Review Summary: The only complaint I have with this album is the guitars. They sound so light and clean. Had they been a heavier “Nimrod” type intensity I think myself and other might have enjoyed the album a little better. Fans of the Punk/Alternative Rock Green Day2 of 9 thought this review was well written
Genres: Power Pop, Pop-Punk, Punk Rock
Overview: Coming after two politically themed rock operas, Green Day gets back to basics with new rhythm guitarist Jason White. Although critics, fans, and non fans alike have bashed the trilogy, it’s really not a bad set of albums at all. ¡UNO! is for sure the bands poppiest album, but don’t be deceived by the word “Pop”. This isn’t any Justin Bieber or Katy Perry pile of ***, it’s Power Pop. (Early Beatles, Cheap Trick, etc). Some have compared the album to the 1994 smash hit “Dookie”, but it more closely represents a missing link between the Green Day albums “Nimrod” and “Warning”. Greatly improved guitar solos from lead guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong are just an added bonus. (There’s one in every song). Let’s move on to a track by track analysis.
1. Nuclear Family
“Gonna ride the world like a merry-go-round!” shouts the ambitious Armstrong. One thing the listeners will notice right of the bat is how lyrically different the song sounds compared to tracks of the darker predecessors “American Idiot” and “21st Century Breakdown”. The lyrical change is good on other tracks. However, this song struggles greatly lyrically. The highlight of the song is bassist Mike Dirnt slick solo that leads into a count down into madness. The song is overall pretty solid; it would have served as a much better first single over the mehhhh song “Oh Love”.
2. Stay The Night
This track makes up for the previous tracks lack of lyrics. The premise of the song is simple, trying to regain a lost love. A topic we have not seen since Green Day’s debut “39/Smooth”. Extremely catchy verses and choruses make it one of the best on the album. The best part of the song is the bridge, where Armstrong pleads “I got to know if you’re the one that got away/Even though it was never meant to be” over heavenly sounding guitars. It’s also another track that could of easily been a hit had it been released as a single.
3. Carpe Diem
On “American Idiot” and “21st Century Breakdown”, the rock operas of the Who were a huge influence. The Who influence continues, straight up the alley of “I Can See For Miles”. “Ain’t it beautiful?/So unusual” says Armstrong as he gives his best vocal performance of the album. This ones a new arena-rock song that Green Day’s done so well the last 10 years.
4. Let Yourself Go
Where the rest of the album focuses on more of a Power Pop sound, here’s a song fans of Punk Rock can enjoy. (Unless you’re one of those stubborn arseholes who won’t even acknowledge Black Flag as Punk). It’s almost if this was a lost track from “Insomniac”, with Armstrong shouting “Shut your mouth cuz you’re talking too much/and I dont give a F*** anyway”. Armstrong drops the F-Bomb around 20 times in this track, so it sounds pretty crappy when it’s played on the radio. However the album version is absolutely golden. Best song on the album.
5. Kill The DJ
Ladies and Gentlemen, the top selling 90s Punk Revival band is now trying out Dance music. Right up the alley of the Dance-Punk style of the Clash, it just somehow works. The song is basically one big rant on the Dancey Pop music that is mainstream right now, while imitating that type of music. The chorus is a bit repetitive, but that’s the type of song it’s trying to be. The highlight is Armstrongs kick-ass surf rocky guitar solo.
6. Fell For You
Singer Billie Joe Armstrong has shown his ability to right great love songs throughout the years, from the fun “2000 Light Years Away” to the beautiful “Last Night On Earth”. This early Beatles-esque is tune is quite charming. “I had a dream that I kissed your lips and it felt so true/then I woke up as a nervous wreck and I fell for you” sings Armstrong with great backing vocals from Jason White and Mike Dirnt. This lovely track fits perfectly on an album like this.
7. Loss Of Control
Like “Let Yourself Go”, “Loss Of Control” is 90s Green Day galore. Fans of “Dookie” will warmly welcome this song into the Green Day catalog. “I rather go to a funeral/than to this High School reunion” sneers Armstrong. Tre Cool’s tight drumming is flawless as usual. The chorus is a little weak, but the rest of the song holds it together.
Similar to “Kill The DJ”, this another song you can dance to. “I wouldn't say I’m straight/cause I’m bent out of shape” reminds of some of the silly slacker Punk lyrics Green Day was so famous for. The highlight of the song is the guitar solo, than has somewhat of a David Bowie “Heroes” vibe to it.
9. Angel Blue
This one is the most prominent filler of the album. The only thing that doesn’t make this track a complete throw away is the clever metaphors. A fast paced Pop-Punk song, but nothing more. Not really a lot more to say about this track.
10. Sweet 16
Singer Billie Joe Armstrong writes a love song to his wife he met at a Green Day concert in Minneapolis before they were even popular. Not that memorable, but gives some more gooey love songs to the disc.
11. Rusty James
As far as lyrics go, this is the Green Day song that needed to be made. Armstrong is finally responding to all the old fans at 924 Gilman street who deemed Green Day as “sellouts” after they signed to a label in 1993. 20 years on Green Day is still here making music and getting 15 year old kids into Punk bands like the Ramones and the Sex Pistols. “Where the F*** is the old gang man?” asks Armstrong. Except for maybe Rancid, Green Day is the only band left from the Gilman street Punk Rock scene.
12. I will admit, the first time I heard this single I was extremely disappointed. It’s grown on me since, but it still did not really deserve to be released as a single. The biggest thing is while listening it feels as if you’re waiting for something that never comes. It’s an simplistic, but classic sounding song. It fits well as the closer.