Out the gate, Green Day are trying to prove something with Kerplunk. “2000 Light Years Away” comes polished off with new drummer Tré Cool’s unpredictable and precision rat-a-tat fills, Mike Dirnt’s dominating bass and Billie Joe Armstrong’s newfound sense of perfect pop hooks. The band take full advantage of their secret weapon—a solid rhythm section—through the rest of the album as they tackle more songs about girls and alienation through their three-chord anthems, and no song encapsulates it better than “Welcome To Paradise.” Polished songwriting capped off with loose and fast punk playing turn a few simple chords into a near-unforgettable song. Kudos to the band, as well, for the power pop ballad “Christie Road” and taking a chance on slowing down the tempo. There still are a few clunkers (see the country goof “Dominated Love Slave”), but overall it’s a huge step forward from their earliest pop-punk output, proving that Green Day have matured a bit in their songwriting, even if they’re still a bit immature.