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"

"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 on 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, a departure for the band. "Kill the DJ" was compared to The Clash albums Sandinista! (1980) and Combat Rock (1982), as well as the output of the band The Rapture. "Kill the DJ" was based on "static and noise"; it was an "imagery of waterboarding and torture straight into the dance club". The song appeared on charts worldwide and received mixed reviews from critics.

Production and release[edit]

Green Day began to record material for the albums ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! on February 14, 2012.[1] During the sessions, Mike Dirnt asked the frontman Billie Joe Armstrong to write a song with a "four-on-the-floor" rhythm.[2] After the release of "Oh Love", the lead single from the album trilogy on July 16, 2012,[3] the band revealed the artwork of "Kill the DJ" during a press release on July 30, 2012.[4] The band performed the song eight days ahead of its release at a secret show held at the Echoplex on August 6, 2012.[5]

BBC Radio 1 presenter Zane Lowe played the censored version of "Kill the DJ" on August 13, 2012.[6] The next day, the single was made available on the iTunes Store.[7] The song's accompanying music video premiered on YouTube on September 4, 2012,[8] to coincide with the release of the album trilogy's third single "Let Yourself Go" on September 5.[9] A teaser was previously uploaded on the channel on August 29, 2012.[10]

Theme and composition[edit]

The sample contains a guitar-based, dance-punk melody with repetition of lines which was described to be "spikier" musically and "barbed" lyrically than the predecessor "Oh Love"[11]

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"Kill the DJ" is a dance-punk song that Armstrong states is 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!, Ian Dury's "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll" by and Tom Tom Club's "Genius of Love".[2][11]

The band said that while producing the song, they attempted to find out "how to make dance music" without turning themselves into a dance act.[2] Armstrong said it was the first time the band had written a dance song.[2] Michael Roffman of Consequence of Sound compared the song with the works of The Rapture and The Clash's 1982 album, Combat Rock; he said it was "strictly for basement dancefloors everywhere".[12] 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".[13] He told Rolling Stone 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".[2][8][14]

Todd Martens of Los Angeles Times wrote that the word DJ in "Kill the DJ" does not signify a real DJ but another figure. He compared "Kill the DJ" to "The Static Age", a song on Green Day's album 21st Century Breakdown (2009), which was "a foaming-at-the-mouth guitar rant that everyone—pundits, politicians, celebrities—should stop babbling and shut up".[8] 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".[8]


The band revealed the artwork of "Kill the DJ" on their website on July 30, 2012.[4] The cover art follows the style of those of ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré!.[4] It depicts a white stereo radio-cassette recorder with two skulls in place of speakers. The skulls are black with pink crosses across the their eyes in a similar style to the artwork used on the ecovers of ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré!. Above the stereo is the green text "Green Day"; "Kill the DJ" is written below the stereo in white text overlaying a dark background, which shows contrast between dark-pink and black shades. "Green Day" is written in green and is against the striped, blue-and-black background.[4]

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", and all the videos for their album American Idiot.[14][15] The band announced the release of the clip; a teaser video was uploaded to their YouTube channel on August 29, 2012.[16] The teaser video featured several scenes from the video and a brief sample of the ending of the track.[10] The full video premiered on September 4, 2012.[8] 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 members walk through the club while others dance.[14] As they perform in the club, two young women fight and some bottles are broken.[14] Near the end, both women have a "bloodbath"; they are depicted with blood on their faces and clothes while they continue to dance.[17]

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.[18] Jack Brad, writing for Hive Magazine, said the song was a "fun and funky" track showcasing a different musical direction for the band. He also said it encompassed a "catchy melody and ... infectious chorus" that proves the band was capable of experimenting with new musical styles on every new production, citing Warning (2000) and Nimrod (1997) as examples.[19] Gigwise said "Kill the DJ"'s music video was not as violent as previous clips by the band; it said, "those who attended the band's brilliant Reading Festival set in August will testify" that things can get more violent than scenes in the video.[20]

David Greenwald of Billboard magazine described "Kill the DJ" as a "profanity-laced and Clash-channeling" track.[21] Zara Golden of VH1 said of the video, "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."[22] Todd Martens of Los Angeles Times, criticizing the single, said, "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".[8] Alex Young, writing for Consequence of Sound said the opening clips of the band driving motorbikes were irrelevant. Young said, "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".[23]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2012) Peak
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[24] 12
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[25] 18
South Korea (Gaon International Chart)[26] 12
UK Singles Chart[27] 110


  1. ^ Montgomery, James (February 15, 2012). "Green Day Start Recording New Album". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved June 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Fricke, David (June 20, 2012). "Q&A: Billie Joe Armstrong on Green Day's Album Trilogy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ Maloy, Sarah. "Green Day Debuts 'Oh Love' Single: Listen". Billboard (magazine). Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Kill the DJ — Artwork". Green Day. Retrieved July 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Green Day Play New Songs at Surprise Gig". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ Lowe, Zane. "Hottest Record — Green Day — Kill The DJ". BBC. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ Bychawski, Adam (August 14, 2015). "Green Day unveil new single 'Kill The DJ' – listen". NME. Retrieved November 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Martens, Todd (September 4, 2012). "The problems with Green Day's 'Kill the DJ'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  9. ^ Grabert, Jessica. "Green Day's New Track Let Yourself Go Drops A Few F-Bombs". cinemablend. Pop blend. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b Bird, Michael (August 29, 2012). "Green Day release “Kill The DJ” video teaser". Alternative Press. Retrieved November 10, 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Hogan, Marc (August 14, 2012). "Hear Green Day’s Dance-Punk ‘Kill the DJ’ in Spiky Studio Form". Spin (magazine). Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  12. ^ "New Music: Green Day – "Kill The DJ" « Consequence of Sound". Consequence of Sound. August 13, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  13. ^ Hohnen, Mike. "Listen: Green Day Release 2nd Single ‘Kill The DJ’". Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c d Rahman, Ray. "Green Day crash a rave in their new 'Kill the DJ' video". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  15. ^ Sarah Maloy (August 16, 2012). "Green Day Parties With Models in 'Oh Love' Video: Watch — Viral Videos". Billboard. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  16. ^ "COMING SOON: GREEN DAY'S "KILL THE DJ" MUSIC VIDEO". The Warner Sound. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Green Day Have Bloody Fun in 'Kill the DJ'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Green Day, Muse and Foals included in Zane Lowe’s Hottest Tracks Of 2012 poll". NME. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  19. ^ Jack, Brad. "Green Day ‘Kill The D.J.’ Single Review". Hive Magazine. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  20. ^ Renshaw, David. "GREEN DAY CAUSE CAT FIGHT, RIDE BIKES IN 'KILL THE DJ' VIDEO". Gigwise. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  21. ^ Greenwald, David. "Green Day Hit the Road & the Club in 'Kill the DJ' Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  22. ^ Golden, Zara. "There Will Be Blood In Green Day’s "Kill The DJ" Video". VH1. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 
  23. ^ Young, Alex. "Video: Green Day – "Kill the DJ"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved September 11, 2012. 
  24. ^ " – Green Day – Kill The DJ" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  25. ^ " – Green Day – Kill The DJ" (in French). Ultratip.
  26. ^ "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. 
  27. ^ "Chart Log UK: New Entries Update". Zobbel. Retrieved September 9, 2012. 

External links[edit]