Green Day was one of the bands that introduced me into rock when I was a teenager, and that predispose me to be a little soft on them, but after the trilogy they released four years ago, I had poor expectations. I don’t think the trilogy was that bad, it had a great album in it (Dos!) of which I’ll make a review some of these days, but the rest seemed like they have completely lost the pulse of rock nowadays. Their brand new album, Revolution Radio, has proved me wrong. Although it’s far from being perfect, and I would judge it as an average work, it contains some great songs that reminds of their heyday.
The artwork, that is a bit simple in my opinion, and the title of the album, announce rebel lyrics and contestatory rock, but the truth is that the songs that fit this mood are only an attempt to hide the true emotion put in the music: nostalgia. And that’s a nice surprise, since the best songs are the ones which evoke the longing for the things that got lost in the past, for this band, maybe youth and the tireless will that comes with it. On the other hand, at the contrary of what they’ve been doing for almost a decade, it seems they’ve abandoned conceptual albums to go back and write songs about their own lifes and experiences, which I actually find more easy to relate to and feel more authentic, mixed with some others about political or social opinions.
Somewhere now is the awesome opening track and definetely one of the highlights of the album, so it gives to the listener a great first impression and also gives an idea of what is coming ahead: the mixture of nostalgic melodies like the one during the verses, and more standard Green Day rock like in the chorus. Also, the guitar reminds me sometimes a lot of REM and of some of their songs in previous albums, like Give me novacaine or See the light.
Then comes a section of rebel songs that opens with Bang Bang, about the gunfires in the EEUU. The sound turns much more pop-punk standard, Ramones-like, although the drums are good (there’s even a short solo), and the chorus catchy. Also the middle part is the best of the song, featuring gallop rhythm and arabig ambient. Revolution Radio starts with a dissonant and wicked riff to then turn into a more standard sound that keeps during all the song. The rhythm changes in this one are interesting and the sing-along chorus does the job. These two songs really rock and actually I had a lot of fun listening to then. Say goodbye turns music a little more serious, and it stands as another highlight. This is the last of the rebel songs in this section, and it’s a very melodic track with an arabig touch too. The part that features clapping, palm mute on guitars and voice and the chorus are great, with a perfect middle part too. The vocals effects, although they’re a bit overused, seem so natural on the other hand, what is hard to achieve. Outlaws, with interesting verses and a nostalgic chorus is, as a whole, pretty predictable, but the emotional atmosphere it creates turns so longing and comforting at the same time that all its sins are forgiven. One of my favorites.
This is the point where the album turns worse for me, as there’s less quality in the music. First, Bouncing off the wall contrasts sharply with the previous track, although it mends it with a catchy verse. The sound is funny, like in many Green Day songs, and reminds me of Horeshoes and handgranades or even to Revolution Radio, that also used dissonant notes, but it’s still not much original. I’d almost classify it as a fill song. Still Breathing has a far indie reminiscence, but the beat-like rhythm of the verse is horrible, and also it’s too much poppy, almost bubble-gum. Anyway, as an experiment, it’s not bad and one is able to appreciate the efforts. The worst track in the album is, by far, Youngblood. The only word that comes to my mind to define it is ‘seedy’. Too dumb to die keeps on the line of Green Day normal sound, but when all hope was lost, there goes Troubled times. Despites the title announces more cliche, the melody is really good, melancholic and a bit hopeless. The chorus is solid and catchy, and also has a perfect middle part. Forever Now has a title that makes you expect awesome things, but at least in the first part of its six minutes, there’re no such a things really. Around 2:30, starts to get better, even to be a little ‘epic’. But then, they try to recycle the first song of the album with little changes and insert it into this one, with actually doesn’t sound bad, but please, what a lack of imagination… And finally, Ordinary world, a sweet, simple acoustic tune that keeps along with nostalgia, although it sounds fairly commercial.
In conclusion, this album has surprised me in a positive way and it includes some awesome songs that may be a sign that the band is back on track and will be able to regain the place in international rock that belongs to them. I’m already looking forward to listen to their next releases. If you don’t have anything better to listen to, I’d recommend you to give a try to this album.