Just in case you missed that stage when you thought you were badass, wrecking havoc in the parking lot of Wendy’s with your prepubescent punk friends (as unlikely as that seems), it’s not too late! Thanks to Green Day’s newest release, International Superhits, you can buy all of the band’s greatest cuts from 1994 to 2001 in a neat little package — just enough to bring you back to the days when abnormally wide pants were cool and these guys rocked.
So you’re back in the parking lot now, swelling with pride at the sight of your name tattooed on the wall by the drive-through window, and once again bopping up and down to the three-chord ballads of Mike Dirnt, Tre Cool and front man Billie Joe Armstrong. The first two tracks are brand new, not to mention sinfully bad. “Maria,” originally released on the B-side of the international version of the “Minority” single, is surprisingly catchy, though musically unoriginal and uninspired. For those of you who like the melodic pop sound of Guster, “Maria” is perfect. The other new track, “Poprocks and Coke,” repeats the phrase “I’ll be there” so many times you’ll find yourself wondering if Billie Joe is actually whispering in your ear while you walk around campus or lie in bed late at night.
The rest of International Superhits is a chronological tribute to the band’s multi-platinum albums. Classic Dookie hits, “Welcome to Paradise,” “Longview,” “Basketcase” and “When I Come Around” are enough to make this digest worth your pesos (if you do not already own this 1994 breakthrough album). It’s also nice to see that they’ve included “Hitchin a Ride,” the only Green Day song to feature violin. The musical complexities of “Hitchin” are a perfect complement to the general “three chords and whiny British accent” idiom that characterizes every other song here.
The finished product of International Superhits, like most Greatest Hits albums, shows the band’s weaknesses and leaves out a lot. “King for a Day” from Warning, the gender-bending hit that features horns (when played on tour, a fat guy in a pink dress comes out to play trumpet) gives the band some character and would have been a refreshing break from the cliched and often repetitive songs like “Nice Guys Finish Last” and “Jaded” that were included on the album And why even include “Minority,” which plays on Green Day’s tendency to parody their pop success with ridiculous lines like “I want to be the minority, I don’t need your authority”?
Nevertheless, if you never got to play with fire in an obscure parking lot out in the suburbs somewhere when you were 12, go get International Superhits. At least you’ll know what you were missing all these years — eh, it was fun but forgettable.