Sights and Sounds
by Mike Evans
GREEN DAY — Uno
THE GOOD: California pop/punk legends Green Day get very prolific.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Uno is the first in a trilogy of albums; their release dates spread over a four-month period. It’s a return-to-form for the band, the guys not going for “punk operas” or epic stories as they did on American Idiot (2004) and 21st Century Breakdown (2009). What we have instead is a lean, mean modern punk album; 12 songs that shake our foundations and are gone in 40 minutes time.
Originality is not this set’s strong point. The dance rhythms behind “Kill the DJ” feel like warmed over Franz Ferdinand. “Carpe Diem” goes back to early Cheap Trick (Rob at the Dickson City Gallery of Sound made that observation). The opening riffs on “Loss of Control” come dangerously close to the Damned’s “New Rose.”
But there’s no denying this record’s undying energy and all those hooks and harmonies. Maybe we’ve been here before, but Uno is one of the most consistently enjoyable albums I’ve heard in a long time; a modern companion to Get the Knack. It’s rock solid.
BUY IT?: Yes!
GREEN DAY — Dos
THE GOOD: The second album of Green Day’s 2012 trilogy separates itself from the first.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Dos falls short of the expectations established by Uno, but only slightly. This record is simply satisfying on a different level. The pure pop/punk sheen is muddied up by a more spontaneous vibe and grittier feel. The same thing happened almost 20 years ago when Insomniac (1995) toughened up the rude playfulness of Dookie (1994).
If Uno saw the band sober at the beginning of an evening, Dos is the group after they’ve indulged in a few. The album is not short on memorable hook-laden tracks. Cuts like “Fuck Time,” “Stray Heart” and “Baby Eyes” instantly grab you and don’t let go. And the boys aren’t afraid to get a little aggressive on more driven tunes such as “Stop When the Red Lights Flash” and “Makeout Party.”
The only misfire here is “Nightlife” with its tight beats and guest raps by female MC Lady Cobra. It’s not necessarily a bad song, but this funky detour feels out of place with the rest of the set.
BUY IT?: Yep.
GREEN DAY — Tre
THE GOOD: The California punks return for the third time in four months with yet another blistering set.
THE BAD: Nah!
THE NITTY GRITTY: Of course the biggest question remains — can any of these albums stand alone or are they all just part of a bigger picture? The trilogy’s greatest strength is the fact that, yes, these records each possess their own fully realized vision. Each one has its highs and lows, full-on assaults and quieter passages, and unique mood swings. The sets don’t necessarily need their partners to survive.
Tre comes in at an even closer second to Uno’s melodic drive and intensity (thereby making Dos the weakest of the trilogy). The occasional horn and string section (and a ballad previously found on a Twilight soundtrack) make this the most sonically diverse of the albums. The epic “Dirty Rotten Bastards” with melodies copped from the opera Carmen and some abrupt tempo changes harkens back to 21st Century Breakdown’s progressive tendencies.
At its core though, Tre is a punk-influenced power pop record. Tracks like “Missing You” and “Amanda” are guitar-driven pieces that rattle your cage and exit quickly. Nice and tight.
BUY IT?: Surely.
NEW RELEASES — CD
FREE ENERGY— Love Sign
YO LA TENGO — Fade Out
NEW RELEASES — DVD
THE POSSESSION with Jeffrey Dean Morgan
and Kyra Sedgwick
TAKEN 2 with Liam Neeson and Maggie Grace
TO ROME WITH LOVE with Ellen Page
and Alec Baldwin
WON’T BACK DOWN with Maggie Gyllenhaal
and Viola Davis