‘Revolution Radio’ – Green Day – 07/10/16
I feel 13 again. Good Charlotte, Blink 182 and Red Hot Chili Peppers have all had new albums out this year and now Green Day!?!!??
Admittedly on my first listen I was confused. I didn’t hate it, but I definitely didn’t love it. I couldn’t work out if I was expecting more or not. Maybe more rhythmic sections and breakdowns with bigger guitar solos and maybe a harmony here or there. But thats not what Green Day is about and never has been. So after another few listens I’ve concluded ‘Revolution Radio’ is definitely a grower.
If you can see past the generic chord structures typically seen in the ‘Guitar for Beginners’ book section of your local guitar shop then you’ll love it. If you can see past Billy Joe Armstrong preaching in his God like way (we all know he does this…. Right?!) and at a lot of the times obvious lyrics, then again, you’ll love it. Everyone knows they love a good power chord and ‘chanting and that’s exactly what this album has to offer throughout. The album sounds like sweaty adolescence and a rebellious youth, mainly reflected through Billy’s cries for starting a revolution and nostalgia through tracks like ‘Young Blood’ and ‘Too Dumb to Die’. Why they decided to start the album with one of the worst Green Day songs I’ve ever heard I’ll never know. The chord progression is weaker than a milky brew and offers little melodically, rhythmically, lyrically and musically as a whole. If the Foo Fighters (for example) had recorded the same song at least Dave’s vocals would have pulled it off but the lack of enthusiasm and general dreary tone offered by Billy throughout this fails to grab even an ounce of my interest.
Much can be said about the album’s closing track ‘Ordinary World’ which feels like a dilute attempt at another ‘Good Riddance (Time of your Life)’. Again the song sounds empty leaving the album to fizzle out rather than end with a bang. Who knows, maybe with time they too will grow on me?
If the album had started with track 2 Bang Bang’ instead then we’d be having a different conversation. This is exactly what I was expecting – it sounds like Bart Simpson after drinking his first Red Bull and like most of the album feels fast and fruity. Stand out tracks to me include the token ballad ‘Outlaws’ which feels like a cross of ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ meets ‘Wake me up When September Ends’ both from the ‘American Idiot album.
‘Revolution Radio’ offers the catchiest chorus melody on the album and the verses make you wanna turn your amp up to 11 and chug the S%#t out of your battered, sticker covered guitar. The coolest riff comes in the form of ‘Say Goodbye’ which feels like The Black Keys had a baby with Marilyn Manson and then forgot to name him. Cool verse riff but not very well calculated lyrics in my opinion, opportunity wasted and not too dissimilar to ‘Holiday’ from ‘American Idiot’.
The feel good track Still Breathing’ is the most pop song on the album but with the most uplifting crowd pleasing chorus. I bet it’s great seeing this song live. ‘Young Blood’ is another song I can imagine going down well live with it’s simple but effective two worded wonder of a chorus. Simple or too simple I’ll let you decide.
One of the tracks I feel Greenday particularly nailed is ‘Troubled Times’. The verses carry plenty of integrity chord wise and the chorus kicks politicians and everyone’s parents ass. If you wanna chuck your TV out of your window, do it to the chorus of this song! It sounds like accessible Nirvana in the the rain eating a chuppa chups lolly, catchy with the right amount of grit.
The album as a whole sounds exactly like you would have expected from the veteran Californian Punk pop Trio (Plus the old random guy you quite often see on stage with them at gigs…) Youthful, fun, energetic but unfortunately it’s sandwiched between two stale, mouldy and unappetising pieces of musical bread not even fit for the ducks. Quack!?!! A solid 7/10 from me – Not sure they’ll be rushing to turn this into a musical anytime soon, but it’s still another strong album to add to Green Day’s monstrous collection.
Review: James Rodgers