Review: Green Day stages ‘back to basics’ return with ‘¡Uno!’

Michael Bragg

Editor’s Note: The following reflects the opinions of the author.

After a confused two-album stint into political ballads, Green Day attempts a return to their snarky roots with “¡Uno!”.

It would pain many lifelong Green Day fans to admit that “21st Century Breakdown” made them cringe. “American Idiot” was okay; you could respect the rock-opera as a successful experiment in thinking outside the box – but “21st Century Breakdown” took itself too seriously and killed fans with its forced relevance.

Their new album “¡Uno!”, however, is a somewhat relieving return to the whiny songs about unrequited love and angsty rebellions without a cause.

Let’s face it—this is Green Day. No one expects this spiky-haired trio to change anything about the world, we just want to dance and pretend that we’re all thirteen and hate our parents.

As a band that has, as Billie Joe recently reminded us, “been around since f–king nineteen-eighty-f–king-eight,” “¡Uno!” seems to indicate an attempt at an almost charming “back to basics” movement.

The album, the first in a three-part series, features a combination of 1970s era guitar riffs and intentionally catchy throwaway lyrics. Most of the songs seem very ready for radio and nothing more.

Songs like “Let Yourself Go” with lyrical gems, like “Shut your mouth cause you talk too much, And I don’t give a f–k anyway” accompanied by simple chord progressions ring through to some pop-punk roots. While on paper this directly references their early work, something sounds a bit off in practice.

The album definitely takes some cues from more popular alternative rock of the past few years, and as a result some of the songs feel a little forced. Coming from these formerly bored and angry perpetual teenagers, the ironic pop act feels a little too real for comfort.

These 40-year-olds are reaching the end of their relevancy.

Nobody likes an aging punk. No matter how hard they try, the sincerity in their angst is lost.

But for die-hard fans, it’s still fun to pretend they still have it and to refuse to admit that this music is terrible.

Rather, it’s as though Green Day has acquiesced to changing popular music circumstances and is finally aging gracefully without the forced maturity of their previous albums.

“¡Uno!” is a feel-good pop-punk album that accomplishes its goals, even if in doing so it disappoints fans.

Rating: Three and a half out of four stars.

Story: LOVEY COOPER, Intern A&E Reporter