Green Day “UNO!” REVIEW: A Modern Classic of Power Pop Perfection
Reviewing albums can be a tiresome, wearying experience (see No Doubt review), however every once in a while you get a nice surprise and Billie Joe and the boys have delivered one in spades.
The last decade has probably been the most successful period for the band, what with the musical and the multi-platinum American Idiot album and all, which is ironic considering the music they were making was not particularly Green Day-sy, for lack of a better adjective. I always respected Armstrong’s decision to stretch himself out musically and politically, but it just never hit me on a gut level.
Thusly, I was reticent to hear what their latest offering sounded like, and I can say unequivocally that UNO! (the first of a TRIPLE album set to be released separately) is a true return to their Dookie form. From beginning to end they never let up with some of the purest, hard driving power pop that I’ve heard since.. well Dookie.
First and foremost, this is the best sounding album Green Day has released. Instead of going for any bells and whistles production-wise, they smartly spared it way down, leaving only the elements that made them great in the first place. Instrumentally, the band is on fire; the guitar cuts through like a straight razor, with Armstrong finally allowing himself to play a more than competent lead guitar throughout. Tré Cool, and Mike Dirnt have also stepped it up a notch putting in the best performance of their career. The rhythm section is everything that I ever wanted to hear from them but felt they never quite pulled off… Cool’s snare punches through every song with an energy that seems impossible for someone approaching 40, and Dirnt’s bass tone sounds renewed; looping and pulsing in perfect syncoptation with the kick.
Songwise, the album is packed front to back with tuneful, concise numbers with nary a dead spot… There are no fast forward songs here, from the blistering opener, ‘Nuclear Family’, that sports a killer solo and melodic middle eight to the uplifting ‘Carpe Diem’ to the romantic, Knacks-y “Sweet 16″ to the positively anthemic closer (and first single) “Oh Love”, which I didn’t even like when I first heard it, but in the context of the other songs it’s absolutely perfect.
All this makes Billie Joe Armstrong’s recent personal struggles even more sad and upsetting, and the humiliation they suffered by having their performance cut off and his subsequent breakdown over it all the more infuriating.
Here’s hoping he gets better soon, cause this is an album I’d love to see them take to the road.
A modern classic.