Artist: Green Day
Realistically speaking, following my first listen to ¡Tré!, the third installment of the latest Green Day trilogy, I should have rejoiced with a sizable party of family and friends. Having embraced and approved of all 12 of the tracks on the album, I honestly should be god damned overjoyed. I probably should have celebrated the return of the Green Day of old with a Macy’s Day Parade (see what I did there?). Yet, in the long run, I have stumbled away from this album with more questions for Green Day than answers from them.
I am still at a total loss for this collection as a whole. I still struggle to wrap my head around the necessity of ¡Uno! and ¡Dos!. Upon the release of ¡Tré! and the obvious reaffirmation that this band has not faded into has-been status, I see no reason to not lift a few quality tracks from the starting two albums and junk the trash of the trilogy. However, I don’t own a record label and I’m not the one in the studio. I don’t have the pressure of millions of fans living on and dying over the new release. I simply am a man with a soapbox, a thesaurus and an ego big enough to assume my opinion on the quality of a release matters to anyone.
Therefore, rather than linger on the train wreck that this Spanish-counting album project has been, I have decided to simply breakdown and praise all 12 of the tracks on ¡Tré!.
The album opens with “Brutal Love.” The track features a polished sound, reminiscent of a vintage 1950’s sock-hop sound. The cut remains steadfast in the sound for the first three minute mark before bothering to make reference to the fact that Green Day is a punk band. Regardless of the departure in sound, “Brutal Love” remains a quality opening track.
This is the part of the album where all collective Green Days fans will scream in unison, “Thank fucking god.”
If “Brutal Love” is the track sent to comfort fans about Green Day’s return, then “Missing You,” the second song on the album, is the glue reminding fans why they fell in love with the band in the first place. Possessing an overly power-pop sound, the track makes light of their influence over bands like Bowling for Soup, Sum 41 and the like. Hell, Butch Walker has made a name for himself out of crafting songs with this exact signature. “Missing You” is ultimately the sound from which a lot of people have made a career. More importantly, this is the sound from which Green Day made their career.
Very straight-forward and driven, the album’s junior offering, “8th Avenue Serenade” is approached in a different and interesting manner. The hooks and riffs are all over the map, twitching and shifting beyond the boundaries of the grid. They are also solid and catchy. The most important aspect to focus on here is that fact that “8th Avenue Serenade” represents the album’s third song in a row with hooks and catch. That’s called a winning streak.
Speaking of winning, ¡Tré! features a stint with: Billie Joe as a crooner. “Drama Queen” could easily be described as Green Day at the Hotel Café. Both the acoustic guitar and drums are simple but effective. The piano, however, stands out and is rather beautiful. It builds before following into a huge guitar solo. Overall, the song works well.
The album’s fifth track, “X-Kid” provides some insight and thoughts on growing up and growing old. The band indirectly makes lights of the changes and shifts throughout the last 20 years. Despite this, and somewhat ironically, this track could be placed on any of their previously released albums. The track is witty and smart, but manages to balance the underlining anger hidden beneath the great punk bass lines. Then the band rides that aggression into “Sex, Drugs & Violence,” the album’s hardest track. The song lingers are close to being a Dookie track as anything I have heard in quite a while. Full of great one-liners, possessive drum riffs and the best chorus on the album, the song demands respect.
Green Day back-slides a touch with “Little Boy Named Train.” With a country-punk sound whose lyrics seem a touch weak in the chorus, the song represents the lowest point of ¡Tré!. Thankfully, the song still remains heads above any track on both ¡Uno! or ¡Dos!. Like many tracks on the album, the song has the band’s signature bold drum fills and massive guitars.
“Amanda,” the album’s eighth track is my favorite of the Green Day “girl name” songs. Again, the song has a 1950s feel to it. Like “X-Kid,” the band makes references to the band, or at least the band’s members being different than they were 15 years ago. You see that, readers? They know it. They’ve admitted it. Let’s finally stop talking about it.
No, really. Let’s change the subject. I’ll even give you a topic: The Clash. Go.
“Walk Away” is that typical tribute to The Clash found at least once per release that Green Day puts out. Building slowly, the song is an uphill battle into a clusterfuck of fast drum and bass. “Dirty Rotten Bastards” and “99 Revolutions” follow suit at times, the two songs deep with hints of older cuts like “Minority”. The songs manage to reinvent themselves multiple times, often boasting an arena rock feel. If there were ever a spot on the album that serves as an epic reminder of why Green Day must be in the conversation to be considered as the voice of a generation, it is this couplet of tracks. The band has not only spoken for the MTV generation, but also the generation that ruined it through their support of reality tv.
Having effectively set the stage on an almost flawless album, Green Day swings for the fences with the swan song of ¡Tré!. Penning a true cigarette lighter song, the Billie Joe Brothers band takes the high road writing a flawless and beautiful closing track with Beatles-style musical breakdowns. Throughout “The Forgotten,” piano and vocals rise above the swell of breathtaking string compositions. The song is dripping with comparisons to “Eleanor Rigby” and “Across the Universe.” Put simply, if any song were to highlight and dogtag the growth process of a band often faulted with not sounding like 20 years ago, it is “The Forgotten.” I challenge you to play this song in the background while trying to debate its irrelevance in their catalog. Seriously, if you can disprove it as the best song on the trilogy I will personally purchase all three disks for you.
That is how much I believe in this song, this disk and thankfully this band. We were touch-and-go for a while, but with ¡Tré! it looks like we might be back on solid ground.
Review written by: Joshua Hammond