October 1, 2023
Green Day Nimrod cover

When Billie Joe Armstrong wrote Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) in 1993, he had no idea what to do with it. The song had originated from a Berkely house party (a “weird dudes with ponytails and an acoustic guitar kind of moment” as the singer described it to Rolling Stone) and it certainly didn’t fit with the music his band was making. Green Day were still working on their third album Dookie at that time – a ticking timebomb that would unexpectedly blow both them and punk rock in general all over the mainstream. Nor did it fit on follow-up Insomniac, which was a harder and darker reaction to that newfound success and everything that went along with it. 

By the time they got round to fifth album Nimrod (opens in new tab) in 1997, however, the feeling was different. They were ready to try something new; to take a few risks and reach way beyond their comfort zone. “I thought people were probably gonna fucking hate it, you know?” Armstrong admitted recently, but they included the song nevertheless. It was far from the only departure on display but it was the most striking, as well as the one that best represented Green Day’s transitional state of mind. 

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