Green Day
¡UNO!


3.0
good

Review

by ZackSh33 USER (29 Reviews)
September 19th, 2012 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: No rock operas to be seen here: Green Day goes back to what worked for them in the nineties with good, but not astounding, results.

When I first heard Green Day was releasing a trio of albums within six months, the 13 year old inside of me jumped for joy. After all, there was good reason for this immediate reaction: it has been more than three years since the overblown, overproduced, and completely aimless 21st Century Breakdown was released. That being said, the joy that my inner 13 year old gave was quickly overshadowed by the doubt that the more realistic 21 year old in me brought to the table. Three albums in less than six months? It took the band five years after the game-changing American Idiot to follow up with the aforementioned Breakdown, and even though it got good reviews initially, it was eventually forgotten about, and only fueled anxiety towards the band.

Among my conflicted thinking, I began to put myself in the shoes of the band. Here was a band who earned critical acclaim when they were in their early twenties (lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong was only 21) when their major label debut Dookie was released in early 1994. They were proclaimed as one of the biggest bands in the world, infamous for starting mud fights and getting their teeth knocked out at their shows. It was only six years and three albums later that they released Warning, unfortunately mainly known for being their first major label album that didn't go multi-platnium upon its initial release. Devastated by the prospect of only selling 500,000 copies of a good (and underrated) album, the band began to fall apart.

It was a miracle that American Idiot worked. Ten years after their initial success, the band once again elevated to an almost unheard level of stardom. American Idiot was a spark of genius, something so dynamic and dramatic, so broken and yet and so indicative of the time we were living in, and, most importantly, so out of left field for a band that once sung about sitting around masturbating, that it had to be listened to. A legion of new fans arrived, and with it, complaints from the old fans about the fact that the music that Green Day made in the nineties was better.

But, what does any band do when you have success with something? They follow it up with something similar in every way possible. And that is where the “trying so hard to mean something but ultimately pointless” 21st Century Breakdown came from.

So when the band announced this trio of albums, as well as a promise to restore their old sound, it all made sense. What does any band do when something crashes and burns? They follow it up with something completely different.

¡Uno! is that something. The fact that the band went back into the studio in February and came out with a finished product by the end of June says something about the overall simplicity of the album in comparison to their studio releases of the past decade. The album is a throw back to the Green Day of the nineties, but this time, the band has a better sense of layering melodies, a trait picked up from their forte into “rock operas,” so that even the sparsest three-chord arrangements sound big enough to fill a stadium.

When you begin to look at the single releases from this album, you begin to see the changes in the band. “Oh Love,” the first single released and the last track on the album, is a middle of the road song that is simply meant to not offend anyone. There are traces of the grandeur of their last two albums in the chorus, but the verses are so sparse both instrumentally and lyrically that it almost falls too much in the gray zone for anyone to really enjoy it.

Second single “Kill the DJ” is the complete opposite of “Oh Love.” It is the most experimental song that the band has done since Nimrod, and, that being said, the song takes a while to get used to. It's not a terrible song, and it does throw a little bit of diversity into the track list. That being said, it's something that the band should pursue in the studio, but then not release.

Things begin to turn around with “Let Yourself Go,” which has Dookie written all over it; punchy guitars, some nonsensical screaming, a sing-along chorus, and a sense of, well, letting everything go. There are some other high points on this album, most notably “Nuclear Family” which opens the album on a great note. It is a catchy, three chord, three minute statement of intent from the band, and gives you a distinct idea of where the rest of the album will be heading. “Angel Blue,” “Sweet 16” and “Rusty James” actually solidify the second half of the album quite nicely, even though the last is a dead ringer for both Nimrod's “Scattered” in the verses, and 21st Century Breakdown's “Before the Lobotomy” in the guitar solo.

The main problem with this album is where Green Day albums usually falter: the lyrics. The band has never been the best at lyrics (there's nothing nearly as bad as “she is riding her bike like a fugitive of critical mass,” from one of the brighter points on 21st Century Breakdown: “Last of the American Girls.” Where the band makes up for it is with focused, and surprisingly energetic playing. For example in “Let Yourself Go,” some of the lyrics in the bridge near the end are “Always *** ***in' with my head now,” and in “Troublemaker,” Armstrong proclaims that he “wants to get inside of you.” They may be a little bit old for this sort of thing, but this album isn't about deciphering lyrics and their “hidden” meanings, it's about sitting back, and, ironically, letting the music do the majority of the talking.

¡Uno!, nor any of the upcoming albums in the ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tre! trilogy, are going to break any barriers or induce a new generation of listeners like Dookie or American Idiot did. But, ¡Uno! does provide a solid 42 minutes of pop-punk for those who are willing to put the past in the past and simply listen. ¡Uno! may not be even close to being your favorite in their discography, but it is Green Day starting to go back to being themselves, and that is something that every listener, whether you were listening in 1994 or 2004, can appreciate.



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user ratings (938)
Chart.
2.4
average
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
ZackSh33
September 18th 2012


357 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey guys, a bit long, but here it is. I know there are gonna be a ton of reviews for this album so, thanks for reading!

The album comes out next Tuesday, but is streaming now here:

http://www.facebook.com/GreenDay?ref=ts

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
September 18th 2012


50872 Comments


Brace yourselves

More only 1-3 listens Uno reviews coming

Digging: Bobby Barnett - Little Wounds

Spec
September 18th 2012


27271 Comments


Gay.

Digging: Midnight - No Mercy for Mayhem

Kris.
September 18th 2012


12429 Comments


honestly i mean i only listened to it once but i got through it
a lot better than 21cb

bungy
September 18th 2012


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Stoked to hear this, fuck all of you

someguest
September 18th 2012


21253 Comments


Green Day should "F.O.D.".

bungy
September 19th 2012


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I still listen to F.O.D.

JAXETA
September 19th 2012


787 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

this is a time where an opinion is so off that it hurts

someguest
September 19th 2012


21253 Comments


Have you ever bought a pair of jeans where the back was off crack?

JAXETA
September 19th 2012


787 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

most def

someguest
September 19th 2012


21253 Comments


It's very uncomfortable. It's a good thing evolution gave us straight buttcracks.

JAXETA
September 19th 2012


787 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

thank god... irony mhmm


wut

ZackSh33
September 19th 2012


357 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Don't be afraid to pos, guys. Just 'cos you think Green Day is terrible, it doesn't mean you have to shit talk the review. Opinions are, believe it or not, personal beliefs and NOT facts." - SingForTheDead

I could not agree more.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
September 19th 2012


20077 Comments


How does this have 2 positive reviews?

Digging: Circa Survive - Descensus

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 19th 2012


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Review reads like a rush job mate.

Digging: Portishead - Dummy

newjunkaesthetic93
September 19th 2012


1871 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

One time I did shrooms with my friend an recorded an album on garage band with him using a toy ukulele and a bongo drum. It was a lot better than this.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 19th 2012


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

K, so as promised - here's my take on your review:

i.) The first issue I have with it is how "personal" it sounds. Don't get me wrong, nothing illegal about injecting a bit of yourself into a review, but to run with a gamut of anecdotes to prove a point really doesn't further any argumentative essay (which, to me, is the best way to conceptualize an album review). Anecdotes tend to be the weakest form of proof to begin with. Here:

When I first heard Green Day was releasing a trio of albums within six months, the 13 year old inside of me jumped for joy.

and

Among my conflicted thinking, I began to put myself in the shoes of the band.

No one really cares about either notion - particularly as thirteen year old anyones usually tend to be poor sources of credibility (which you admit to in your next lines) to begin with. But more to the point though, you're trying to appeal to authority here - unfortunately the source you picked (yourself) is hardly the most convincing. That being said, I think had you phrased your sentiment as a general public impression of the album, you could have kept the gist of this sentence intact yet come off as sounding a lot more convincing. But moving on.

ii.) Editing saves lives. Seriously. A quick scan of this thing will reveal lots of bits and pieces that could have been pruned to make a tighter, more concise piece (which was what prompted me to make that "rush job" comment). Take, for instance:

In other words, 21st Century Breakdown was exactly what its title implicated. It was, quite literally, a breakdown of everything that the band had done over the past fifteen years, and also one that just so happened to occur in the 21st century.

Unnecessary paragraph that doesn't add anything to the review but length.

(it's supposed to be punky, so of course it is formally stylized with the upside down exclamation point)

Mmhmmm. So?

And many, many others.

(to be continued)

Irving
Staff Reviewer
September 19th 2012


7318 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

(continued from above)

iii.) But ultimately I think my biggest gripe with the album is its poorly thought-out train of argumentation and empty, assertive comments. The tail-end of the review is where you appear to have lumped a lot of your thoughts on the album, and unfortunately they don't do much beyond an assertion that "it is X". Here:

There are traces of the grandeur of their last two albums in the chorus, but the verses are so sparse both instrumentally and lyrically that it almost falls too much in the gray zone for anyone to really enjoy it.

Okay, sparse. But how is that a bad thing?

you have no choice but to be hooked.

Really? Why so?

Where the band makes up for it is with focused, charismatic and energetic playing. For example in “Let Yourself Go,” some of the lyrics in the bridge near the end are “Always *** ***in' with my head now,” and in “Troublemaker,” Armstrong proclaims that he “wants to get inside of you.” But this album isn't about deciphering lyrics and their “hidden” meanings, it's about sitting back, and, ironically, letting the music do the majority of the talking.

I am not sure how these three sentences are connected. There's an idea in there somewhere, but it's not at all well fleshed out.

iv.) In summary, I think what would have really saved this review is if you had taken the time to sit down and properly plot what you wanted to say. A lot of the redundancies, assertive arguments, and poorly-worded connections would have been weeded out had you taken an extra day or two to properly craft out your thoughts. It's unfortunate that the bulk of users on here feel tempted to just throw their thoughts out at random when a new record drops (possibly because they're aiming for a feature). Unfortunately, all that results in is barely coherent reads that mean almost next to nothing and become a glorious waste of time for all involved (what she said). There's some serious potential in your diligence and the observations that you make - the trick is to make good use of them.

So do keep at it, Zack, and hopefully this experience sets you in good stead for next time around. All the best.


TrantaLocked
September 21st 2012


1558 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Atari85, while this album isn't ground breaking, I can't imagine it sounding displeasing to anyone. It is (dare I say) "objectively" average at worst, excellent at best.

steventon
September 28th 2012


152 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

is this better than the new justin bieber album?



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