October 10, 1995 - Reprise
After Dookie, Green Day were faced with a variety of options. Poised to take over the world if only they re-wrote another alterna-anthem like “Basket Case,” the band took a step back and looked through their back catalog. In order to fill the stadiums they were about to play with a full sound, the band bumped up their guitars, streamlined their songs and looked back to stadium rocking power-pop/hard-rock acts like Cheap Trick. Each song on Insomniac is catchy in its own right, the harmonies are near surgical in their precision and the band tightened their playing immensely. If Dookie was the band’s emotional and intellectual breakthrough, Insomniac is their big rock record, and never is it more apparent than in opener “Armatage Shanks” or the extended, speed-riffing, grandiose intro of “Panic Song.” Once again, however, it’s the band’s branching out into a more general ’90s alternative blend of punk, hard rock and metal that gain the most attention. “Geek Stink Breath” is a gritty tribute to the band’s meager past, and “Brain Stew” is their antisocial, self-loathing, tongue-in-cheek simple rocker, with its stop-time riffage. While the band would have been hard-pressed to top Dookie, the album coalesces with the perfect pop chorus of “Walking Contradiction,” cementing the album permanently in the history of rock ’n’roll.