Punk rock may not be considered a progressive genre, but Green Day has done a good job of pushing the sound’s limits.
Their music has morphed with the times as a means of survival. Their 2004 album, American Idiot, arguably rejuvenated the band’s 25-year career in the often unforgiving music industry.
Now that the band is topping the charts again, they’ve been able to take more risks, like their upcoming album trilogy, staggered for release over the next several months. Part one, ¡Uno!, is currently on record store shelves and iTunes playlists, and it’s a distinguished change from their last record, 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown.
- “Nuclear Family”
- “Stay the Night”
- “Carpe Diem”
- “Let Yourself Go”
- “Kill the DJ”
- “Fell for You”
- “Loss of Control”
- “Angel Blue”
- “Sweet 16”
- “Rusty James”
- “Oh Love”
The opening track, “Nuclear Family”, kicks off the album in a similar manner to the title track of 2004’s American Idiot. It features harmonies in the chorus and the band’s trademark distored punk power chords.
They contrast the rough-sounding start with “Stay the Night”, a love song with a downbeat intro, then turn the volume up again on “Carpe Diem”, a riff- roaring youth anthem sure to turn yet another generation of rebellious, misfit teenagers onto Green Day.
The band’s catchy new radio single, “Let Yourself Go”, brings back their Dookie-style rock while “Kill the DJ” heads in a drastically different direction – it almost has a ’70s and ’80s groove with some swing to it.
Another love song appears at the midway mark of the album: “Fell for You” opens with a pounding kick drum and puts a punk touch on something you might hear in a ’50s diner. The sound jumps ahead a few decades on “Loss of Control”, reminiscent of “Basket Case” or “When I Come Around”. “Troublemaker” goes together with its predecessor as a quick, 2:45-long song with a catchy guitar hook.
Green Day’s manages to keep their punk sound refined, perhaps best shown on the ninth track, “Angel Blue”. The song is generally fast, but clean and not as raw as, say, 1990’s 39/Smooth or 1992’s Kerplunk.
“Sweet 16”, however, seems more like a filler track with a simple tune and lyrics. “Rusty James” (formerly titled “Last Gang in Town”) makes up for it, sounding closer to the rock opera format from American Idiot.
Lastly, the album’s first single, “Oh Love”, is a fitting closing track, hitting the crescendo a few times on the chorus before fading out to nothingness. Odds are the second album will pick up where the song left off, but we won’t know for sure until November.
The album stands apart from the punk rock opera format of the previous two. At this point, even with 12 tracks, it feels like an EP – perhaps when ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! are released, the album will feel more complete, but for now, this is only a taste of what’s to come.