REVIEW: Green Day – Uno

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Artist: Green Day
Album: ¡Uno!
Genre: Powerpop, Pop-punk, Punk
Label: Reprise Records

The only way to describe my relationship with Green Day is life changing. Hell, it actually borders on being the single most defining relationship I’ve ever had in music. As the first band I would ever support financially through funds I had earned, Dookie would set the standard of how and what music would enter my life. Although I didn’t know it then, that twelve bucks I would spend on the album while standing in that K-mart checkout line would easily become the most influential exchange I had ever made in my life.  Like the loss of my virginity and the death of my mother, it would serve as a key moment that shifted the way I viewed everything surrounding me from that moment forward.

Since I grew up the product of a broken home, in a small, blue-collar farm town in South East Kansas, money wasn’t something we had unlimited access to. Therefore, Dookie would remain my only cd for almost six months. Over and over, I would spin the disc on a loop. However, somewhere down the line I would realize that I wasn’t doing so simply due to necessity. I had actually bonded with the album.

Green Day had taken the version of me which was poor, awkward and often bullied and pushed me to be unique and strong. They were my first taste of the punk mentality, which stuck with me throughout my life. At 12, Dookie would define who I was in a way that sticks with me even now at 31. To this day my relationship with Green Day has outlasted almost every friendship, love affair and partnership I have ever had. They’re like a marriage.

And like any marriage, we’ve had some growing pains. 21st Century Breakdown and I didn’t exactly see eye to eye at first and it took me a while to open up to American Idiot. I would eventually make peace with both.  ¡Uno! however has easily been the album which has been the closest to sending us into marriage counseling.

No, really.

Our problems stem from change. ¡Uno! is a huge leap from the Green Day I grew up loving. Now without question there are pieces of the band that can still be found lingering in the mix. In fact the album’s opening two tracks, “Nuclear Family” and “Stay the Night” remain steadfast in the band’s signature fold of big solos, bold bass lines and balls to the wall punk drumming.   Additionally, both cuts stick to Billie Joe’s witty approach to songwriting. His swagger rolls off his sharp tongue and his no fucks attitude resonates through his vocal riffs. It isn’t until the album’s third track ”Carpe Diem” however that the album reveals the band’s obvious crush on The Clash. Hell, if not otherwise informed, a person could easily confuse the song’s solo for that of Mick Jones. This sentiment is placed on repeat in tracks “Let Yourself Go” “Kill The Dj” and “Feel For You.” “Let yourself Go” for example boasts an arena rock drum building under the vocals before cranking into head on, full tilt guitar explosion. The track is hands down the best instrumental work on the album, displaying an often overlooked talent in punk music, often buried in dick and fart jokes and middle finger melodramas. Additionally, I can see a lot of “Rock the Casbah” and “Rudie Can’t Fail” in “Kill the DJ.” While I feel like the song itself might be a failed attempt to capture the spirit animal of their idols, I can certainly recognize their effort.

Sadly however, there are spots on the album I struggle to understand.    “Loss of Control” and “Troublemaker” both fail to do anything for me. With cliché lyrics and emotionless riffs the songs fall flat. Short of being marked off as filler material, I find little reason for their existence.

However, Green Day does manage to do their fans a solid, ending the album on a high note. “Oh Love,” the album’s closing track slams the door in a very similar manner to Macy’s Day Parade. With a catching intro leading into a wall of sound guitar/organ build which punches the listener in the face, the band manages to prove they can take a typical punk pop structure and turn it into an arena rock anthem. Different from the rest of the album, the fist-pumping power track is a welcomed manner to leave fans yearning for the remaining two albums.

While the album takes time to grow on a listener, ¡Uno! does have worth buried in it. Dedicated fans should give the album time to bloom. Once it does, it will fit nicely in the catalog. While it may never land Dookie spins, the release certainly deserves to be part of the Green Day family.

SCORE: 7.5/10
Review written by: Joshua Hammond

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  • Andy

    I can’t trust anything in this review because you called Oh Love “a solid.”

  • BillieJoe

    Heh. You called Billie Joe “Billy”. Smartass.

  • http://twitter.com/endless_rambles Joshua Hammond

    Fuck. I did. Corrected. Good catch.

  • http://twitter.com/endless_rambles Joshua Hammond

    You’re right. The whole review is rubbish based on my one cliche phrase. Sorry about that. I’ll call my mom and let her know I am a failure.

    Thank you for finally showing me why she can’t look me in the eye.

  • http://www.facebook.com/morgan4763 Andy Morgan

    It’s not the fact that you used the phrase. I couldn’t care less. It’s the fact that you think the song is good. It is much less than a solid song, and it’s a slap in the face to anyone that ever supported the band, as is this masturbatory trio of albums.

  • http://twitter.com/endless_rambles Joshua Hammond

    That I can see and have no issue with that. Sorry for taking your comment to be sarcasm. The internet is tricky.

    I struggled a lot with this song and this album. My first listen provided Tracks I like: 4 Tracks I hate: 3 Tracks I’m Neutral Towards: 5. “Oh love” ended up feeling okay to me. I like the builds and the way they use the instruments. Do I feel like this song would fit on Dookie or Nimrod. Absolutely not. But, I do think it fits in their catalog, even if it is near the radio friendly days. Also, I think it is probably important to include the knowledge that I love a good, solid Power-pop song. And this is one. Is it punk? Not even close. But I think it is solid.

    I think Kill the DJ is the album’s biggest shitmess.

  • StaticNoise79

    Have to pretty much concur with all of this. Such an overhyped disappointment. Songs I really do not like are Fell For You, Kill the DJ and Troublemaker. I do not believe that these records will ever grow on me either. 1,2,4 and 12 are probably the best songs. The rest are just, well, meh. How BJA can say this music is the best he has written is beyond me. Even Tre sounds bored playing those samey routines. I think you’re being a little kind too Joshua, id give it a 6. And that’s pushing it. Thanks for the review, looking forward to Dos. Well l kind of!

  • http://twitter.com/endless_rambles Joshua Hammond

    Being kind is fair. Had I reviewed this album on my first listen I would have easily given it a 5. I had to pull back and listen to it as an album not connected to the discography to get where I am now. I’m hoping it is a progress and the other albums are each a bit harder.

  • http://twitter.com/DaneSager Dane Sager

    I agree. The first singles I heard (Kill the DJ and Oh Love) sounded like Stiff Little Fingers and well, Oh Love sounded like Green Day at 75% speed.

    Nothing really jumps out at me, but I like the idea of an almost clash love letter. They had to do it eventually.

  • http://twitter.com/DaneSager Dane Sager

    Oh Love grew on me. It felt like if they sped the song up, it would sound like an older Green Day song.

  • StaticNoise79

    Fair enough. Just disappointed that my favourite band produce something quite lame. Still can’t wait for the tour!

  • StaticNoise79

    Well I’ve listen a few times and it is growing. Better than first listen anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=82403948 Josh Hammond

    Did the same thing to me. Have you used headphones?

  • junierizzle

    I loved this album from the first listen.So I respectively disagree. Every single song is good. In my opinion its only misstep is “kill the dj” While its a good song it sticks out on this album. It sounds like a Dos song.

    I am also 30 and have been with GD since I was a kid. To me they just keep getting better.

    Its kind of hard to defend music. You either feel it or you dont. And I totally feel this record.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=82403948 Josh Hammond

    I think you have every right to your opinion and I love the fact that you have found comfort in a band you love. I want that for everyone.

  • StaticNoise79

    Haven’t mate, different sound? From the way I hear it now, musically it’s very solid and clean. Maybe it’s the rawness of dookie etc that is craved. Will don the headphones tho man!