So let me set something straight—I consider myself a pretty big Green Day fan. I’ve defended the band when people said they sucked, and I still think that their lyrical themes are far more honest than those of many other artists out there; a lot of their previous work is underrated. That being said, their latest installment “¡Dos!,” the second in a trilogy of albums, is one of the weakest albums they have ever released. Not to say there isn’t a handful of decent material on the disc, but the overall content quality I’ve come to expect from Green Day has certainly been downgraded.
The lyrics of “¡Dos!” are what set this album apart as contrived, and although the album effectively conveys the party atmosphere that lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong described, the final product is a bit bland. Despite the semi-interesting look at the overwhelmingly trashy vibe at parties in “Makeout Party,” the lines “Do you wanna spin a bottle, play a game of chicken? / Well, it’s a tongue twister ‘til your lips are bleeding,” don’t sound particularly authentic coming out of 40-year-old’s mouth. “Nightlife” offers possibly the worst lyrics of Armstrong’s career, as feature artist Lady Cobra raps, “Gonna make a move before I get bored / If you wanna explore my vocal cord,” with all the intensity of eighth grade poetry.
Though the music is not particularly innovative, it does well in showing off the stylings of Green Day’s garage rock alter ego, The Foxboro Hot Tubs, with a sense of edgy fun and amped up guitars; however, the few highlights of “¡Dos!” vary in style. The deeply personal “Lazy Bones” is particularly striking in light of the recent drunken tantrum that landed Armstrong in rehab; he sings, “I don’t want your sympathy, I don’t want your honesty / I just want to get some peace of mind,” over a deafening driving guitar with strong back-up vocals from bassist Mike Dirnt. In contrast, “Stray Heart” is a simple, yearning doo-wop number with a bite that steals its bass-line from the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love.” The album closer “Amy” is a tender acoustic tribute to late singer Amy Winehouse, in which Armstrong laments lost life and talent.
What we really end up with is a very imbalanced album that packs only a small amount of punch. Sure, its sleazy fun does alright for a while, but this is the same band that made anxiety problems (“Basket Case”) and being a cranky old man (“The Grouch”) sound fun—or at least put some perspective behind them. Expect more from this band, and here’s to hoping the trilogy closer “¡Tre!” doesn’t disappoint.
Rating: 3 Stars