1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours

Origin stories tend to give insight into comic book characters that helps explain the choices they’ve made, the directions they’ve taken, and the importance of their past. For Green Day, 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours shows the band using upbeat three-chord pop-punk songs to manifest their scorned love, budding alienation and youthful scrappiness. Billie Joe Armstrong’s inventive vocal melodies play off Mike Dirnt’s rhythmic and harmonic bass parts, while Armstrong’s guitar anchors the songs into the solid grooving rhythms of drummer John Kiffmeyer. Channeling ’60s pop through the veil of ’77 punk like the Jam before them, Green Day demonstrate their chops with catchy hooks, breakneck fills and tight songwriting. After a while, however, songs like “The Judge’s Daughter” and “Dry Ice” start to run together, and the 19-track album wears out most of its goodwill by the end (partially because it lumps together the band’s original LP/cassette-only debut 39/Smooth with two EPs). Regardless, it’s an extremely refreshing nod back to the melodies and rhythms of the punk forerunners. 

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