United States of whatever
When a band has been around for three decades, it is bound to have a few misses among the many hits. Green Day are the first to admit that their trilogy of albums released in 2012 (the imaginatively-titled Uno, Dos and Tre) were, in Billie Joe Armstrong’s words, their “attempt to be prolific for the sake of it”; in ours, they were flabby, self-indulgent affairs.
This time, the Californian punk-rockers have an agenda – of sorts. As the title of their 12th studio album suggests, many of these songs tackle the current state of the tumultuous world and the violence of their home country; the thrashy, frantic Bang Bang is told from the perspective of a mass shooter, while Troubled Times asks “What part of history have we learned when it’s repeated?” Others, like the self-celebratory Still Breathing and Forever Now, adopt a more personal narrative – an unsurprising development given Armstrong’s stint in rehab for prescription painkiller addiction.
It’s never been just about the lyric sheet with Green Day. The mid-fortysomethings have plenty of firepower left in their cannons with the punchy, energetic riffs of the title track, the considered pop-punk of Bouncing Off the Wall and the surging anthemic chorus of Outlaws.
Still, you can’t help but feel that their valiant attempt at making a political statement falls somewhat flat by recycling the same musical tropes that they’ve peddled their entire career. They may have have twisted the dial a little, but at the end of the day, Revolution Radio sounds like just another Green Day album. greenday.com
Revolution Radio ★★★