Green Day :: What Happened

Okay, I resisted writing this for a while. I really love writing about new up and coming bands and there is more than enough press on Green Day. But, for some reason with every article I read about Billie Joe’s douchebaggery, the stronger my need to vent became.

Let me start off with the statement: I like Green Day. There was even a time when I kind of loved Green Day. I was a kid of the 90s. So when Dookie exploded I was right in the middle.

Always a rock and roll kid, Dookie was right up my alley. I think I was in 6th or 7th grade when it came out, a few years before I ever went to my first punk show. So from the get go Green Day was a rock band to me, just the same as Nirvana. So, even though I fell in love with 10,000 Slappy Hours and Kerplunk (and the whole Lookout catalogue for that matter), they weren’t ever really punk band in my head. But in reality, up to that point, they were a punk band, their Lookout releases were manic pop punk greatness and Dookie andInsomniac embodied that thrashy harder sound that we call punk. I enjoyed the rock / alternative vibe of Nimrod and love the stripped down sound of Warning (I will argue the amazing merits of this album with anyone.). American Idiot was one of the few albums I bought without hearing anything from it, and was not disappointed afterwards. Then there was the stunningly beautiful cover of Working Class Hero for an Amnesty International comp. And then came the end of an era.

Twenty First Century Breakdown has a few good tracks, but overall sounds like American Idiot B sides. American Idiot: The Musical was an unrealized production. All the elements were there, yet the story never went deep enough, and audiences were left with a superficial idea of punk and a super convoluted message.

From the interviews that happened around the time of American Idiot: The Musical Green Day started to get on my nerves. Yeah, it is super cool that they were given the opportunity to create a Broadway musical, I actually think that doing it was a pretty punk rock move (disclaimer, I am a huge fan of Broadway). But this is when they started to sound a bit obnoxious, a bit pretentious, and a bit like they were buying into their own hype a bit too much. They started to sound like a band who forgot the artistic process and forgot what it was like to struggle and work, the elements that made Green Day such a special band.

So, with the announcement of a new album in the works, I was excited. With the announcement that it would be a triple disk release, I was a bit skeptical. Really? Three disks worth of music? Can any of it be that good? It was then instantly pushed to the back of my mind until I got the presale email. The first single, Oh, Love was pretty damned good, so I figured I would check out what the presale had to offer. The link took me to a page with several different “bundles”, okay, I get it, they are trying a marketing thing, but I am not 15 years old and do not need t-shirts, dvds, and fan club memberships along with my record. I’ll just take the music, thanks. Nowhere on the whole giant internet could I find a preorder of the cds or records or mp3s. I must admit I didn’t look that hard, I looked on Green Day’s site, Amazon, and a few other usual suspects. I left it at that, and forgot about it again, until I got another email. Okay, last chance, their site still was hanging on to those bundles, but at least Amazon had cd and mp3 options.  Though I am a diehard physical album (or cd) type person, the digital album was $5 and hell, they were still irritating me at this point.

So. The album. ¡Uno!. Some of it is pretty okay, the first track, Nuclear Family and Rusty James are listenable, Angel Blue has an authentic Green Day sound, Sweet 16 is a beautifully sad ballad, and the clear highlight of the album is the single, Oh Love.

The rest of the album is filled with bland power pop songs, awkward forced vulgarities (at this point saying motherfucker doesn’t get you more punk points, Billie Joe), name dropping liquor brands like they are rappers, and really Kill the DJ is complete garbage.

I have only listened to this album twice before writing this, which is totally depressing to me, someone who often times has Green Day days where all the previous albums are played in order (even Twenty First Century Breakdown if I am in a slack mood. At least that album has some great lyrics.) Sadly, ¡Uno! will never make it into the rotation.

I know that ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! came out a while ago, but I can’t even muster up the effort to Google them to find the streams. I can’t help thinking that if there was a handful of good track on each of those albums, that they could have made a solid one album release.

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