Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 4/12
Written by: PP on 26/09/2012 22:16:12
In 2012, the Green Day fan base can be safely divided into two camps: those who first got into the band after the release of "American Idiot", and those who grew up listening to "Dookie", "Insomniac", and "Nimrod". The former group probably appreciated the chart topping radio hits "Wake Me Up When September Ends", "21 Guns" and other songs that were more like pop ballads than pop punk songs, and as a result felt cringeworthy at best for any fan of their energetic, clean punk sound of the past. So can you blame for the second camp for feeling disenfranchised with the band?
Fortunately for those fans, "¡Uno!", the first one in a trilogy of albums and the one dubbed as the 'power pop' album stylistically, will feel like coming home after spending years away at some remote destination against their wishes. It's a direct throwback to the band's much-loved clean pop punk sound from the 90s, the closest parallel you're going to get to the "Dookie"-era, with "Nuclear Family" and "Let Yourself Go" being the strongest pop punk songs Green Day have written since "Nimrod" in 1997. Alongside the two other songs that make up the first four tracks of "¡Uno!", Green Day hasn't sounded this fresh and full of energy in as long as I can remember now, because all the unnecessary fluff, gloss and polish has been purposefully trashed from the sound. No more over-inflated and overproduced dime-a-dozen mainstream ballads, instead replaced by high-octane riffs and infectious vocal melodies that take you back on a memory lane of what this band was once all about.
Whether that sound has been missed, though, depends altogether on your point of view. The big mainstream mags and their superfluous fans aren't liking it because this isn't a radio rock album any longer. Well, it is, but it's faster and more aligned to the original sound instead of the radio pop that elevated the band into megastardom during the last decade. They'll call it things like 'boring', 'dated' and 'irrelevant', simply because the band backtracked from writing larger-than-life songs and went back into doing what they do best: writing simple pop punk songs that need not be arena sized in sound to be enjoyable. And as we all know, pop punk is no longer 'in' in 2012, but who cares what's 'in' anyway except trendsters? It's impossible to deny how catchy the first four tracks on the record are - I will never learn to understand how anybody could prefer "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" instead of any of these songs, for example.
Unfortunately "¡Uno!" doesn't quite fulfil its promise throughout. "Kill The DJ" is a turd that destroys the positive impression of the album in just under four minutes, but luckily it's the only track of its kind on the disc. More worryingly, however, the second half of the record is completely forgettable and lacks the strong melodies of the beginning (aside from maybe "Rusty James"), despite still upholding the classic 90s pop punk sound. It's almost certainly a symptom of writing too much material when they could've condensed the trilogy into a single great album instead. When's the last time a double, let alone a triple album worked for any band? "Stadium Arcadium" anyone? But in the end, I'm glad that Green Day are returning back to the sound that made them good in the first place. It's retrospective and not at all innovative, but who cares. All that matters is that the songs are good. It's just too bad the second half of the record isn't as catchy as the first half.
Download: Nuclear Family, Let Yourself Go, Stay The Night
For the fans of: 90s-era Green Day, clean pop punk, Blink 182, Sum 41
Release date 25.09.2012