Green Day release tons of ‘Insomniac’ era stuff for album’s 25th anniversary
It's clear from album opener "Armatage Shanks" alone that Green Day's songwriting took a turn for the slightly darker on Insomniac -- Billie Joe's lyrics have always had a dark side, but here his introvertedness and pessimism is matched by the tone of the music more than it was on Dookie -- and he managed to do this while only strengthening his knack for melodicism. The verse and the chorus on this song both come with a hook that rivals Green Day's bigger hits. That continues on the next two songs, "Brat" and "Stuck With Me," which make for the most relentless one-two-three punch of any Green Day album, and Insomniac has a handful of other should've-been hits like "Stuart and the Ave," "86," and "No Pride." Those songs hit the same pleasure points as "When I Come Around" and "Longview," and they're actually even tighter and punchier. It's hard to say for sure, but I bet if "Brat" and "Stuart and the Ave" were the ones all over MTV and the radio in the '90s, they'd be karaoke regulars today too. (The album's poppiest song and second biggest hit after "Brain Stew" was "Walking Contradiction," though admittedly I think that's one of Insomniac's weaker songs.) There's also an argument to be made that Green Day had developed an even more unique sound on these songs. Dookie earned Green Day their fair share of comparisons to the Buzzcocks, but by Insomniac it was undeniable that this was a band with an original sound of their own.
As we've argued before, Insomniac is Green Day's best album, and since it turned 25 this past weekend, the band have been celebrating with a lot of cool "new" stuff from the era. That includes a 20-minute tour documentary that includes never-before-seen footage from the band's 1995/1996 Europe tours, including a Prague show that was shot on 16mm film, as well as a newly-officially-released video of Green Day playing "Brain Stew" on MTV's Hanging Out in 1996. Watch both of those below.
The band are also giving the album a remastered reissue on translucent orange vinyl with the cover art printed on prismatic silver foil, and it comes with a bonus LP featuring live tracks from that same Prague show in the just-released documentary. The band writes:
Insomniac is finally old enough to rent a car (or whatever else you can do when you’re 25, we’re not lawyers), so we remastered it to celebrate, and we’re throwing in some bonus goodies to boot! This limited edition translucent orange vinyl double LP includes the cover art printed on prismatic silver foil as well as an additional LP with 8 rare or never previously released live tracks from the Prague stop of the Insomniac world tour on March 26, 1996 and an etched b-side.
UPDATE: You can also pick up the 25th anniversary edition of the classic album on 2xLP black vinyl in the BrooklynVegan store, including the bonus material.
Green Day have also re-released Insomniac-era merch, and you can pre-order the vinyl and the merch here.
They're also selling a limited amount of prints of the original Winston Smith artwork that the Insomniac album cover is from, and all proceeds from those prints will benefit the Alameda County Community Food Bank. You can order one while they last at Punk Rock & Paintbrushes.
In more recent Green Day news, Billie Joe Armstrong is turning his No Fun Mondays quarantine covers into an album, due November 27 (pre-order).
Watch the newly-released Insomniac-era footage and check out the artwork and tracklist for the expanded vinyl reissue below...
Green Day - Insomniac LP2 Tracklist
Armatage Shanks (Live in Prague)
Brat (Live in Prague)
Geek stink Breath (Live in Prague)
Stuck With Me (Live in Prague)
Brain Stew (Live in Prague)
Jaded (Live in Prague)
Walking Contradiction (Live in Prague)
86 (Live in Prague)