Green Day’s ‘Revolution Radio’ dropped on October 7th, the follow up album to the flop that was the tri album release ‘¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tres!’ of 2012, but did this album succeed in what its predecessor did not; bringing Green Day back into the spotlight?
The opening track ‘Somewhere Now’ sounds as if it belonged on ‘American Idiot’ as opposed to its follow up 5 albums later, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Especially considering the latter album hit number 5 on 2005’s global album chart amongst winning them many awards in the process. In fact the song is very strong, although risky to open up their ‘comeback’ album with a slow beginning, the switch to the homely feel of guitars, drums, bass and harmonies that every Green Day fan across the globe is used to is a one of a kind feeling. But its more than just an opening song to another Green Day album, it’s a statement, and it screams “We are back, and the revolution is on.”
‘Somewhere Now’ is abruptly followed by a scorcher of a single, and in fact the first single from the album; ‘Bang Bang’. The opening line samples a news segment on executions. If that doesn’t get your attention immediately, the punk riff ripping through your ear drums sure will, and any veteran Green Day fan will gleam ear to ear when the nostalgia of ’39/Smoothed Out’, ‘Kerplunk’ and ‘Dookie’ kicks in with every punk-esque guitar strum and smashing drum beat ripples from your speakers. I say speakers, as earphones will not do this song justice. It’s message – it’s a Green Day song, of course there’s a message – I hear you ask? Stop gun culture in America. Holy c*ap. Using this album to try and pull back any relevance they have left before they just have to give up is suddenly no longer seeming to be such a plausible excuse for its release. They’re making a stand, and using the excuse of it being an attempt to regain relevance as a mirage to cover their revolution.
The title track comes 3rd on the track list, and ultimately falls under the influence of semi-successful album ’21st Century Breakdown’. With a euphoric sounding vocal line, the song is a master class in teaching sceptics that Billie Joe Armstrong can still sing. The guitar still rips through all sound barriers, really forming an opinion that this is the world’s best rock band back at its finest. The following track ‘Say Goodbye’ almost excitedly parades an influence from the likes of ‘The Black Keys’ with its bluesy feel and multiple breaks, with a strong vocal line from BJ Armstrong again, this one is definitely set to be a fan favourite as the album ages.
‘Outlaws’, the next track on the album, is another tease at maybe an acoustic song throughout its intro, though yet again we are refused another masterpiece like ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’. Although that isn’t to say that yet again this album has produced a high quality song. Its slower than the previous tracks, and again falls into more of a rock-opera genre than the punk feel that ‘Bang Bang’ menacingly hinted at. Then, out of nowhere, appears ‘Bouncing Off the Walls’. It strikes like a golden snake, catching you almost dozing after the dreamy sounds of ‘outlaws’ before it. Punk is back in question, you can hear each power chord played and BJ’s voice crackles like it did back in ‘Dookie’s finest songs. What a time to be a Green Day fan, what a song and what great listing choices by the boys to place this belter of a tune straight after the slow melodic vibes previous to it.
‘Still Breathing’ again teases at an acoustic song at first, though there is yet again little disappointment in what follows the vocal led intro. The bridge and chorus of this song represent what Green Day have always been; amazing musicians and talented people all round. You seriously don’t have to be a Green Day fan to enjoy this track. Tt appears some mystic pop music demons have been summoned to give this track a real good aura and for that I think this song may be one of the greatest on the album. It feels catchy and has a foot taping vibe that will get even the biggest music snob humming along.
‘Youngblood’ is a classic Green Day song, a seemingly depressing song by its open line “She’s a loner” displayed with upbeat drums and guitar creates a Green Day sound we are all very used too. It’s a love song at its heart, take ‘Give Me Novocaine’ from ‘American Idiot’ and mix it with the upbeat instrumental of ‘Dookie’s ‘basket case’ and you’re halfway to this songs ear shaking sound. The problem with ‘Too Dumb to Die’ is that there is little new about it, it sounds like a weird concoction of all the previous songs, and it isn’t a great one. It still is good, it’s not ear bleeding awful, but it isn’t exactly ‘butterflies in the stomach’ great, unlike some of the previous songs on this album. Which unfortunately makes this the albums one and only pitfall.
The next track ‘Troubled times’ is another slower paced track, with Tres Cools drums providing the clear lead throughout. The chorus picks up pace and a glorious guitar riff catches the mind of any listener and again screams “We’re Back”. ‘Forever Now’ is a real pop-punk anthem, with the typical chords and strum patterns mixed with overlaid vocals, breaks and catchy lyrics – a long with a couple ad libs – this song is a great showing of all the members talents, including Mike Dirnts typically fantastic bass playing skills.
Finally! We have an acoustic performance from Billie Joe Armstrong, and my god, its spectacular. His voice sounds clearer and better than it ever has, and it snatches the title of the bands greatest acoustic song straight from the hands of the previously mentioned ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life0’ without little thought for its predecessor. This will definitely be a crowd pleaser across arenas the world over. It has a guitar line that is impossible not to sway side to side to. This song is Green Day at their very best, which I know is harsh to say when BJ is the only member of the band involved, but still, every time I listen to it it’s like the first time. That is so hard to capture in a song, but it’s everything that should have been expected from this album, and all the intros that hinted at it along the way through the albums track listing created a hype that the song truly lived up to.
It is almost unimaginable that it is autumn 2016, and Billie Joe Armstrong, Tres Cool, Mike Dirnt and Jason White have hit the headlines yet again after the release of one their greatest albums ever. Don’t just imagine it, believe it. The mix of their many different albums and the displaying of their musical range throughout each track is an incredible feat, and despite ‘Too Dumb to Die’ sounding a little bit samey, the album as whole is incredibly strong, and is not only a triumphant return from the ageing rockers but is also a statement on the current state of the U.S. and it hasn’t even mention the current election.
The revolution is truly on, and Green Day have fronted the Revolt.
Source by Jonathan Willcox