100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #53 Green Day – Good Riddance – (Time of Your Life)

Released : 1997

A few days ago there were some guys working next door, radio blasting out under the sunshine. The station was playing globs of largely unidentifiable twentieth century music nostalgia, until suddenly in unison they all struck up “I hope you have the tiiiiiimmmmeee of your life” before mumbling lyrics they obviously didn’t know.

It would’ve been much more straightforward to just pick a Green Day song from Dookie, the skate punk coming of age saga which became a gazillion selling phenomenon and in the process defined the rootlessness of Generation X far more articulately than Nevermind ever did. But whilst Basketcase, When I Come Around, Longview et al retain their bubblegum aesthetic and broad appeal, their shelf life is effectively long over.

Billie Joe Armstrong and co. were as now locked in a great album/not so great album cycle when Nimrod was released in 1997, notwithstanding the gamble of including a song like Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) on it. Purists were not impressed, but Armstrong’s simple kiss off to a departing girlfriend tapped the emerging brohood zeitgeist perfectly, a story about an ending and a beginning that nearly everyone could relate to. Twenty five plus years later, it’s now even builder friendly.

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