Review Summary: As pointless as the other side of the pencil.
With the second installation in their trilogy of albums: Uno, Dos, Tre! Green Day rehash a familiar sentiment from Uno-- They have nothing to say. Sure there is a meaning to songs like *** Time and Makeout Party, but it hits you over the head so bluntly that you lose any sense of enjoyment. Not to mention that a forty year old front man somehow thinks it's appropriate to use the term, '*** Time' when referring to his breed of kinky sex. The song sounds more like Sex Ed for the Wiggles generation and is perhaps the worst track Green Day has ever recorded, that is, until track 11, but more on that later.
The band does hit a little bit of a groove on Stop When the Red Lights Flash, Lazy Bones, and Wild One. They're arguably the best the band has to offer, and stacking them makes the first half of the album listenable, but causes the second half to suffer. And, despite the fact that these songs represent the album's best, they're comprised primarily of repeated melodies from previous Green Day songs. Lazy Bones combines the riff to "Give Me Novocaine," from American Idiot and the chorus to "Favorite Son" Green Day's cut for Rock Against Bush II. The lyrics are all too familiar. 'My mind is playing tricks on me,' immediately references the band's old hit "Basket Case" and "I'm too tired to be bored/I'm too bored to be tired" is essentially a less elegant way of rewriting "Longview" Stop When the Red Lights Flash borrows a riff from "Homecoming" and many have argued that "Wild One" seems to have been poached from a certain band whose heads are primarily comprised of radios.
The album proceeds to reach a dizzying new low with dreaded track 11, "Nightlife," which features Lady Cobra from the Mystical Knights of the Cobra as a rapper. Don't let this foray into hip hop fool you, though. Nightlife is no Magnificent Seven. Rather than use a hip hop flavored beat mixed with their own lyrics, the band resorts to imitating a mainstream trend of misogyny in lyrics so laughably bad "Baby girl Coco dancing the cooch/One hand on my knee, one hand on the hooch" one wonders how a serious production team and legitimate producer could have let it slip onto the record.
Unfortunately, Nightlife also solidifies the already apparent-- This is a man and maybe even a band suffering through a midlife crisis for thirty-seven songs and they're determined to make us all suffer with them. Is this what Billie Joe Armstrong meant when he said "back to basics." Looking through Green Day's back catalog, I don't see anything as pointless, lusty, or just plain awful as this. Sure, there were always songs about girls, but rarely were they portrayed in such a devilish light. It gives the impression that the forty year old singer is regretting his shotgun marriage from nearly two decades ago.
But as the closing bars play on "Amy" a Good Riddance style tribute to the late Amy Winehouse, a larger question arises: What was the point of all this? We're twenty-five songs and two records in to a historic trilogy of albums experiment and we've only seen a handful of enjoyable songs. Even when they were young and putting out shorter, faster tunes, Green Day had a message. It wasn't always socio-political, but it was always relevant to teenagers struggling through adolescence. So what is the point of Uno and Dos? If the point is just to have some fun and blow off some steam, then why not do that with the band's side project The Foxboro Hot Tubs who were created specifically for that purpose. And did we really need three albums just so the band could prove they weren't going to be serious anymore. It's almost as if they wrote eight or nine decent songs and in an effort to remain epic without the concept album formula, decided to split them up three ways and fill out a trilogy without really having anything worthy of such hullabaloo.
Some have argued that the only thing important is that the band thought they had quality songs and quality records, but I find even this hard to believe. Could the same group that had just finished writing American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown really look at this group of songs and think they had something? Would the guys who wrote Dookie and Insomniac be impressed with this flimsy, clean guitar, pseudo punk rock? Where is the justification for all of this? No real radio hits from a band that has often been defined by them, lackluster sales, and shoddy lyrics now ridiculed by even fans don't seem to add up to what the band had promised.