Green Day “¡Uno!” Album Review

“Shut your mouth / cause you talk too much / and I don’t give a fuck anyway,” snarls lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day during the song, “Let Yourself Go,” off Green Day’s latest album, “¡Uno!” The band’s ninth studio album is the first in their upcoming trilogy of albums to be released within four months. “¡Dos!” comes out on Nov. 13 and “¡Tre!” on Jan. 15, 2013. Though it doesn’t hold the same weight as classic Green Day releases, “¡Uno!” certainly manages to give you a good time over its relatively short 42 minutes.

The disc opens in a flurry with the urgent, 60s tinged “Nuclear Family.” Lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong threatens continually over Mike Dirnt’s wobbly bass that “Like a nuclear bomb it won’t be long ’til I detonate.” The song ends with an ominous countdown from 10 to the consumption of all of us. Alternatively, the line “Drinking angel’s piss / gonna crash and burn,” marks it as the party starter for the album. Needless to say, it kicks off the album with a bang.

The songs “Stay the Night,” and “Carpe Diem” continue the amped up atmosphere. Armstrong cries out in the latter, “I haven’t got much time so I’ll get to the point / Do you want to share a ride and get the fuck out of this joint?” while proclaiming in the next, “Carpe Diem a battle cry / aren’t we all too young to die?”

“Let Yourself Go,” as the aforementioned lyric indicates, is the album’s most energetic track, blistering through nearly three minutes, seemingly in a charge to rid the world of those who talk but say nothing. Following in a similar frame of mind but completely different style is “Kill the DJ.” The song invokes a funk sound not heard from the band before, with the intention to shut up political gridlock and get something done. The song is a bit too repetitive for complete effectiveness, but is certainly an interesting style change.

The album drops off a bit here, for however catchy “Fell for You” is, the lyrics are a bit sophomoric. “Loss of Control” is a bit better, but while its verses have the signature bitter lyrics such as “I’m hangin out all by myself/at least I’m good company,” the song really is a bit out of control with its repetitiveness and lack of imagination.

The album picks back up with the clap-along, dancy and clever “Troublemaker,” which is also a notable style difference for the band, and the fast paced “Angel Blue” that gives sympathy to teenage love troubles (coming from a 40-year-old man, no less). “Sweet 16” echoes that sentiment, but in tribute form for Armstrong as he recalls his teenage love with a solid vocal performance.

The album’s highlight comes with “Rusty James,” a bitter farewell to Green Day’s old peers who resented them for “selling out” to a major label yet never achieved success themselves or died off quickly. Armstrong acrimoniously calls out this hypocrisy with the lines “So long/didn’t even say goodnight/So long/there’s nowhere to go when you’re hiding in plain sight,” while bassist Dirnt wails a longing cry for the past in the background.

The album, in reflection, stands only partially well as a whole, lacking some edge Green Day is known for—though it’s refreshing in its lack of blatant political agenda and has some of the most “fun” Green Day songs since the 90s. It doesn’t mean it’s not a solid set of songs—just not great. The last song “Oh Love,” while lacking much might as a lead single, bitterly resents the album’s end, with Armstrong seemingly prophesying the next album as a step up beyond more simplistic tunes, as he yearns “Oh lights and action/I just can’t be satisfied.” Knowing the ambitiousness of Green Day, fans should be excited for “¡Dos!”—but for now at least more satisfied than Armstrong.

3.5/5 Stars

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