When I wrote my review for the first of Green Day’s three-part album release, ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tre!, I said that parts two and three would have to differentiate themselves in some way or the whole collection might be just about irrelevant. Putting out records in this way lends a band a great deal of flexibility to be creative or experimental, and to reach three entirely different audiences, but that first release was mostly pop-punk filler. It was disappointing. I enter into this review hopeful that they are yet willing to change things up.
‘See You Tonight’ is a very unique opening for a Green Day record. It sounds like a stoner singalong from the 1970s, and does a fantastic job of creating an intimate atmosphere to set the stage for the record, but it’s over very quickly and the album never really ventures back into that territory.
These songs all have a slightly older sound than those on ¡Uno!, at times venturing back to Green Day’s garage roots, and even further back as they dip into more 70s and 80s punk and ska influences. While ¡Uno! didn’t do enough to separate itself from the watered down pep-punk which saturates what remains of that market, ¡Dos! is a markedly more interesting album. However, it would be hard not to earn at least that as a mark in the positive column, and this is still highly derivative music.
‘Fuck Time’ isn’t a complaint about the number of hours in the day, or a YOLO-like message about living it up while one is young, but a direct order. Guess what we’re doing tonight, baby? Oh yeah, it’s fuck time! The song just doesn’t seem to work; It feels like the band is trying to be cheeky for its own sake and– while that can be a good thing sometimes– it is more likely to elicit a grimace than a hot date.
For a band to go for a more vintage punk style makes feeling authentic that much more difficult, but also that much more important. Green Day does not pull off this magic trick, and instead this is another collection of poppy, disposable music, just with a few different motifs thrown in which end up feeling like gimmicks in most cases once you have context.
‘Wild One’ sounds like a song made for prom, which brings it firmly in-line with the songs on ¡Uno! which I described as feeling like they were designed exclusively for teen movie soundtracks. By this point in the record they seem already to have lost any ambition to make a thematic or noticeably different record, if that was ever their intention.
‘Nightlife’ is probably the most interesting song on the album, but it might also be the least successful. It creeps up behind you with funky bass, innuendo and spy guitar, and features some female rapper who sounds like Ke$ha without any attitude. While interesting, the only problem is how forced it all sounds, to the point of being almost comical.
The album fades out and whimpers away, and by that point it seems to have lost any lingering remnant of the unique qualities from those first few songs. On paper it can be said that this collection of music is a bit different than ¡Uno!, but barely, and in practice the experience is exactly the same. Disappointing.
Release Date: November 19, 2012
Image Courtesy of Reprise