Where 2000’s Warning was a mature step forward musically for Green Day, the band has taken a few steps back with the release of Shenanigans, a collection of outtakes and rarities dating back to the multi-million seller Dookie.
And, while Rivers Cuomo of Weezer has been receiving accolades for being one of the most prolific songwriters around, for more than a decade Billie Joe Armstrong has amassed a decent bundle of pop songs himself. And that’s what Green Day is essentially—a pop band—and Armstrong himself has made no secrets about that.
Shenanigans is the band’s attempt to fulfill some clause in its record contract; however, there are enough tasty vittles here to keep the album from being just a throwaway. There are plenty of Green Day’s bratty trademarks in the punk bursts of "Scumbag" and "Ha Ha You’re Dead," while "Rotting" and "On the Wagon" trudge slowly and seep with sweetness and sincerity. But it’s the band’s versions of The Ramones’ "Outsider" and The Kinks’ "Tired of Waiting for You" that really stand out, while showing that this is a band that, though criticized by punk purists, who have always borrowed from some of the best.