Release Year: 2012
Green Day shocked everyone this past summer when announcing they were releasing not one, but three albums over the next four months. Speculation began as people wondered whether this was the greatest thing the band would attempt or whether they had finally lost their shit. Well, now ¡UNO! has arrived and it proves that they will retain their title of biggest rock band in the world for at least another year. The first disc from their upcoming trilogy has something for everyone: there are songs that harken back to the days of Dookie and there are tracks where the band let loose and get their experimental juices flowing. With so many awesome, catchy, and infectious songs on one disc, there’s at least one you’re bound to fall in love with.
The album kicks off with the energetic and hook happy “Nuclear Family.” This may just be one of the best tracks from the album. Fans who have been listening to the band since their early days will really appreciate this song. It doesn’t sound like they are re-doing what they did back in the day, but it has that classic Green Day sound everyone knows and loves: it’s fast, loud, and snotty. Rather than making a statement about what’s going on in the country, the guys sound like they’re having fun, which is another reason why this song is so great. It has that good ol’ rock n roll vibe and Billie’s vocals are spot on as he sings “Like a nuclear bomb and it won’t be long til I detonate!” The song is just fun and really gets you pumped and excited to see what else the guys have up their sleeves for this record.
“Stay the Night” could damn well be the next Green Day classic. It begins with a mellow guitar riff ringing out before it picks up the pace and brings back that punk rock attitude. This is another song that screams classic Green Day: awesome guitar riffs, rolling bass grooves, clever lyrics, and of course catchy hooks to pull you in. The one line I really love in this song is “I wanna break your heart until your stomach turns.” Something about it is so witty, yet so viscous at the same time. And this viciousness is found throughout the album. “Carpe Diem” is another song that will take fans back to the band’s old material. And as lots of fans already pointed out, it’s similar to another Green Day song “Suffocate.” But this doesn’t make it bad. It’s still catchy and shows that the boys haven’t lost their touch.
There are even some songs where the band pays tribute to their punk rock roots. “Let Yourself Go” and “Loss of Control” are both bratty punk rock anthems full of get the fuck out of my way attitude. The first song is the perfect moshing anthem. When you hear the hard, fast guitars you can see everyone pogo dancing in your head. Also, this song seems to be an homage to The Ramones because everything from the sound to the vocals are reminiscent of the legendary band. The second song is the perfect anthem for anyone stuck in high school (or for anyone who thinks attending their high school reunion is a good idea). Both songs have this overpowering energy that just explodes inside of you. When you get down to it, they’re damn good songs. Even though the guys get back to their roots, they also play around with their sound a bit.
“Kill the DJ” has funky, rockabilly music that sounds more suited for Green Day’s side band Foxboro Hot Tubs, but they really pull if off. It doesn’t even sound out place on the album. The dance driven song might take you by surprise, but there’s an undeniable groove that will have you moving before you can change the track. Another song that stands out is “Troublemaker.” It has this great 50’s, bad boy greaser vibe as Billie snarls “Hey, I like your BMW.” What makes the song so cool are the vocals. There’s sort of a spoken word vibe going on and I love how snotty, bratty, and condescending Billie sounds here. It may have to grow on you, but it’s a great song.
Really, every song is awesome. There’s not a single time where I reached for the skip button. “Angel Blue” and “Fell for You” have infectious hooks that you’ll be singing before the song is over, while “Sweet 16” has the ability to make you cry. It’s a sweet love song, most likely dedicated to Armstrong’s wife. And while it’s a straightforward love song, it’s not mushy or cheesy; it’s just really sweet. Even “Oh Love” finds its place here. While it may not have been strong enough to be a single, it feels like a perfect end to the album and leads the way to ¡DOS! Some of the songs are so damn awesome that you don’t care how many times you hear them. I’ve heard the album about 10 times and I’m still not sick of it.
This album is a nice change of pace not just in sound, but in subject matter. For the past two albums, the band went with rock operas that had a political message. But here the songs all deal with partying, sex, love, and getting wasted. Just about all of the songs have some sort of drinking reference in them. The best one comes from “Fell for You:” “Woke up in a pool of sweat, first I thought I had pissed the bed.” Even “Sweet 16” mentions a girl holding “a bottle of Old English.” Basically, this album is all about the guys having a good time and letting loose. They sound like they’re having a blast and it’s probably way the songs turned out so great.
Overall, the album gets 9/10. This album is perfect for those who wanted the band to get back to their punk rock roots and for those who want the guys to experiment with their music. Every song is catchy as hell, guaranteed to make you have the whole album memorized after the first listen. The songs are fun, sweet, and even promiscuous at times. Green Day really brought their A game for this album and it leaves you wanting more. Hopefully, the second disc of the trilogy will definitely wet our appetites.