&b. Thanks to bands like Green Day for breaking through at the time, and for my older sister who had a great selection of California pop-punk albums to steal... ahem, I mean "borrow." 😄
Pro: So many classic hits from this album. "Basket Case" is anthem for anxiety and arguably the band's biggest hit. Iconic album artwork that reminds me of those old Where's Waldo books with a lot of fun little details to discover. Tre brings us his trademark humor once again as a secret song at the end of the album called "All By Myself." I always enjoy when two songs blend together, this album has "Chump" with an extended outro which blends in to the intro of "Longview."
Con: At just over 30 mins in length, this album is way too short.
4. Insomniac (1995) - FAV
Dookie & Insomniac are always paired together in my mind as the "classic" Green Day era. The era of power-chords, snotty attitudes, and hair dye. Although Insomniac is a much more aggressive "punk" album than it's "pop-punk" predecessor.
was the first song a friend taught me how to play on guitar when I was
quite young and this album served as something that I jammed along with
almost every single day after school for a year or two as I learned how
to play. Dookie is also a great album for beginning guitarists to jam along with, but the heavy distortion of Insomniac offers a much more forgiving backdrop for the inevitable squeaks and squeals coming from a tortured instrument.
Pro: Green Day's heaviest album. Non stop energy from start-to-finish. The video for "Stuck With Me" integrates the iconic album artwork in to an animated video. "Brain Stew/Jaded" are technically two songs, but their respective outro and intro blend together.
Con: Another short album. Green Day had a lot of good b-sides from the Dookie and Insomniac era that could have easily been included, but we also can't fault them too much for leaving them off because both albums are solid exactly as they are.
5. Nimrod (1997) - FAV
This album always holds a special place in my heart because the Nimrod Tour was one of my very first "punk" shows. I was a teenager at the time and it was my first attempt at crowd-surfing, but it was by far my favorite and most memorable. Crowd-surfing is best left to the light-weight individuals to enjoy, and at that age this was the lightest I would ever be. The crowd was also packed which meant when I went up I stayed up for most of a song being tossed back and forth like a beach ball until reaching the front of the stage where security would usually catch me from falling to the ground and release me back into the crowd.
Pro: Insomniac may be Green Day's most aggressive album but Nimrod has two of Green Day's most aggressive songs with "Take Back" and "Platypus." Songs like "Hitchin A Ride" and "All The Time" satisfy my fix for Green Day's signature chugging/marching guitar riffs. "King for a Day" is a fun big-band anthem that always made for an entertaining portion of Green Day's live sets. "Good Riddance" and "Last Ride In" provide a nice change of pace. "Jinx" and "Haushinka" are another set of two songs that blend outro and intro together to form one song.
Green Day starts to experiment with different sounds on Nimrod and none of it feels out of place. There is so much to like about this album. It is one that I can enjoy from start to finish. Which isn't saying much because I can do that with all of Green Day's releases, but where previous albums feel like jumping on the freeway for a quick trip, Nimrod is a more like a leisurely adventure on the scenic route.
Con: One of the only down-sides I can think of is that some people criticize the song "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" for being too "Dawson's Creek" or whatever. I think it's funny when people criticize a band for releasing a song that has mega-mainstream appeal when that band has always been about mainstream appeal. Green Day decided long ago that they've always wanted to take their career as far as it can go so they have one big story to tell in the end. In that regard, I think they've definitely succeeded in creating one heck of a story. Likely a much bigger story than any of those criticizing the song have ever created.
6. Warning (2000) - DECENT
Con: I do enjoy this album, but I have to be in the mood to listen to it. This isn't necessarily my go-to album when I can use some Green Day energy.
7. American Idiot (2004) - GREAT
Pro: What can I say about this album that hasn't already been said? Green Day already had a great run, but this album brought them back bigger than before and cemented their status as a legendary / Hall of Fame band. This is Green Day's first concept album and it came exactly at the time that it needed to. Songs like "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" and "Jesus Of Suburbia" can only be described as epic masterpieces. This whole album blends together and has multiple tracks with outros that lead in to the next song's intro. Not going to bother listing each one individually, as it would include most of the album.
Con: As much as I love this album, some of the songs haven't aged well. This was the "Bush era" album and as such, songs like "American Idiot" and "Holiday" feel like a time-capsule for the political-social climate at that time. I still enjoy the songs, but they don't resonate the same way anymore.
8. 21st Century Breakdown (2009) - FAV
None of the songs from this album would be listed in my top favorite Green Day songs individually, but this is one of my favorite overall collections of songs as a whole. I'm a sucker for a good concept album and 21st Century Breakdown takes the formula built with American Idiot and expands upon it, making a more complete and comprehensive narrative across the album's 69 minute run-time.
Pro: Concept album with a more mature sound than it's predecessor. Green Day worked with David Bowie in re-working the melody from an old Bowie song into a modern hit with "21 Guns."
Con: Few major radio friendly hit songs make this album a bit of a sleeper hit.
9. Uno, Dos, Tre! (2012) - GOOD
I'm including the three trilogy albums together as one album because they are intended to be one collection of songs, despite being sold separately. If the album were stripped down to a handful of the best songs, this could be a really good album. Unfortunately, it's bogged down a bit by some filler material. However, if someone were to ask me if I wanted more or less Green Day, the answer would always be a resounding "just hook it to my veins!"
Pro: Tons of songs! "Let Yourself Go" was the first (and only) single to receive major radio airplay in promotion for this album and at the time it was released I thought "fuck yeah, old-school Green Day is back!" "Stray Heart" is one of Green Day's best songs that never got the attention that it deserved.
Con: A lot of filler material. Some experimental electronic tracks like "Kill The DJ" and "Nightlife" that have a polarizing affect on the audience. If people criticized "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" then I don't want to know what those people think about "The Forgotten." I don't think the song would leave such a bad taste if it hadn't been used in the Twilight series, but it feels like it was probably written solely for that purpose.
9. Revolution Radio (2012) - GOOD
An under-rated album, in my opinion.
Pro: "Still Breathing" is one of the most inspirational and uplifting songs in the Green Day catalog that has already helped me through some rough moments in life.
Con: A lot of really good songs on this album, but few that are great.
10. Father of All Motherfuckers (2020) - FAV
I really enjoy this album. Some people don't like the electronic/pop aspects and I get it. I don't agree, but I get it. Personally, I think this is one of the most "fun" collection of songs that Green Day have ever released. It was also a nice light-hearted departure from some of the politically charged albums of the recent past.
Pro: "Fire, Ready, Aim" was used as a promo tie-in with the NHL, combining two of my favorite things in life together (Green Day and hockey). This felt like an album who's songs could have a great vibe in the audience during live performances. I was really looking forward to
seeing them perform songs like "Oh Yeah," "Meet Me On The Roof," and "Stab You In The Heart." This album puts me in a good mood and makes me want to move my body.
Con: Electronic / dance aspects of the album may not be everyone's cup of tea. Tour and album promotion cut to a halt by what we shall only refer to as "The Unprecedented."
11. Stop, Drop and Roll by Foxboro Hot Tubs (2008) - GREAT
Pro: A solid collection of garage / rock n' roll tunes.
Con: Some people missed out on this one because it wasn't released as a Green Day album.
12. The Longshot (2018) - MEH
Pro: Billie Joe side project which allows him to have a little fun playing smaller venues for a change. They did an awesome cover of Adam Ant's "Beat My Guest" during live performances.
Aside from maybe 2 or 3 songs, I just couldn't get in to this one.
13. Money Money 2020 by The Network (2003) - GREAT
Con: 80s / new wave aspects of album doesn't appeal to everyone.
14. Money Money 2020: Part II (2020) - FAV
This album probably belongs in my FAV category as well, but I haven't had as much time with it.
Pro: Tre Cool, uh... I mean The Snoo really steals the show with this one. It's great to see vocal duties being spread around. Almost an hour worth of songs across 25 tracks. I really dig the science fiction theme.
Con: Why have we only had two live Network performances so far? I was fortunate enough to attend one of those shows in 2003 where they filmed the live DVD Disease is Punishment, a title which feels oddly prophetic considering the 2020 album title. They told us so! We really do need to see more of The Network!