Nimrod very well may be the album everyone expected to come from Green Day after 1994’s Dookie. But when faced with their major-label follow-up, Green Day went for the stadium-rock grandeur of Insomniac’s huge guitars and tightened up playing. With that out of their system, the band had the chance to take on the hard shuffling of “Hitchin’ A Ride,” the sour pop of “The Grouch,” a classic ’60s pop ballad in “Redundant” and straight hardcore punk of “Platypus (I Hate You).” By proving themselves with subsequent recordings, the band had the chance to break past their pop-punk branding and become, well, a rock band.
That doesn’t mean the band abandoned their bread and butter. “Nice Guys Finish Last” and “Reject” could have been outtakes from Dookie or Insomniac with their ’70s punk riffs and catchy choruses. Evident as well is the band’s view of their overall sound. Their previous loose-and–fast fills have been cleaned up to precision hits, and the band even incorporate with horns on the drag queen country shuffle “King For A Day.” Most striking, probably, is the acoustic ballad “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life).” The song is poignant, tender, a bit bitter and accompanied with a full string arrangement. It seems hard to believe that this is the same band that recorded hokey-jokey immature-country song “Dominated Love Slave” on Kerplunk.