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Post-two concept albums, a politically charged rock opera, a throwback ’60s garage band alter-ego, and a regrettably unforgettable iHeartRadio Music Festival performance, what could possibly be left for Green Day to accomplish? To keep on rocking of course; three-fold to be exact.
The first installment of their album trilogy, Uno!, takes everything you were expecting from the punks-gone-political band and turns it inside out, upside down, and sideways. Taking a cue from their days masquerading as a pseudo ’60s garage band, Green Day marries the good time dance-worthy garage-pop sound with some old school Dookie-era angst. With half the album drawing influences from the sod-off the world lyrics of their ’97 release Nimrod and the rest surveying the ’60s and ’70s ideals of exploring the adventures of love, this record takes an unpredicted yet satisfying stance.
For long time fans who may have grown tired of the politically-charged tirade of their last two releases, Uno! comes to the table with a few tracks that recapture the sound of our favorite punk brats. “Let Yourself Go” weighs in with the simple yet electric chugging guitar chords that Green Day has perfected so nicely and combines it with rapid fire percussion for a classic punk tune. The harder, the faster, the better with several nicely placed f-bombs in between. “Loss of Control” continues with this power-packed edge, Armstrong singing: “We’re all crazy, you’re all crazy now, well, we’re so crazy, you’ve all gone insane,” lyrics that only now hold just a bit of foreshadowing. “Nuclear Family” opens the album with a nice blend of power pop-punk infused guitar chords, reminiscent of good time tracks like “Poprocks and Coke”, and momentum-driving drums that combine to serve up this new blend of danceable punk rock.
Tracks like “Sweet 16” bring in the vibe of a sweet nostalgic love with a dreamy, vintage sound in the vocals and the lyrics. Armstrong slows down the vocal assail in favor of a crooning track that lyrically nods to his brown-eyed girl of eighteen years, Adrienne Armstrong. A more carefully crafted guitar solo graces the close of the song, mingled with melodic guitar licks that play throughout, accented with some ’60s-esque reverb.
“Kill the DJ” serves as a standout track that seems to have been taken directly from the catalog of the Foxboro Hot Tubs. This cut feels like it was pulled from a Sonics collaboration rather than from the record of a ’90s punk outfit. Echoing, distant vocals for that retro twist and electric guitar with a side of twang complete this unique addition. Similarly, “Troublemaker” gives off this revamped old school vibe including lyrics with attitude: “I wouldn’t say I’m straight because I’m bent out of shape.”
Rounding out the album, Green Day pays homage to long-time influence, The Clash in “Rusty James” a good rock song with comradery and bravado. “When there’s no one left around and you’re the last gang in town, and your heart can’t even break when it doesn’t even pound.” The only notably arena-rock worthy track being “Oh Love”, a predictable first single, this album returns back to the basics of a hard rocking tune for the sake of headbanging-worthy time. Without all the extended story lines and propaganda, Green Day goes back to their roots and does what they arguably do best, rock for rock’s sake. The band is scheduled to head out on a U.S. tour in late October and will release the second album of this trilogy, Dos!, on November 13th.