When I Come Around
Billie Joe Armstrong needs some space to figure out what's going on in his relationship with his girlfriend in the first-rate "When I Come Around."
Opening with a sulky riff which leads right to the first verse. Armstrong's girlfriend has been sobbing over their recent break-up. His girlfriend believes he's the right guy for her. He tells her to stop crying. The break-up is only temporary. He's hanging out in his backyard, thinking and knowing his girlfriend won't put with his angsty behavior for long. ("I heard you crying loud/
all the way across town/You've been searching for that someone/and it's me out on the prowl/
As you sit around feeling sorry for yourself/Don't get lonely now/And dry your whining eyes/
I'm just roaming for the moment/Sleazin' my backyard so don't get so uptight/you been thinking about ditching me.")
In the chorus, he tells her she won't have to research or hire someone to find him. He'll be in his usual spots. He'll eventually speak to her again. ("No time to search the world around/Cause you know where I'll be found/When I come around.")
He blames himself for the break-up. He knows her encouragement speech by heart. He's doesn't have a future and he manipulates people to get what he wants. He doesn't need to hear from anyone who's hurt that he's an awful person. He knows it already. He tells his girlfriend she can do whatever she chooses. But he wants her to make smart decisions. She may learn the doubts she had about herself were nonexistent. He also notes that if they are not in love with each other, why pretend the feeling is there? ("I heard it all before/So don't knock down my door/I'm a loser and a user so I don't need no accuser/to try and slag me down because I know I'm right/So go do what you like/Make sure you do it wise/You may find out that your self-doubt means nothing was ever there/You can't go forcing something if it's just not right.")
The chorus is sung twice to end the single.
Like a majority of Green Day songs, the song is actually smarter than it appears to be. The lead characters in Green Day's songs are three-dimensional, specifically in this one. The teenager is dating a girl but tries to understand why she would want to be with him. During their break, he considers his future to her and what his may be like. He puts himself down. While there may some hint of truth in it, it appears to be self-loathing.
Green Day would later trump "Dookie" with their "American Idiot" as their best album. But the single here shows the maturity that was developing.