This is Green Day at its best on ‘Revolution Radio’
Concept albums, Broadway musical adaptations, a public on-stage meltdown — Green Day’s road to “Revolution Radio” has been one chaotic ride.
To emerge from all the chaos after a four-year layoff with what may be the best album of the Oakland band’s career seems somewhat miraculous, but the evidence is all here in the grooves.
Not a note seems to be out of place or a moment wasted on “Revolution Radio,” whose songs pour forth with such consistent melodic invention and visceral impact that it sounds like a greatesthits album.
Most of us can relate to “I’m running late to somewhere now that I don’t want to be,” the opening line of the album’s opening track, “Somewhere Now,” but it’s only the opening salvo of this uniformly strong work.
Lead guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong excels at all three of those activities here, but his songwriting is the engine that drives “Revolution Radio.”
From pounding rockers such as “Bang Bang” and the brief but deliriously infectious “Bouncing Off the Wall,” to more reflective numbers such as “Say Goodbye” and the closing acoustic ballad, “Ordinary World,” Armstrong’s songs weld hook-filled melodies to thoughtful, socially aware lyrics in ways that few other contemporary songwriters can match.
With its inspirational and universal message, “Still Breathing” should be the national anthem for survivors of all human calamities — addiction, violence, depression, you name it.
Armstrong even pulls off a three-part, nearly seven-minute epic, “Forever Now,” which opens with two glowing powerpop segments, followed by a reprise of “Somewhere Now” bathed in lush Beach Boys-style vocal harmonies. It’s unexpected, and dazzling.
The band — Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool — produced the album themselves in near-total secrecy, getting a rich, full sound that bursts out of the speakers, with Cool’s explosive drumming deserving special praise.
COVER COURTESY OF REPRISE RECORDS Green Day’s “Revolution Radio”