Green Day releases their first CD out of a set of three albums
Taking a step back from their last two albums, which were very much concept based, Green Day has produced an album that brings back the sounds of their earlier work.
“¡Uno!,” the first in a set of three albums to be released between September and January (“¡Dos!” to come Nov. 13, 2012, and “¡Tre!” on Jan. 15, 2013), is an album that gives ample opportunity for belting out the lyrics and dancing in the most inappropriate of places.
“¡Uno!” is full of danceable beats, fast guitar strokes, and the loud slams of Tre Cool’s drums. Making the perfect cocktail of pop, rock, and, this album gets the blood pumping through your veins on the first listen, wraps you in its arms of awesome in the second, and has you convinced that life is one big party by the third – complete with the bad drinks, fistfights, and teenage love.
“¡Uno!” starts strongly with “Nuclear Family,” the most recent single, and a song which kicks off begging to be turned up to 11. With the cry of “Gonna ride the world like a merry-go-round,” the album opening tells listeners that this is going to be a good time.
Starting off strong, the album moves into a mix of love songs, disgust, and anarchy.
“Let Yourself Go” is one track which, with the background screams of back-up guitarist Jason White, will inspire insanity and previously unknown punk rock rage in any listener.
It is easily one of the fastest, most basically punk rock songs on the album, and one can easily imagine a sneer on the mouth of singer Billie Joe Armstrong as he sings for a nameless antagonist to “Cut the crap ‘cause you’re screaming in my ear/And you’re taking up all of the space/You’re really testing my patience again/And I’d rather get punched in the face.” It’s a track of clear hatred for someone, a feeling which no doubt many people can relate to.
The track “Kill the DJ” stands out with Mike Dirnt’s bass guitar sounds reminiscent of something from a funk band.
With strong imagery in its story of wandering intoxicated through the streets of New York while harboring thoughts of striking first against the “DJ,” this song is a strange combination of violent counterattack and hip-shaking beats. As strange as it is, though, it works.
Both “Fell For You” and “Sweet 16” have lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong crooning thoughts of love in differing ways. “Fell For You” is a declaration of love, feeling completely crazy about a person.
It lends itself easily to dancing with its simple melody sounding like something from the 1950s, but a little rougher.
Singing “And I went down like the speed of sound/You’re out of sight but not out of mind/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,” Armstrong tells an easily-relatable tale of falling head over heels for someone.
“Sweet 16” offers a more nostalgic look at love, remembering a “Brown-eyed girl that’s throwing down/A bottle of Olde English. Back in the warehouse/Old days are fine but are left so far behind.”
With a wistful vocal melody, this track arouses thoughts of high school love never forgotten but never quite let go of, either.
One can imagine two teenagers, trespassing in an old warehouse to drink cheap, nasty liquor on a Friday night, madly in love and imagining they’d be together forever. These are the memories stirred up by “Sweet 16,” even for listeners who have never had the experience.
The album closes out with “Oh, Love,” the first single, released this past July. Starting simply with just a guitar and Armstrong’s voice, the track then picks up the remaining instruments and builds itself into something greater–a grand finale, one might say.
It picks up into a guitar solo any fan would respect, and drops back into just the lone guitar and Armstrong’s singing once again, before rising once more into the song’s finish. A roller coaster of sound and feeling, it is a fantastic finish to the album as a whole. Where “Nuclear Family” kicks open the doors to a fun 42 minutes, “Oh, Love” closes out the album neatly, picking up after the shattered hearts and drunken rages.
Green Day’s “¡Uno!” is a great step back into more accessible territory after the “American Idiot” and “21st Century Breakdown” albums.
Less of a cry against the workings of the government and the life being created in the country right now and more of a good old fashioned pop rock album, it presents a fun and spirited track list, perfect for kicking up a good mood. I don’t recommend listening before bed, though; the adrenaline will keep you up all night.
Sonya Cheney can be contacted at