Green Day saw a dip in its fan-following post 21st Century Breakdown when a lot of their hard-core fans decided it was time to stop being Green Day fans. Their time had come and Green Day had mercilessly sold out.
Post that there was Awesome as F**k, a live album which did bring a few like me back in to the fold. And then there was the most ridiculous sounding announcement ever. Green Day was working on a trilogy of albums named ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tre!. Many saw it as good news,others saw it as an overtly commercial move to milk Green Day’s remaining popularity.
Then ¡Uno! released.
At a time when Billie Joe is out there hurling abuses and comparing himself to Justin Bieber and then apologizing about it because of the nature of the music industry today, ¡Uno! here is an honest no holds barred album consisting of twelve songs that give you a feeling that you’ve been hearing them all your life. This isn’t your concept album Green Day (think American Idiot), this more like the Green Day that had once recorded the phenomenon now known as Dookie. ¡Uno! is the band’s first studio album in three years. Surely,there is a lot riding on it and according to me, they’ll create magic like they have usually done in the past.
The beauty of the album is that every song feels like a single and this is a good thing because that is what the band has historically been better at. The diverse influences of the band also show up everywhere; there are little tributes to The Smiths, The Who, U2, Beatles, Knacks, AC/DC, Jeff Beck and David Bowie sprinkled in certain songs of the album.
The singles (barring ‘Let Yourself Go’) that released off the album were not really the ones that give you the hit. The album should not be judged on the basis of ‘Oh Love’ and trust me, the other tracks take the album to a whole new level. The explosive power chords and overall madness in ‘Nuclear Family’ is classic Green Day. ‘Carpe Diem’ exudes immense adolescent impudence and also provides us with the most memorable chorus from the album. The truth is that all of the band members are now in their 40s, married, divorced and relatively older. That brings in some of the subtext strewn here and there, where they are ‘running out of time’ and becoming old when they are ‘too young to die’.
‘Rusty James’ is my other favourite which is named after a character from the book Rumble Fish (later a Coppola film). The song is about the group of people Green Day spent time with in their early years at 924 Gilman Street. The ‘last gang in town’ refers to the fact the band is still around while most of their early naysayers (read critics) have all gone.
This is the Green Day I love. They are now the good old punk lazybones with their awesome hooks, catchy choruses and direct lyrics. Yes, you will not find the politically aware punk rock messiahs in this album, but you will love it if you like anything that remotely resembles what punk rock used to be in the day. And a lot of people will say this is just another sell-out move by pretending to be what they used to be. But then again this is Green Day we are talking about – a band that had given voice to a generation, be it masturbation or anti-war whoopla. The trio – Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool and almost-Green Day member, Jason White are currently in top form musically speaking and hopefully this phenomenon of the return-to-the-basics will be seen in the two albums that are to come as well.