Green Day, the bay area punk trio that started out playing at their own high school, hit it big in 1994 with their album Dookie. Since then it has been a steady path toward success and accolades. With the exception of the last three albums; UNO!, DOS! and TRE! were somewhat of a departure from Green Day’s usual sound and style. No doubt, they earned the right to do that. But now, coming off the heels of those three aberrations, Revolution Radio is finally a Green Day album that actually sounds like a Green Day album. Let Green Day be Green Day again.
Revolution Radio is a return to Green Day’s gritty yet melodic style, always splashed with a heavy dose of dissident lyrics and dissonant chords. The album, released Oct 7, will be sure to please die hard Green Day fans from Berkeley to Japan.
The new album offers the Green Day usual: soft poppy melodies, muted rhythmic riffs, and occasional falling off into the minor chords, perfectly crafted by pessimistic souls.
Right from the beginning, “Somewhere Now” starts off with a melancholy, dreamy solo by Billy Joe, accompanied only by his wistful guitar, before breaking into edgier verses and chorus. The album simultaneously alternates between fast catchy melodies and slow brooding descents that pull at your heart and threaten to rip it clean out of your chest.
Indeed there is something haunting in this album that echoes the likes of American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. It has the ability to both draw you into deep introspection and then picks you up and says “Okay, now go fight your way through the pit.” If you were into American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, you won’t be disappointed with Revolution Radio which picks up exactly where those masterpieces left off.
Billy Joe continues to antagonize and amaze with his lyrics. He starts off “Forever Now” by belting out “Standing at the edge of the world/It’s giving me the chills” and by the end he’s crooning “I’m running late to somewhere now where I don’t want to be/Where the future and promises ain’t what it used to be.” In “Troubled Times” he opens with the Socratic dig “What good is love and peace on earth?/When it’s exclusive?/Where’s the truth in the written word?/If no one reads it?” The song builds in both gravitas and rhythm and turns into the Idiocracy-esque, apocalyptic “We run for cover/Like a skyscraper’s falling down/Then I wander like a troubled mind.”
Every song on Revolution Radio will give you something you love about Green Day: Heart-crushing ballads (“Outlaws”), fast shoot ’em up tempos(“Revolution Radio” and “Bang Bang”), kick ass riffs (“Say Goodbye”), and three-part rock operas (“Forever Now”).
There are sure to be haters, but you can’t help but marvel at how these guys have progressed over the years. Green Day has added nuance and craft to their straightforward pop punk style. In this case, it has culminated in yet another kick ass album that may not exactly be revolutionary, but deserves to be blasted across the radio waves.