Kudos to Green Day, young punk's reigning purists, for sticking with what they know best. After selling more than 6 million copies of their major-label debut, 1994's Dookie, this Berkeley, Calif., trio could easily have lost their quick-tempoed cool. Yet here they are, two albums later, stomping new wrinkles into punk's tattered three-chord banner.
Whether Billie Joe Armstrong, the band's 25-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist, is gleefully snarling his way through teen angst ("Uptight") or whining absurdly about becoming an old man ("The Grouch"), he manages to keep the melodies fresh and original. And sure, there's a horn section on one tune and a cello part on another, but with 18 songs, more than half clocking in at under three minutes, Nimrod demonstrates that, for Green Day, loud and fast still rule. (Reprise)