Kill the DJ

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"Kill the DJ"
Single by Green Day
from the album ¡Uno!
Released August 14, 2012 (2012-08-14)
Format Digital download
Recorded February 14 (14-02)–June 26, 2012 (2012-06-26) at Jingletown Studios in Oakland, California
Genre Dance-punk
Length 3:43
Label Reprise, Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Billie Joe Armstrong / Green Day
Producer(s) Rob Cavallo, Green Day
Green Day singles chronology
"Oh Love"
"Kill the DJ"
"Let Yourself Go"
¡Uno! track listing
Music video
"Kill the DJ" on YouTube

"Kill the DJ" is a song by the American punk rock band Green Day. It was released as the second single from the band's ninth studio album, ¡Uno!, on August 14, 2012. The song was recorded at Jingletown Studios from February 14 to June 26, 2012, and was released under the record labels Reprise Records and Warner Bros. A music video, directed by Samuel Bayer, was released on September 4, 2012.

The song takes influences from dance music, something that Green Day had never done before, and was compared to The Clash albums Sandinista! (1980) and Combat Rock (1982), as well as the band The Rapture. "Kill the DJ" was based on "static and noise" and it was an "imagery of waterboarding and torture straight into the dance club".[1] The song appeared on charts worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics.

Background and release[edit]

Green Day began to record material for ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! on February 14, 2012.[2] During the sessions, Mike Dirnt asked the frontman Billie Joe Armstrong to write a song with a "four-on-the-floor" rhythm.[3] After the release of "Oh Love" as the lead single from the album on July 16, 2012,[4] the band revealed the artwork of "Kill the DJ" during a press release on July 30, 2012.[5] The song was performed eight days ahead of its release on a secret show held at the Echoplex on August 6, 2012.[6] BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe played the censored version of "Kill the DJ" on August 13, 2012.[7] The next day, the single was made available on the iTunes Store.[8] The accompanying music video for the song premiered on YouTube on September 4, 2012[1][9] to coincide with the release of the third single "Let Yourself Go" on September 5.[10] A teaser was previously uploaded on the channel on August 29, 2012.[11]

Theme and composition[edit]

The sample contains a guitar-based, dance-punk melody with repetition of lines

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Kill the DJ" is a dance-punk song considered by Armstrong as being close to "straight-up dance music" with a "four-on-the-floor" rhythm; he compared the overall production of the song to The Clash's 1980 album, Sandinista!, as well as "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" by Ian Dury and "Genius of Love" by Tom Tom Club.[3][12]

The band stated that while producing the song, they tried to figure out "how to make dance music" without turning themselves into a dance act.[3] Armstrong claimed this as the first time the band had written a dance song.[3] Michael Roffman of Consequence of Sound compared the song with the works of The Rapture and The Clash's 1982 album, Combat Rock, by stating that it was "strictly for basement dancefloors everywhere."[13] According to Armstrong, the lyrics of "Kill the DJ" can be considered as "a sweeping political statement" rather than being interpreted as "a comment on electronic music figures."[14] He told Rolling Stone that the song is about "static and noise... Like this government cannot, will not, agree with itself. They refuse to make it work. Right, left—it doesn’t matter. It blows your mind and pisses you off. It’s a song about being drunk, going through this chaos, feeling fucked up and all you want to do is get more drunk".[1][3][15]

Todd Martens of Los Angeles Times wrote that the word DJ in "Kill the DJ" does not signify a real DJ but some different figure. He compared "Kill the DJ" to a song on 21st Century Breakdown (2009), "The Static Age", which was "a foaming-at-the-mouth guitar rant that everyone—pundits, politicians, celebrities—should stop babbling and shut up."[1] He added, "['Kill the DJ'] drops some cursory nods to war and religion in the opening bars, but soon brings the imagery of waterboarding and torture straight into the dance club."[1]


The band revealed the artwork of "Kill the DJ" on July 30, 2012, on their website.[5] The cover art follows the style of those of ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré!.[5] It features a white stereo in the middle with two skull heads on the left and right as speakers. The skulls are black, while the crosses on their eyes are pink; similar style of artwork had been used in ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré!. "Green Day" is written on top of the stereo in green font and "Kill the DJ" is written below the stereo in white.[5] "Kill the DJ" is written on the floor, which shows contrast between dark-pink and black shades. "Green Day" is written in green and is against the background of shades of blue and black stripes.[5]

Music video[edit]

The accompanying music video for "Kill the DJ" was directed by Green Day's longtime collaborator Samuel Bayer, who previously directed the clip for the band's previous single, "Oh Love", as well as all the videos shot for their American Idiot studio album.[15][16] The band announced the release of the clip, and a teaser video was uploaded to their YouTube channel on August 29, 2012.[17][18] The teaser video featured several scenes from the video while playing a snippet of the song from the ending part of the track.[11] The full video premiered on September 4, 2012.[1][9] The video starts with a black-and-white clip of the band riding motorcycles through a desert and finding their way into a nightclub. The band walks through the club while others dance.[15] While they perform in the club, violence bursts out between two girls and some bottles get broken.[15] Near the end, both of the girls have a "bloodbath" and can be seen with blood on their faces and cloths while they continue to dance.[19]

Critical reception[edit]

"Kill the DJ" was included in Zane Lowe's Hottest Tracks of 2012; it finished second, while Calling by Sebastian Ingrosso and Alesso was first.[20] Jack Brad, writing for Hive Magazine, considered that the song was a "fun and funky" track showcasing a different musical direction for the band; he expanded by stating that it encompassed a "catchy melody and ... infectious chorus" that proven how the band was capable to experiment with new musical styles with every new production, citing Warning (2000) and Nimrod (1997) as examples of this achievement.[21] Gigwise argued that "Kill the DJ"'s music video was not as violent as previous clips by the band, stating that "those who attended the band's brilliant Reading Festival set in August will testify" that things can get more violent than what was expressed in it.[22]

David Greenwald of Billboard magazine described "Kill the DJ" as a "profanity-laced and Clash-channeling" track.[23] Zara Golden of VH1, talking about the video, states, "The hit is only a symbolic one, though, and the only real violence to be had here is a slaying guitar riff. Rather, this is an assault against the dubbed-out sound that seems to be dominating today’s air waves, Green Day’s own and only pretend bloody dubstep demolition".[24] Todd Martens of LA Times, criticizing the single stated that, "It's all played rather straight. 'I'll pick up what's left in the club,' Armstrong sings suspiciously, and the video released Tuesday doesn't do much to present the song as a statement."[1] Consequence of Sound mentioned that the clips of the band driving motorbikes in the initial part of the video were irrelevant, stated that: "There’s also a random scene of the band riding dirt bikes through the desert, which doesn't really make sense in the context of the video but seems like a good way to spend an excess video budget."[25]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[26] 12
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[27] 18
South Korea (Gaon International Chart)[28] 12
UK Singles Chart[29] 110


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Martens, Todd (September 4, 2012). "The problems with Green Day's 'Kill the DJ'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  2. ^ Montgomery, James (February 15, 2012). "Green Day Start Recording New Album". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved June 15, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Fricke, David (June 20, 2012). "Q&A: Billie Joe Armstrong on Green Day's Album Trilogy". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  4. ^ Maloy, Sarah. "Green Day Debuts 'Oh Love' Single: Listen". Billboard (magazine). Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Kill the DJ — Artwork". Green Day. Retrieved July 30, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Green Day Play New Songs at Surprise Gig". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  7. ^ Lowe, Zane. "Hottest Record — Green Day — Kill The DJ". BBC. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Kill the DJ — Single". iTunes. Apple inc. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Green Day — Kill The DJ [Official Video]". YouTube. Google. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  10. ^ Grabert, Jessica. "Green Day's New Track Let Yourself Go Drops A Few F-Bombs". cinemablend. Pop blend. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "Green Day — Kill The DJ [Official Music Video Teaser]". YouTube. Google. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  12. ^ Hogan, Marc (August 14, 2012). "Hear Green Day's Dance-Punk 'Kill the DJ' in Spiky Studio Form | SPIN | SPIN Mix | Songs". SPIN. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  13. ^ "New Music: Green Day – “Kill The DJ” « Consequence of Sound". August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  14. ^ Hohnen, Mike. "Listen: Green Day Release 2nd Single ‘Kill The DJ’". Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b c d Rahman, Ray. "Green Day crash a rave in their new 'Kill the DJ' video". Music Mix. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  16. ^ Sarah Maloy (August 16, 2012). "Green Day Parties With Models in 'Oh Love' Video: Watch — Viral Videos". Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Green Day". Twitter. Green Day. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  18. ^ "COMING SOON: GREEN DAY'S "KILL THE DJ" MUSIC VIDEO". The Warner Sound. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Green Day Have Bloody Fun in 'Kill the DJ'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Green Day, Muse and Foals included in Zane Lowe’s Hottest Tracks Of 2012 poll". NME. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  21. ^ Jack, Brad. "Green Day ‘Kill The D.J.’ Single Review". Hive Magazine. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  22. ^ Renshaw, David. "GREEN DAY CAUSE CAT FIGHT, RIDE BIKES IN 'KILL THE DJ' VIDEO". Gigwise. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  23. ^ Greenwald, David. "Green Day Hit the Road & the Club in 'Kill the DJ' Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  24. ^ Golden, Zara. "There Will Be Blood In Green Day’s "Kill The DJ" Video". Vh1. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  25. ^ Young, Alex. "Video: Green Day – "Kill the DJ"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  26. ^ " – Green Day – Kill The DJ" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  27. ^ " – Green Day – Kill The DJ" (in French). Ultratip.
  28. ^ "Search: Gaon International Download Chart — Issue date: 2012.08.19 - 2012.08.25". Gaon Chart. Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Chart Log UK: New Entries Update". Zobbel. Retrieved September 9, 2012.