Sing It Out: Basket Case

The song we are looking at for this post is Basket Case, by the band Greenday, about the bands main singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, about his struggles with anxiety a couple of years before he was diagnosed with a panic disorder.

Green Day is an American punk rock band, that was formed in 1986, and consists of Billie Joe Armstrong as lead vocalist, bassist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tre Cool who replaced former drummer, John Kiffmeyer.

Basket Case focuses on Armstrong’s experiences with anxiety attacks, and the overwhelming feeling of not knowing what is happening to you. Armstrong has been quoted saying that he thought he was going crazy, and that question pops up numerous times in the song. The lyrics explain how someone experiencing anxiety feels, and that it feels like your mind is playing tricks on you. You don’t know what to believe, or if you are just being paranoid about the whole thing. The simplistic lyrics make the story being told easy to follow, and attempts to explain the struggles Armstrong went through. The title of the song is slang for someone who’s mentally unstable, and couldn’t really function is everyday society.

For the video, which is in an actual mental institution, was originally shot in black and white. Colour was added later on, which adds to the songs overall appeal. The location was requested by the band, and was actually an abandoned hospital that still had clients information lying around when they went in to film.

Basket Case was the third single released from the band’s third album, Dookie, and was their breakout hit.


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