The period of 1997-2002 is amongst the least successful of Green Day’s twenty five year career, both in terms of commercial success and critical reception. It is ironic that during that time, the band released two of their most underappreciated albums in ‘Nimrod’ and ‘Warning’. So why then, at a time in which the band are bigger than ever worldwide, have they decided to return to the sound of those two records yet again?
2004 concept album American Idiot saw the East Bay trio’s popularity explode at a time where their future had seemed uncertain at best. Hungry to play more sold-out stadiums, Green Day repeated the formula with 21st Century Breakdown five years later. However, if the latter record was the sound of a band trying slightly too hard to incorporate political themes into their writing, Uno sees Green Day liberated in a way not seen for a number of years.
The twelve track album is extremely accessible (and whisper it: quite poppy in places), but is a welcome change of pace in context of their recent efforts. Early highlights ‘Stay the Night’ and ‘Carpe Diem’ would fit right into ‘Warning’, while fellow choice tracks ‘Nuclear Family’ and ‘Loss of Control’ are as hook-laden as anything you will hear this year.
‘Kill the DJ’ is very much the black sheep of the family, recalling the band’s alter-egos Foxboro Hot Tubs. It sounds like a departure too far at first, but thankfully proves to be a grower.
‘Angel Blue’ and ‘Rusty James’ fit into the sound of the record without ever threatening to break out. Phrased bluntly, these tracks are the closest to filler that you will find on this collection.
Uno is just the first of three full-length albums that Green Day will be releasing in the next four months. It is fitting then that when ‘Oh Love’ wraps up proceedings for now; it doesn’t feel like farewell. Instead, the listener is asked to begin a period of digestion, allowing the first of the three instalments to breathe before ‘Dos’ and ‘Tre’ take the limelight in November and January.
Green Day will always be a band to divide opinion. Of course, they are now a million miles away from their punk roots, but the song writing talents of Billie-Joe Armstrong are worthy of anyone’s respect. It’s not the most innovative record that Green Day have ever written. It certainly isn’t their best either, but it is an instantly enjoyable affair that indicates much more to come from Berkeley’s most successful alumni.
7 out of 10
- Nuclear Family
- Stay The Night
- Carpe Diem
- Let Yourself Go
- Kill The Dj
- Fell For You
- Loss Of Control
- Angel Blue
- Sweet 16
- Rusty James
- Oh Love