BY FRANCESCA RIZZO, Class of 2013 —
It has been three years since Green Day released their album ‘21st Century Breakdown’ and 12 years since the release of their most powerful and successful album ‘American Idiot’. Both albums were a raging success, going multi-platinum and leaving fans demanding both national and world tours. And both albums were featured in the Broadway production of ‘American Idiot’ based off of their rock opera album. With the bar set so high after such success, the question was: how will Green Day come back with something bigger and better?
Answer? A three part album cleverly named Uno! (part one), Dos! (part two) and Tre! (part three, also named after the band’s drummer). With Uno!’s recent release in September, part Dos! to be released in November and Tre! in January, fans and critics alike are eagerly anticipating to hear what lyrics lead singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong will bring to life with childhood friends and bandmates Mike Dirnt, who plays bass and is featured on the cover of Dos!, and drummer Tre Cool, who will be featured on the cover of Tre!.
Even if you have not been a fan of Green Day (who released their first album in 1994), chances are you have heard one of their classic singles or heard of their non-stop success. The band is known for their hard core punk sound and lyrics, and their stabs at America’s government. However, Uno! takes a step back from political angst and appears to focus on a more personal level.
Uno! will remind loyal Green Day fans of their sound back in the 90’s when they were younger and had a snotty, bratty tone to their non-stop punk rock. To someone hearing this album for the first time, they would think they’re hearing a young, classic punk sound. Uno! is jam packed with everything a punk rock band needs: guitar solos worth playing air guitar to in front of a mirror, bass riffs that make you stop and listen, drum solos that make your head spin, and lyrics that make you want to kick over garbage cans and make you feel bad ass as you’ve ever been. Armstrong strongly proclaims, “Gonna seize the day, bottle rockets and celebrate, celebrate, celebrate. Carpe Diem, a battle cry. Aren’t we all too young to die?” Nothing about Green Day’s sound is the conventional pop-culture that clogs mainstream radio stations today. Their sound is different, yet nostalgic of classic 90’s punk rock bands, refreshing, and praise worthy.
Lyrics written by front man Billie Joe Armstrong are notorious for being blunt, obscene, creative and out of the ordinary. Uno! only proves the above to be true. He aims to connect to his fans and audiences with his lyrics, generally delivering a message saying ‘it’s okay to be different.’ In the fast paced, single worthy track ‘Troublemaker’, he sings “I wouldn’t say I’m straight/’Cause I’m bent out of shape!”. Armstrong often makes jabs and remarks about himself on Uno! to both empathize and connect with listeners around the world. Clearly, this has been a great method in terms of Green Day’s success.
Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool may be three old school punk rockers in their forties, but they continue to write, play, and perform as if they are the same young, wild and carefree punk rockers that they were when they started out in the early 1990’s. Uno! is a fantastic album both reminiscent on their old sound and new in terms of Green Day’s experience which proves to be evident in their lyrics and sound.