Review Summary: The highly-anticipated Green Day album "iUNO!" is here, whether we like it or not, and it's not all that bad.
The year is 2009. Green Day is about to release the much-anticipated 21st Century Breakdown
, the follow-up American Idiot
, to the album that gained them (arguably) the most fans. Fans of old and new wait for the release, eagerly fantasizing just what this new album may sound like. Finally, Breakdown
is released, garnering much love from critics yet dividing fans. What could have possibly gone wrong?! Well, everything.
Fast forward to 2012. The band known as Green Day announces something huge: they plan on releasing three full-length albums within the short span of 4 months. Fans rejoice momentarily and then think about it…this is surely going to be an interesting few months. Come July, Green Day releases the first single, “Oh Love,” to mixed reactions. Some love it, some hate it, and almost all call it uninspired.
When the first few singles were released for "Uno!
," we were all hesitant. The songs were more or less just repetitive,poorly executed, and rehashes of their previous material. Thankfully, however, my hope for the album's non-singles began to bloom when "Nuclear Family" was released. This song still had a certain rehashed sound ("American Idiot") but managed to hold its own as a solid Green Day release. The song is a killer album opener, reminding the listener of Green Day’s glory days, and "Stay The Night" is a decent enough follow-up. Sadly, "Let Yourself Go" and "Kill the DJ" are two of the singles that are just repeated messes. "Let Yourself Go" is at least trying to differ from previous Green Day material but that guitar riff reminds me of"St. Jimmy". Sadly, when you release that one masterpiece, people will always compare your later work to it.
So how has the band aged, musically? Billie Joe Armstrong at least tries new things with his voice on this album (somewhat screaming in “Let Yourself Go'') but his voice generally remains the same. Tre’ Cool and Mike Dirnt? Their drums and bass are still the same, yet manage to be better than 21st Century Breakdown
’s failed attempt at differing with every new song and ending up all over the place.
Alright, let me describe to you how I feel about Uno!
’s predecessor: we just had an awesome party (Idiot) and there’s some chick’s underwear on the ceiling fan, which you don’t really want to get off, partly because you’re lazy but also because you don’t want to go back to a normal life (Breakdown) with no remnants of the awesome past experience. So you’ll leave the underwear there (or in Green Day’s case the leftover sound from American Idiot
) in hopes that the chick will come back to get them. She never even calls.
Green Day has a specific formula in mind with Uno!
, wanting to celebrate and party all night until someone calls the cops. I’m not saying this is a great formula, but at least they set their goals. This album is very straightforward, managing to just sing meaningless songs in hopes that there’ll be another “Holiday”-esque rebel anthem. Sadly, that never quite happens.
I can say that "Kill The DJ" has a unique sound (fairly reminiscent of “Viva la Gloria (Little Girl)”, but the repeating lines grate my ears. Also, "killing you to death" is a pretty dumb lyric; let’s be honest.
Another thing is the vulgarity. I’m no saint but I don’t write songs with this in mind: Okay, we need to sing about sex and rock n’ roll. So let’s say “***” in 80% of our songs on this album, repeating it to get the point across. Green Day was able to swear with some sort of…class, let’s call it, on American Idiot, but now they sound like the pre-teen boy who just swore for the first time: “*** titty penis.”
Swearing needs to be kept in moderation to still be respectable.
Now, I’ve been picking this album apart with Green Day’s history and small problems, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this LP. One song that stuck out is "Fell For You". The tune has a pretty nice '50s ballad feel, which is an enjoyable change of pace from the songs that lead up to it. "Oh Love" is my favorite of the singles released, unless we can count "Nuclear Family" as a single. I may feel that way solely because "Oh Love" was the first new song I heard of Green Day's in a few years, or it may just have offered something different, unlike the repetitive singles that followed. The crazy thing about this album is that the non-singles are the standouts while the singles are just mediocre.
"Loss of Control" is fairly mediocre,but I would listen to it again since it reminds me of a Warning-era Green Day.This album certainly revisits pre-American Idiot
Green Day while still melding to a new thrashy rock sound. I just wish that the musicians had enough of a desire to showcase their talents with this album. Those of you who have seen Green Day play a live show know that they are far from untalented. Who knows,maybe Tre'
will include a 12-minute long drum solo and Dos!
may have serious bass riffs? I'd enjoy that, but I seriously doubt it'll happen. Fingers crossed, though!
Overall, the lyrics could use some work and the style could still try to keep a grasp on maturity but the album is fun; there's no denying that aspect. I've been a fan of Green Day for as long as I can remember (they were one of my first introductions into music) and this is an album I can say I'm fairly proud of. Classic Green Day fans will be pleased with this one, as well as newer fans. Just don't try to dissect it; these albums seem to be meant for fun, not to make a statement.