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Billie Joe Armstrong - No Fun Mondays - An In Depth Review

Updated: 6 days ago


To say that Lockdown brought us joy, would be strictly incorrect, and many people would have your head off at such buffoonery. But it did bring us a lot of good music. Artists simply got bored, and decided to record new music, at the comfort of their in house music studios. Lovely. Billie Joe Armstrong is one of these many artists, who were bored, and wanted to treat their fans to something new. Strictly speaking, Billie's lockdown jams aren't exactly "new", as all 14 tracks are cover songs, BUT they were all recorded during lockdown and have never been released by himself, or any of his bands prior to 2020. Of course, he could've quite easily called some of his mates to help record the album, but about 95% of the music playing, and the production was done by himself. Multi-talented is Billie. Very Nice. But is the album worth a listen? Should you buy it? Am I going to recommend tapping the download button? Well, thanks to this in-depth, track by track guide, you will have no trouble making those decisions for yourself.


TRACK 1 - I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW

DURATION - 2:15

SPEED - 132 BPM

KEY - A


Probably the fan favourite on this album, and the most recognised worldwide, I Think We're Alone Now (originally by Tommy James and the Shondells) was made famous by American pop singer Tiffany Darwish in 1987. A song that my mum can't help but sing along to. Oh did I mention that it also appears in Umbrella Academy, so my sister loves it too. Billie's version of the hit song, like most on the album, is a rockified, amped up version, with overdriven guitars and a hard hitting, albeit slow drum beat. It has a soft rock sound to it. Heavier then the original, but not too heavy for people who care about their ears. It's amazing how different Billie's version is, even though it's exactly the same. The melody of the original is there, as well as the slow but brisk pace, and the backing vocals in the end chorus ("I Think We're Alone Now (Alone Now))" are also present. If you had a few to drink, you may not even notice the difference. I'm fully aware that die hard fans may not be too keen on cover songs, but to say that Billie has butchered this song, is blatant idiocy. If anything he's Improved it.


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – I Think We're Alone Now Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: YouTube Music


TRACK 2 - WAR STORIES

DURATION - 2:42

SPEED - 168

KEY - E


This is one of many songs I had never heard of until I listened to this album. The original was released in the late 70s by Northern Irish power pop group, The Starjets. No one seems to know anything about the original song, and the Wikipedia page on the whole band is only 2 paragraphs long. So a song that no one knows, by a band that no one has heard of. Good choice Billie. Actually, it might not be so bad. Makes you want to listen to the original. As I've never heard it, I can't really compare, but Billie's version is a slick fusion between what sounds like pop punk, old school rock n roll and garage rock. An interesting mix I must say. But it really really works. It's also the first of many songs on the album that features a guitar solo, and quite a groovy one too. The coolest thing about the majority of songs on this album, is the fact that the guitar in the left headphone is different to the one in the right, which ends up making an interesting but very smooth overall sound. This cover is very very solid. Definitely, 100% worth a listen.


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – War Stories Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: YouTube Music


TRACK 3 - MANIC MONDAY

DURATION - 3:07

BPM - 122

KEY - A


Manic bloody Monday. Find someone who lived through the 80s that doesn't know this song. 1986, by The Bangles if you're interested. I will admit, that prior to this album, I wasn't aware that this song existed. But since listening to it, I've heard the original literally everywhere. Why does that always happen? Just me? Anyway. Like every other song on the album, Billie has put his own twist on the classic hit. To be completely honest, this sounds most like the original than any other on the album. Just imagine Susanna Hoffs as a man. Or if she got sick on show day and hired Billie as a final resort. Not saying that would happen, but, you never know. Everything, from the riffs and even the speed of the song, is pretty much identical. It's in a different key. A instead of D. Not sure if that means anything to anyone, as I don't know how high up you are on the music theory ladder, but you know. Aside from the key, nothing has really changed. Basically, if you love the original with a pure passion, you certainly won't hate this version. It's not too dissimilar.


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – Manic Monday Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: YouTube Music


TRACK 4 - CORPUS CHRISTI

DURATION - 3:24

BPM - 145

KEY - D


Yes, this is yet another song I have never actually heard of. It was released by the American punk band, The Avengers in 1979. As you can see, a lot of the songs on this album were released during Billie's childhood, which probably explains why he chose them. Corpus Christi seems to have a lot of lyrics about Christ, the lord and Hell. Not my thing personally, but if you're a fan of that, then I do suggest taking a listen. For me, I don't dig this song that much. It's OK, but I wouldn't give it excessive praise, or go around shouting about it. I can get by without it, but I don't hate it either. I'm pretty much unbiased. And that's the main thing with this song. It's very generic. Nothing really special, or too much to shout about. Just another stereotypical rock song. It doesn't even sound very punk like, more classic rock. Now I can't pin the blame on Billie entirely, as for all I know the original could be absolute dog turd, and Billie has somehow made it bearable. Or the original could be an absolute banger, that he's just ruined completely. I can't comment on either of those, which is why I'm staying unbiased.


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – Corpus Christi Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: Corpus Christi - YouTube Music


TRACK 5 - THAT THING YOU DO

DURATION - 2:49

BPM - 135

KEY - D


Can't really say I've heard of this one either. Probably because it's a song that's only from a movie that I haven't seen by a band that doesn't actually exist. Nice. If you were wondering, the film in question, is, surprise surprise, That Thing You Do! which was released in 1996 and set in the 1960s. The film is about the fictional band called the wonders, and essentially follows their music career. Blah blah whoopie doo. Not really interested in that are we? Good. The song itself, has a nice classic rock and roll sound to it, albeit much slower than the typical likes of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. Think of it as more like a Beatles record. Then it sounds a lot better. There is a guitar solo present, one which compares yet again to John Lennon or George Harrison with a rather clean but slightly overdriven sound. The solo, in complete honesty, is the highlight of this song. I mean, it's not Hendrix level, but it ain't half bad, and it does sound good. If you like classic rock, or the Beatles, or both, then definitely give this song a listen.


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – That Thing You Do! Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: YouTube Music


TRACK 6 - AMICO

DURATION - 2:28

BPM - 150

KEY - F


This one is an oddball. Why? Because, as the title may have given away, the whole song is in Italian. I didn't even know Billie spoke Italian. Whether he learned it specifically for this song, or he just happened to know it already, I have no idea. But hey, it's pretty cool right? The song is originally by Italian singer Don Backy and was released in, well, no one knows. Could be anything from the 1960's, as that is how long Don has been performing. Nonetheless, it's surprisingly catchy for a song that you can't understand. You get a lot of classic rock n roll vibes from it, and it's very hard not to sing a long to the "la la la la la" part in the chorus (it's the only part I understand to be honest.) The intro drumbeat is fast and groovy, and overall, very foot tapping. I don't know the proper phrasing for the act of tapping one's foot to a beat so I'm sorry if that's wrong. The intro riff is actually memorable. Not something that is said for many rock songs, especially one as obscure as this. Even the guitar solo has a lot of classic rock vibes to it. If you listen carefully you might even hear a little Chuck Berry. Just me?


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – Amico Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: YouTube Music


TRACK 7 - YOU CAN'T PUT YOUR ARMS ROUND A MEMORY

DURATION - 3:31

BPM - 122

KEY - D


This is a nice soft ballad compared to the other songs on the album. It's also the only one to feature an acoustic guitar. Don't get me wrong, it gets a little heavier later on in the chorus, but nothing over the top. It's also the only song on the album to feature an explicit lyric, well depending on who you ask anyway. It's one of those funny words, that could be bad, or could be OK. In the context it's used, it seems pretty innocent to be honest. Don't forget, this an old song, released in 1978, so the word "bastard" back then was pretty innocent. Anyway, this is not relevant to the actual song itself. It might be a bit of a softie, but does that mean it's crap? Not really. I mean, it's far from the best on the album, (you'll find out what that is soon,) neither is it the worst. Honest opinion? It's OK. Pretty mediocre. Not bad, not brilliant. Just meh. Could be enjoyed by many, could be disliked by many. Again, it depends who you ask. Not my personal favourite, but I don't hate it. At least the chorus is catchy. I'm sure someone will like it.


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – You Can’t Put Your Arms 'Round a Memory Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: You Can't Put Your Arms Round a Memory - YouTube Music


TRACK 8 - KIDS IN AMERICA

DURATION - 3:09

BPM - 161

KEY - F#


Yes yes yes yes yes! Billie you legend, this is an absolute masterpiece. I remember listening to the original by Kim Wilde as a kid, so it was a nice surprise hearing the new that Billie was doing that song on No Fun Mondays. I kind of had high hopes for this one from the start, as the original is quite fast and upbeat, but is too pop like for my personal taste. Thank the lord and saviour that this version exists. This is how the original SHOULD have been. It's a pop punk masterpiece, with an extremely catchy post chorus. I mean sure, the 'lyrics' of "Sha la la la la la" aren't really lyrics, but who gives a toss? It's catchy, and there's a solo played through the background. Absolute banger. And then there's the ending. Makes you just wanna shout "We're the kids, we're the kids!" And you do. You can't help it. Maybe I'm getting a little too excited talking about this one? Sorry. It's a bloody good song. Definitely the best on the album. And if you disagree you're wrong. It's not up for debate. End of discussion. Next song.


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – Kids in America Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: Kids in America - YouTube Music


TRACK 9 - NOT THAT WAY ANYMORE

DURATION - 2:53

BPM - 153

KEY - A


I'm not that way anymore can't you see? Great lyrics, and not a bad song either. The song is originally by Stiv Bators, and was released in 1980. Again, I've never heard the original, but Stiv has appeared in a few punk bands, so who knows, maybe it's comparable to The Clash and The Sex Pistols. Please don't hold me to it though, I don't want people to shout at me for being wrong and saying "It's nothing like the sex pistols you twat." I don't know what else to say about a song I've never heard. Anyway, I have heard Billie's version. It's surprisingly light and airy, not heavy at all. But it's not really slow and ballad like either. Think of it as straight up rock. Not punk or metal, but not pop. Somewhere smack bang in the middle of the two. An easy listen for all music tastes. I mean sure, it's not my favourite song ever, but it ain't half bad. I could listen to it, without the need to moan or complain. And believe me, I do that a lot with the absolute dog shite that's being produced nowadays. Sometimes old school is indeed the way to go.


P.S. If you want to complain about my language, feel free. But I will point out I did put an E on the end, so therefore it doesn't count :)


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – Not That Way Anymore Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: Not That Way Anymore - YouTube Music


TRACK 10 - THAT'S ROCK N ROLL

DURATION - 2:59

BPM - 130

KEY - G#


This song's lyrics are actually kind of ironic. It mentions something about buying blue guitars. As you may or may not know, one of Billie's most famous guitars. is in fact, Blue. Cool. Not that you care, but hey, I do. The song is by Eric Carmen, and was released in 1976. Can't comment on the similarity or difference on Billie's version, as I haven't heard the original. Sorry. I'm probably not best qualified for reviewing this album to be honest. I'm not completely knowledgeable. Still, I know enough about the cover to try and convince you to listen to it. So should you? Sure, why not. It's catchy. It's got a nice sound to it. A crispness, that's only possible due to the high quality of modern recording equipment. It has a slow start, and maybe I'm wrong, (which is unlikely as this entire article is based purely on opinions rather than fact,) but I really like that. It slowly builds up from a simple drum beat with isolated vocals. Then the guitar kicks in, albeit quietly. And then the chorus hits, and you get the full package. Nice


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – That’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: That's Rock 'n' Roll - YouTube Music


TRACK 11 - GIMME SOME TRUTH

DURATION - 2:48

BPM - 159

KEY - E


You are probably a lot more likely to know this song. That's because it's originally by John Lennon. It was released in 1971, just a year after The Beatles split. Unfortunately, I haven't heard this song myself. I know I was just talking about how people will know it, but I meant literally everyone else. John Lennon died in 1980. He was gone before my Dad was even 10 years old. But people who lived in the 70's still remember him and his music. I don't how old my audience is on these blogs, but surely someone must know this song. Anyway, that's enough history waffle. The song itself, is pretty fast paced, especially the chorus, which features absolutely relentless lyrics, and a fast paced guitar riff. The best thing about this song though funny enough, is the intro. Start of with a simple bass drum, kick in with some toms, then throw in some palm muted power chords and voila. You have this song. It kicks ass. It's got rhythm, it's got speed, it's got power and best of all, it's got anti-political lyrical tones. I bloody love it!


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – Gimme Some Truth Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: Gimme Some Truth - YouTube Music


TRACK 12 - WHOLE WIDE WORLD

DURATION - 3:13

BPM - 113

KEY - E


Ahhhhhh yes, a song about finding love, and thinking the only way of doing so is by travelling the whole bloody world. I used to think like that once, but then magic happened and I got lucky. It's by Wreckless Eric and was released in 1977. There's a lot of waffle in the song talking about how there's only one girl in the world for our boy Eric, and he'd go all over to find her. Bless. Billie's version is nothing special. Very slow and ballad like, and not mega heavy. It has a weird timing frame in the chorus too. Kinda messes with the rhythm a bit. I mean I doubt Billie did that deliberately, the actual song is probably like that. It's quite annoying. You feel it should go on longer, but it just stops dead flat and goes straight to the next line. Well, it starts again actually. There isn't a whole lot I can say about this song. It's not great. it's not crap. Just a song. A simple, plain song. But let's be honest, sometimes simple and plain is all people are after. If that's what you're after, then knock yourself out. Or if you need something to help you sleep.


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – Whole Wide World Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: Whole Wide World - YouTube Music


TRACK 13 - POLICE ON MY BACK

DURATION - 3:11

BPM - 147

KEY - C#


A song written by Edmond Grant, and performed by his band The Equals, at some point in the past. 1968 to be exact. The song is about an outlaw constantly having the Police on his back, despite the fact he really hasn't done anything wrong. Or so he says. You may actually recognise the song more, as it was covered by The Clash in 1980. I haven't heard either, but I'm taking a wild punt that Billie's version, is a lot closer to The Clash, then The Equals. I just have a feeling. It has an overall good sound to it. The intro riff is very simple but quite catchy, especially when the bass and drums kick in. The only complaint I really have, is that for some reason the song seems a bit flat. Very repetitive. Not much difference between the different parts. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad song at all. Just ever so slightly boring. It's a weird one. Part of me really likes it, the other part hates it. And I can't tell which one is telling the truth. I'm just going to keep it simple and say it's good. Just good. Nothing else. Simple songs get a simple description.


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – Police on My Back Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: YouTube Music


TRACK 14 - A NEW ENGLAND

DURATION - 2:09

BPM - 165

KEY - F


I'm not going to lie, this is a VERY close second for best on the whole album. It was originally by Billy Bragg in 1983 and later by Kirsty MacColl in 1985, which is probably the version you will know. But how does one make a gentle ballad like song, so catchy? Billie, you've outdone yourself on this one. I mean the original is Ok, but how does one man make a decent song, so much better? Maybe the addition of some overdrive on the guitar as well as something called a drumkit, which I don't think Billy Bragg had heard of when he recorded his version. Kirsty's version is far too pop like. I'm really not interested. But Billie, Billie with an IE not a Y, has worked his magic. Created an absolute masterpiece. Billy with a Y created the catchy melody, and Billie with an IE added the catchy groovy beat to it. He's worked wonders. A catchy song that sounded unfinished, ended up being a catchy song that was complete and perfect in every way. Absolute perfection. Solid gold. This is how it should've been from the start.


Lyrics: Billie Joe Armstrong – A New England Lyrics | Genius Lyrics


Song: YouTube Music


So there you have it. My complete Track by track guide of Billie Joe Armstrong's No Fun Monday's. It's not up to me to recommend the album, which I 100 % do, you need to give it a listen, at the end of the day, you're all old enough to make your own decisions. I've given you enough information to decide, so the choice is yours. Have I sold it to you? Or did it fall flat. Doesn't make a difference either way, I'm not being paid to advertise it.


My Overall Score: 4/5





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