Posted on 11 December 2012 by Jonathan Williams
Originally scheduled for a January 2013 release, the final chapter in Green Day‘s new trilogy is out a month early. As was the case with ¡Uno! (read my review here) and ¡Dos! (read my review here), ¡Tré! shows the band simultaneously getting back to basics and exploring refreshingly different (at least for Green Day) sonic territories.
What sets ¡Tré! apart from its two predecessors is its simplicity. While ¡Uno! and ¡Dos! celebrated the pop predictability and punk pride that launched Green Day’s career in the ’90s, both albums were unintentionally ambitious. And I don’t mean ambitious in the politically-charged rock opera sense that went along with American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. Quite the opposite, actually. Instead ¡Uno! and ¡Dos! felt like they took the band in different directions because the band was willing to just see what happened rather than creating a highly structured aural arrangement.
Where ¡Uno! favors the bands more rambunctious side and ¡Dos! leans towards Green Day’s folk and garage rock influences, ¡Tré! is a more consistent record with slightly more fleshed-out songs and cleverly tongue-in-cheek lyricism. “Brutal Love,” with its doo-wop-like composition, provides an apt prelude to the punk pacing that follows. It’s easy to envision the members of the band snickering at their prank-like pregnant pause that follows the first few guitar strums of “8th Avenue Serenade,” and “Drama Queen,” with its chorus of “She’s old enough to bleed now,” is probably one of the funniest coming-of-age songs ever written (as is “X-Kid”).
“Sex, Drugs & Violence” and “Amanda” are filled with Green Day’s classic sarcasm and sneering rock ‘n’ roll attitude. “Dirty Rotten Bastard” is a rollicking drinking song not unlike the Irish punk of the Dropkick Murphys. And ¡Tré! ends with “The Forgotten,” a rock ballad that brings the album full circle. Now that Green Day has finished this simplistically excessive undertaking, it will be interesting to see what the band has in store for us next. If it’s anything like these three albums, it should be a lot of fun.
Posted on 13 November 2012 by Jonathan Williams
Not quite two months ago, Green Day began what could be its most ambitious musical project to date with the release of ¡Uno!, the first in a trilogy of back-to-basics albums (read my review here). The second installment, aptly titled ¡Dos!, continues down the chronological path towards January’s ¡Tré! with another set of bouncy, sugary-sweet punk rock blasts that sound like a band gladly reliving its youth rather than becoming jaded and uninspired as it grows older.
The solo acoustic stylings of lead-off track “See You Tonight” might indicate this album is going to explore Green Day’s folkier side (which the band has previously done well on 2000’s Warning and Nimrod‘s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”). But ¡Dos! quickly reveals itself to be just as energetic as anything the band has previously released. “Wild One” sounds like a mature sequel to “She,” with its calm refrains about a seemingly doomed obsession with a potentially crazy girl. “Makeout Party” is a fast-paced, rollicking rock ‘n’ roll good time while “Stray Heart” has an almost rockabilly feel.
“Ashley” picks things back up with another exciting ode to the virtues of bad girls and “Lady Cobra” takes a few garage rock cues from the White Stripes‘ “Fell in Love with a Girl.” “Nightlife” is the biggest surprise on ¡Dos!, with it’s electro beats and lurid lyricism from Mystic Knights of the Cobra‘s Lady Cobra juxtaposed with bits of dark twang. And “Amy” (a tribute to Amy Winehouse) bookends ¡Dos! with another Elvis Costello-like acoustic pop solo from Billie Joe Armstrong.
Posted on 25 September 2012 by Jonathan Williams
You’d think it would be hard for Green Day to top it’s last two rock operas, 2004’s American Idiot and 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown. But, nope, the one-time underground punk band looks to top those grandiose efforts with yet another ambitious project, a trilogy of albums and eventual box set) beginning with ¡Uno! (¡Dos! is scheduled to be released in November and ¡Tré! comes out in January).
¡Uno! sees the band returning to the its punk rock roots while also expanding into other sonic realms. But not in the same way it has on the last two albums, which maintained the band’s punchy stylings while venturing into more elaborate structuring reminiscent of The Who and Queen. This time around, Green Day takes a simpler approach that ends up sounding more like Cheap Trick-style pop than the edgier Buzzcocks/Sex Pistols stylings of earlier releases. But Green Day’s music has always been catchy, so it was probably pretty easy to step away from the concept albums and get back to recording fast-paced pop songs (which is probably why the band was able to produce three albums in such a short period of time).
“Nuclear Family” has the sarcasm and staccato of something off the band’s 2000 Warning release while “Let Yourself Go” has an anthemic AC/DC quality. “Kill the DJ” has a touch of Jet/Franz Ferdniand-like garage rock as well as a catchy ’80s dance vibe. “Sweet 16,” like a few other songs here, is basically a pop rock ballad, which actually suits Green Day’s subversive sneer (especially since there still seems to be an underlying middle finger that binds the entire album).
If ¡Uno! is any indication of what ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! will have to offer (they are meant to be one cohesive work, after all), then Green Day has plenty more pop punk where all this came from. But don’t let the simplicity fool you. The last two albums may have been presented as three structured acts, but composing three entire albums can’t be any easier (thought it sounds like it’s just as fun).
Posted on 26 April 2011 by Jonathan Williams
With its last two albums, 2004’s American Idiot and 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown (and the recent American Idiot Broadway musical), Green Day has become one of contemporary rock’s most entertaining and opinionated bands. Regardless of where you stand in the ongoing debate of how punk the band is, there’s no denying the talent and charisma that has gone into these rock operas. And anyone who saw the band’s live show during its 2009-2010 21st Century Breakdown World Tour knows that there is still something akin to punk rock energy in the band’s explosive performances backed by over-the-top stage antics and visual displays.
Featuring tracks recorded during this tour, Awesome As F**k captures that energy, which has now crossed generational barriers as well as geographic ones. Though you wouldn’t be able to tell it by the cohesiveness of this live album, each of the 17 tracks on Awesome As F**k was recorded at a different show, with locales ranging from Glasgow and Berlin to New York and Brisbane. While the album is heavy on newer material, including “21st Century Breakdown,” “21 Guns,” “American Idiot” and “Know Your Enemy” (the current theme song for WWE‘s Friday night SmackDown show on Syfy), there are also some older favorites such as “Burnout,” “When I Come Around,” “She” and the previously unreleased “Cigarettes and Valentines,” one of several lost tracks recorded between 2000’s Warning and American Idiot.
One thing that is apparent on Awesome As F**k is Green Day’s (and particularly front man Billie Joe Armstrong’s) love for performing and entertaining the fans. Thankfully missing from the album, however, is the extended medley of Benny Hill-like inanity that tends to erupt during the band’s performances of “King for a Day,” which includes an extended cover of the Isley Brothers’ “Shout.” Without that, Awesome As F**k extracts only the high points of a live Green Day experience, leaving the other tomfoolery for those who actually made it to one of the shows.
The live CD was released by Reprise Records on March 22 with an accompanying DVD recorded in Japan that matches up almost track-for-track with the CD, with the addition of the band’s cover of The Who’s “My Generation” and the same Phoeniz, Ariz. recording of “Cigarettes and Valetines” that appears on the CD. A pink vinyl version was also released on Adeline Records on April 26 that includes an exclusive T-shirt.
For more information, go to www.greenday.com.