It Sure Sounds Like Green Day Don’t Like Algorithms Very Much

The band talked technology in a recent interview

Green Day perform live
Billie Joe Armstrong and Tre Cool of Green Day perform during the 2023 When We Were Young festival.
Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

How do you discover new music? For some, it might be due to a favorite radio station; for others, it could be due to a favorite music publication. For a lot of people in 2024, though, the answer involves algorithms — despite all of the unnerving ethical baggage surrounding, say, Spotify. The question of whether something is lost when we rely on technology to find a new musical favorite is one that’s lingered for several years, but at least one high-profile artist is none too fond of sitting back and letting code do the work for you.

That artist is Green Day, who spoke out against algorithmic musical discovery in a recent interview with The Sun. Specifically, bassist Mike Dirnt spoke candidly about the subject. “Social media is great for kids but if you’re finding your music via algorithms then that’s just fing lazy,” he told The Sun. “I like to organically find new things.”

As a recent Consequence article pointed out, the band was critical of algorithms writ large, with Billie Joe Armstrong also speaking critically of certain ways people were using TikTok in the same interview. Which isn’t to say that the band are necessarily Luddites when it comes to social media; in a 2023 interview with Vulture, Armstrong spoke about seeking out obscure punk and power-pop albums. “I’ll look for it on YouTube and get sucked down that rabbit hole, which is a healthy rabbit hole, and then I’ll go buy the record off Discogs,” he said.

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One of the reasons why Green Day might feel strongly about methods of musical discovery is their own contribution to it. In a 2022 interview with Aquarium Drunkard, musician Kevin Morby recounted his own experience of listening to Green Day when he was younger.

“I was lucky that there was Green Day and Blink-182 on the radio,” Morby told Aquarium Drunkard. “Green Day is the greatest gateway drug. You read one interview with them and they’re talking about the Ramones and the Replacements, and then the Replacements are talking about Big Star. The doors open up.” It’s hard to imagine someone waxing nostalgic about an algorithmic playlist — but then, the future might surprise us all.

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