Green Day’s new album lacks appeal
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 23:09
While Green Day’s “¡Uno!,” released on September 25, is the first of a three-album trilogy set to be released over the next few months, little in this first installment will get listeners truly excited for “¡Dos!” or “¡Tré!.” The album consists largely of generic chord progressions that we’ve already heard on their previous albums and lyrics that are utterly uninspired. This being said, it gets much better with multiple listens.
“Dookie” and “American Idiot” were the first albums I ever bought on cassette and CD, respectively, and the two are often cited as the band’s best albums. However, while “Dookie” was the peak of Green Day’s stoner-punk phase and “American Idiot” their political punk-rock opera, “¡Uno!” doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. What frontman Billie Joe Armstrong meant in February when he called this “the most prolific and creative time in our lives... This is the best music we’ve ever written,” this reviewer does not know.
Green Day does not walk alone in the practice of album trilogies. Van Halen’s “Van Halen I,” “Van Halen II” and “Van Halen III” were recorded over several years, the last of the trilogy recorded nearly two decades after the previous. Unfortunately, Green Day wrote all of the songs for their trilogy over the course of a few short months, and it shows. Some songs, such as “Rusty James” and “Loss Of Control,” sound like the sort of material Green Day may have once written and then scrapped. In this case, it appears that they eliminated nothing.
The album does have a set of three of songs that save it from complete disaster, however. “Carpe Diem” harmonizes with the YOLO theme of today’s youth as Armstrong, now 40, asks “Carpe diem, a battle cry; are we all too young to die?” Also worthwhile is “Nuclear Family,” in which it is apparent that drummer Tre Cool and bassist Mike Dirnt can still push some of today’s best pop-punk, high-energy music. Finally, “Troublemaker” is easily the best track on the album, complete with a real, genuine guitar riff. However, these three tracks aren’t enough to carry the album on their own.
Some of the music on the album is completely unlike Green Day, such as “Kill the DJ.” Fans of Green Day’s alter ego, the Foxboro Hot Tubs, will enjoy this track for its retro-inspired distortions and nostalgic tune. Additionally, the most popular single, “Oh Love,” sounds rather unlike the Green Day of yesteryear. The song is far too repetitive and even lacks the mass appeal that “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” had in 2004 that could save it.
It is clear that either Green Day is getting too old for the punk show, or more likely that they should have spent more time on the album. The future of the trilogy isn’t terribly bright right now.