Oh, Green Day. Where did it all go so wrong? On American Idiot that snotty punk band that sang about wanking grew up into a political powerhouse. If we’d known then that it would start them on a path that ended at Revolution Radio, I could have done without it.
Let’s make one thing clear from the outset. This isn’t Green Day. I don’t care that all the same members are there and that their name is on the CD because this is no longer the same band. This is now Green Day version 2.0, and unlike most upgrades, this one hasn’t fixed the bugs. It’s added more.
The biggest of which is an obsession with trying to write mainstream friendly rock songs that are designed to play on every radio station in the world. The second ‘Somewhere Now’ transitions from its acoustic opening into mid-tempo dullness you can see that. It’s so incredibly boring that the temptation to give up on the album strikes you about two minutes in.
If you can get past that though you will be presented with a couple of alright tracks. ‘Bang Bang’ would have been an okay B-side on American Idiot and ‘Revolution Radio’ may have an atrocious chorus but the rest of it isn’t actively offensive. Now I look back on that saying they were alright might have been giving them too much credit.
Yet, compared to the rest of the album those songs are fucking Dookie. In my notes on ‘Outlaws’, all I have written down is: ‘you’re nae an outlaw, you’re a cunt’. Which might not be my most eloquent work but it gets the point across. It’s five minutes of Billie Joe Armstrong warbling in what is presumably meant to be a soulful manner but has all the emotional strength of being told by a pisshead that he loves you in a kebab shop at five in the morning.
This album is bloated. It’s bloated despite not even being that long. In another band’s hands ‘Bouncing Off The Wall’ could be a one minute forty punk rock rager. In Green Day’s it’s two minute and forty and plods into obscurity. While ‘Still Breathing attempts to go toe to toe with ‘Outlaws’ for the song with the most insincere sincerity.
By the time you hit ‘Youngblood’, you begin to worry whether you can take any more crappy mediocrity and you might even question whether 21st Century Breakdown was that bad (it was). However, you still have a bit of a trek before the end including the near seven minutes of ‘Forever Now’. If somehow you were still clinging to Green Day’s punk rock credentials at this point then this is the moment they dropkick them off the edge of the world. It’s pish; the whole thing is pish so let’s just turn off the light and go home.
This album makes me sad. It makes me sad for that band that played a big part in thousands of people’s musical upbringing. Green Day were a pop-punk band from a punk-rock background, and they got the chance to tackle the mainstream. Sadly, they have chosen to meekly bow their hands and go along with it instead.