Insomniac is the fourth studio album by American rock band Green Day, released on October 10, 1995, by Reprise Records. It was recorded at Hyde Street in San Francisco, and the band prioritized high-energy takes during the recording sessions. Released as the follow-up to the band’s multi-platinum breakthrough Dookie, Insomniac featured a heavier and more “punk” sound, and bleaker lyrics than its predecessor. Lyrically, the album discusses themes such as alienation, anxiety, boredom, and drug use. Insomniac also served as a reaction to many early fans who had turned their backs on the band after it achieved mainstream success with Dookie.
Having previously met drummer Tré Cool, artist Winston Smith – best known for his artwork for Dead Kennedys – received an invitation to do the cover and welcomed the band to his studio. The trio got most interested in “Til Death Do Us Part”, a Smith defacement of a 1434 painting that became the center of the piece (namely, the violinist wearing an eye exam device and the angry woman next to him). [Genius]
The collage on the album cover […] is called God Told Me to Skin You Alive, a reference to Dead Kennedys first album, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. Interestingly enough, the cover art contains an image (the dentist) that was originally used in a collage featured in the insert booklet art of Dead Kennedys’ album Plastic Surgery Disasters. There are also three skulls on the entire album cover – one for each member of Green Day. One of the skulls requires you to view the piece at an angle. The hidden skull is taken from Hans Holbein’s 1533 painting The Ambassadors.
Another band shoutout was added in the transition from collage to album cover: while Smith had the blonde with a gun holding an acoustic guitar, Insomniac changed the instrument to Billie Joe Armstrong’s “Blue” guitar.
Design and typography by David Harlan. Art direction by Dirk Walter.