Sound — 9
Warning is the 6th album by Green Day, and sadly represents the lowest slump in the bands commercial history, with the only album of theirs selling less being their very first record 39/Smooth. I say sadly, because it is a damn shame that such a solid and focused album went by un-noticed. If I was to compile a list of under-appreciated gems, this record would be right up there. Warning and Blood Sex and Booze are a pair of fantastic pop rock songs which starts the record with a distinctly jaunty and different mood to previous releases. It is notably less punk' influenced than previous releases in the sense that the guitars aren't over distorted and the drums aren't fast generic beats. With Warning It's almost like the band is directly telling listeners that Yes, this isn't what you're used to hearing from us, so here is a heads up! Another thing to note about this album is that it can be very well described as an experimental album. The number of instruments present on this album is quite staggering, including Mandolins, Harmonicas, keyboard synths, Strings and Accordions, just to name a few. For some people this experimental edge may seem gimmicky, but to me it makes the album all the more brilliant, mainly because it works! Songs like Jackass and Hold On simply wouldn't even be half as good without all these instruments on. Plus the brilliant Misery - a hauntingly bouncy track - simply wouldn't exist. Stand out tracks on the album are definitely the trio of Church on Sunday, Deadbeat Holiday and Macy's Day parade. Church on Sunday is perhaps one of the catchiest and solid rock songs I've heard, and the addition of an organ during the closing passages just adds that edge of grandeur and drama to it that makes it great. Deadbeat Holiday has a verse melody that's so infectious, it's no wonder why Green Day themselves decided to recycle it for the track American Eulogy in their latest record 21st Century Breakdown, hoping no one would notice. Lastly, Macy's Day Parade takes the slow formula of Nimrod's famous Good Riddance and tops it in many ways. The strings, the beautifully simple guitar and the chilling singing results in a track that for me is a career highlight. I can't help but think that if this album was more commercially successful, it would blow the pants off of Good Riddance in popularity. However that's not to say the album is not without its flaws. One of the few well known tracks Minority beats a tired loud soft loud soft formula to death. Don't get me wrong, It's a solid enough song, but it soon over stays its welcome with the excessive repetition of passages. Fashion Victim is another low point, it just simply doesn't stand out, and sounds like a filler.
Lyrics — 8
One thing you can't deny about Billie Joe Armstrong is that he is quite the lyricist. Before he started rhyming everything with the words broken glass', gasoline' and cigarettes' in later records, this one shows a writer maturing and filling into his boots. Highlights includes Church on Sunday and Macy's Day parade (again), which aren't too generic or overtly pretentious, it is just simply good thoughtful stuff. Warning and Waiting are also good show cases of thoughtful lyrics. Granted, some of the lyrics (Hold On, Castaway) are a bit standard in the context of the album. It's not that they are awful; they just seem lazy compared to some of the thought and effort instilled into the rest of the tracks.
Overall Impression — 8
Ok, so it isn't perfect (After all, few albums are). But it does fulfill the musical capabilities that the band hinted at with their last record Nimrod, and improves upon it in every way. I can't explain why this album bombed so badly, maybe it was bad timing of release or fans couldn't stomach the change, I don't know. But if you've missed it due to bad word of mouth, or any other reason, then do give it a chance. Because I assure you, you'll find a great solid rock record that is one of the, if not the very best record of the bands illustrious career.