Green Day - Dos

by Greg Spencer Rating:6 Release Date:2012-11-13

After the release of ¡Uno!, Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong had a slight meltdown on stage in Las Vegas and had to go to rehab, the band then had to subsequently cancel a significant amount of tour dates until the mercurial lead singer was fit and healthy again. With no news of Green Day's leading light forthcoming, ¡Dos! arrives with not much publicity or attention, it feels like an album that's gone in under the radar and unfortunately it might just stay that way.

Green Day are a band who have shifted from one scene to another with each album, which has been a strong point of theirs. In the early days with Kerplunk and Dookie they straddled the line between catchy rock songs and punk-influenced music, Insomniac was hard hitting and in-your-face attitude, Nimrod and Warning showed their experimental side with acoustic songs and even harmonicas used sparingly. After their 'grown up' phase of the game-changing American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown which felt like the tough second album in many ways, we now have a band who want to go back to basics and with this new trio of albums they certainly seem to be doing that.

This record is full of songs that are soft and mellow compared to something from their back catalogue like Insomniac, it's a record which begins with 'See You Tonight' which is a one minute Simon & Garfunkel sounding rendition which is full of retro ideals and has that old school 50's rock & roll feel. This is swiftly followed by 'Fuck Time' which couldn't be further away from its predecessor or less obvious concerning subject matter. With tongue firmly in cheek, it's a track which still carries guitar lines that sound like they're influenced by 50's and 60's rock music, so it's not surprising that Billie Joe Armstrong said they'd been listening to The Beatles before making the record.

Unfortunately, and as painstaking it is to say it as a Green Day fan, what follows is a handful of filler tracks which wouldn't be out of place as American Idiot B-sides. 'Wild One' for example is a song with no soul to it at all, it's slow paced but drags, the lyrics are tiresome and the repetitive power-chord structure just irks of a band putting anything on the record regardless of quality. Billie Joe said of the second instalment of the trilogy "the second has a more party sort of sound. It ends up being a party from hell", it's definitely a record where Green Day seem to be having lots of fun but unlike most of their albums, it's missing that key ingredient that usually separates them from most mainstream fare.

It's not that surprising that there isn't huge quality throughout every single inch of the trilogy because quantity usually decreases quality, so the fact that the record doesn't match up to old releases wasn't too much of a stretch to believe when Green Day announced they were doing a trilogy. However ¡Dos! is poor compared to ¡Uno! because at least that record felt like the songs had some sort of substance and weren't just there to fill space.

There are some interesting things on this record however, the band do go to places where they have simply never been. 'Nightlife' is a song which introduces dance beats and female vocals which Green Day have practically never conjured up. On any other Green Day album this would be slightly horrific but because of the mundaneness of a fair number of the songs on the record, it's actually a relief that the band are trying to keep the record fresh. There's a handful of songs which are a lot of fun and if you take the album at face value it's just a band going back to basics and having a good time which you can't really begrudge. Songs like 'Stray Heart' and 'Lady Cobra' are the essence of the party, but it's just a shame you have to clean up the proverbial mess before you can enjoy it.

Most parties are great fun but there's always the loud, annoying guy in the corner who spouts a lot of shit but who eventually comes out with something interesting. ¡Dos! is that guy, you have to trudge through the slightly mundane to get to a tiny crevice of interest, and even that's not ground breaking. It'd be great if ¡Tré! brought some sort of clarity and cohesion to the trilogy because as of right now it looks an uneven beast.

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