Best Album of 2016

Revolution Radio – Green Day

Picking my choice for best album of 2016 was harder than I imagined. In past years it was easy. There was always one record that stood out among the others. But so much of the music I heard this year was so good or at least enjoyable. It was hard to pick out which one rose above the others, but when I thought about which album excited me and kept me listening long after its release, the choice became clear.

Revolution Radio is one of Green Day’s strongest records. Their future seemed spotty after the Trilogy. And though I was one of the few that enjoyed those albums, they didn’t pump me up like their previous efforts. As soon as I heard “Bang Bang,” I knew the album was going to be killer. The last time I was truly excited for Green Day after hearing one song was 21st Century Breakdown. I don’t hate the singles from the Trilogy, but they’re kind of disappointing. RevRad kept me excited even after I heard the entire thing 50 times.  It took me a few listens to actually fall in love with the record, but that’s because I had certain expectations. I thought every song was going to sound like the lead single, so when heard tracks like “Somewhere Now” and “Outlaws” I didn’t know what to think. But after giving them a chance and looking at the lyrics, I found them to be strong, thoughtful songs.

Many felt the Trilogy saw the band take a step backward, trying to hold on to long lost youth. This record is the opposite. Green Day looks forward even if the future doesn’t look so bright. Sometimes they’re reflective, sometimes they’re angry, which is when the band really thrives. They also toss in some political commentary about recent events like the Black Lives Matter movement. It doesn’t permeate the entire record, like American Idiot or 21st Century Breakdown, but it’s just enough. I honestly loved how they mixed in social commentary with songs about looking forward and getting older. The entire thing feels honest. It’s also a very focused record, something that was lacking from the Trilogy. It doesn’t sound like they’re going all over the place never sure which direction to take.

The record also seems like a mesh of what Green Day has done before. There’s the maturity of Warning, anger of American Idiot, and even some party vibes from the Trilogy. Even if the record isn’t perfect and still can’t top their best albums, it shows different sides to the band we love. They’re wild, and having fun at times. Others they’re serious and show they’re afraid for the future, something many are feeling right now. RevRad didn’t meet my initial exceptions, but that unpredictability is part of the reason I love it so much. Sure, they may be playing with the same formula, but they gave it to us in a way that made us excited, made us feel a way the Trilogy didn’t. Yes, Green Day are getting older as they show on this record, but they also show they still know how to make some noise.

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