Rating: 3.6/5. From 31 votes. Show votes.
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Release Date: Summer 1990
Length: 10:07
Studio: Art Of Ears
Label: Lookout Records
Producers: Andy Ernst & Green Day
Notes: Green Day’s second EP. Recorded on April 20, 1990. EP would later be added to the compilation album 1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours.

LIVE STATS:

SongFirst PlayedLast PlayedTimes Played
Paper LanternsUnknown Date, 1989September 19, 2017270
Why Do You Want Him?Unknown Date, 1989October 7, 20166
409 In Your CoffeemakerUnknown Date, 1989October 8, 201648
KnowledgeUnknown Date, 1989November 19, 2017662

SONG INFO:

1. Paper Lanterns

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Rating: 4.6/5. From 52 votes. Show votes.
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Paper Lanterns is a song about the aftermath of love. The narrator is talking about a feeling now buried in the back of his heart, after all the days of hoping and dreaming. He now knows that this love has no chance, they are only friends, he got closure. But there is still something left, he still has 'inappropriate' feelings about this person he used to love. "I find it hard to keep control when you're with your boyfriend"...The paper of a faded love and the fire of jealousy give a dangerous combination - paper lanterns. Jealousy is still burning inside this friendship - the narrator realizes that he will never have rest, the remains of love with never let him feel comfortable around this person. He's wondering why he keeps thinking about them - he accepts the fact that they are only friends, and yet he can't help the way he feels, because you can't tell your heart what to do.

- song meaning courtesy of GreekStinkBreath.net

Now I rest my head from
Such an endless dreary time
A time of hopes and happiness
That had you on my mind
Those days are gone and now it seems
As if I'll get some rest
But now and then I'll see you again
And it puts my heart to the test

So when are all my troubles going to end?
I'm understanding now that
We are only friends
To this day I'm asking why
I still think about you

As the days go on I wonder
"Will this ever end?"
I find it hard to keep control
When you're with your boyfriend
I do not mind if all I am
Is just a friend to you
But all I want to know right now
Is if you think about me too...?

So when are all my troubles going to end?
I'm understanding now that
We are only friends
To this day I'm asking why
I still think about you

2. Why Do You Want Him?

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Rating: 3.2/5. From 39 votes. Show votes.
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This is Armstrong's first song, he wrote it at the age of 14. This was his way to express his feelings about his mother's new partner - a person that he and his siblings had a strong dislike of.

The author believes that his mother is obsessed with this man, while he doesn't care about her that much and hurts her with his indifference. And so the author is asking why she still wants him when everyone else has already realized that he's not worth her tears or even her attention.

Another interpretation involves feelings of the author's mother towards her first husband - a love that she lost. She can't forget him, "his memory will always dwell" and she still cries over losing a person she truly loved. And now that she has this new partner, she's wondering whether it's okay to fall in love again, whether it would mean betraying her love towards her late husband. And when she decides to dive deep into this relationship she drowns her sorrow in it, gets blinded and might not see that this person she is now with is not as good as he might seem.

- song meaning courtesy of GreekStinkBreath.net

I saw you standing alone
With a sad look on your face
You call him on the phone
Looks like he left you
Without a trace
Tears falling out of your eyes
He's living in a disguise
You've been feeling bad for so long
You wonder if it's right or wrong

Why Do You Want Him?

Now many days have gone by
And you still just sit there and cry
You're feeling bad for yourself
His memory will always dwell
You're so obsessed with his love
That's why push came to shove
You've been feeling bad for so long
You wonder if it's right or wrong

Why Do You Want Him?

You find a way out...
To throw it all the way
But you can bet...
You got something to say

Why Do You Want Him?

3. 409 In Your Coffeemaker

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Rating: 4.0/5. From 38 votes. Show votes.
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"409 was a song about dropping out of school. I remember thinking I hit a new level of honesty with that song. Maybe even a sense of freedom. Sometimes I wish 409 and Paper Lanterns (were) on Kerplunk. Slappy was a good era but Tre plays the shit out of those songs."

- Billie Joe Armstrong

It's interesting that the name of the song doesn't have much to do with its lyrics. "409" is a degreaser disinfectant cleaner. Supposedly, while at school, Armstrong added the liquid to his teacher's coffee. So, the name of the song is probably the expression of the student's desire to finally do something that's fun instead of just listen to the same boring stuff from the teacher. It could also bear a certain amount of anger vibes flying teachers' way.

The lyrics of the song actually have a much deeper meaning than just whining about how boring school can be. The author is wondering in his in-class daydream whether it's his fault that he can't succeed in studying or it is just because he is not meant to. So many creative people have problems with the perfect order of the planned out "syllabi" education system. They are forced to follow the rules and do exactly as they are told, while their minds are reaching out for other goals. The creative twist of their minds is straightened out by strict school requirements; kids are told that they are simply too lazy and uncommitted...and after a while, they start believing it.

Moreover, the song says that school doesn't always help you choose your path in life, doesn't ask you what you want to be in the future - it simply pushes you onto a certain road that is considered good for you. And if your interests and goals don't fit into the predetermined scheme, a school for you may end up being a waste of time and an eternal reason for wondering where you have gone wrong.

- song meaning courtesy of GreekStinkBreath.net

I sit in the state of a daydream
With all of your words flying over my head
Even more time gets wasted
In a daze

It should seem obvious to you
Your screams and cries are never going to work
And all of your time gets wasted
In my daze

And I'm looking back now
At where I have gone wrong
And why I could not seem to get along
My interests are longing
To break from these chains
These chains that control
My future's aim

I sit in the state of a daydream
With all of your words flying over my head
Even more time gets wasted
In a daze

Maybe I'm just too damn lazy
Or maybe I was just brainwashed to think that way
And all of your time gets wasted
In my daze

And I'm looking back now
At where I have gone wrong
And why I could not seem to get along
My interests are longing
To break through these chains
These chains that control
My future's aim

I'm looking back now
At where I have gone wrong
And why I could not seem, could not seem to get along

And I'm looking back now
At where I have gone wrong
And why I could not seem to get along
My interests are longing
To break from these chains
These chains that control
My future's aim

4. Knowledge

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Rating: 3.7/5. From 46 votes. Show votes.
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The song relates to the feeling of uncertainty in our career paths and how we are only limited to the choices given to us by the people around us (wide open road of my future now, it’s looking fucking narrow). The author says how his job as a musician is not as easy as those who have a certain path and future in their careers by staying in education (I know that things are getting tougher when you can't get the top off from the bottom of the barrel). The author basically describes how he has to work his way to the top from the bottom all over again by leaving education whilst everyone else is far ahead, already on top of the barrel.

The author is sick of this and states how he doesn’t know what he wants to do when people keep telling him to decide. He’s told the people around him countless times that he will find a ‘proper job’ (just like as if I'm not going to change my mind) but people around him keep nagging him (Whatcha gonna do with yourself, boy better make up your mind...) without understanding his perspective on things and how he just wants to have fun with his life while he still can before diving into the world of jobs and interviews. He eventually stops caring and just makes up bullshit lies to feed the people around him so that they would leave him along and he can be in peace with what he feels happy doing (this time I got it all figured out: all I know is that I don't know nothing and that's fine).

- song meaning written by u/potlah on r/GreenDay

I know that things are getting tougher
When you can't get the top off from
the bottom of the barrel
Wide open road of my future now
It's looking fucking narrow

All I know is that I don't know
All I know is that I don't know nothing

We get taught to decide
Just like, as if, I'm not going to change my mind

All I know is that I don't know
All I know is that I don't know nothing

Whatcha gonna do with yourself
Boy better make up your mind
Whatcha gonna do with yourself
You're running out of time

All I know is that I don't know
All I know is that I don't know nothing
And that's fine

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