Verdict: 2 / 5
After political and social commentary on ‘American Idiot’ and ‘21st Century Breakdown’ Green Day return to their roots on ‘Uno’.
The roots of the band can be found on ‘Dookie’, ‘Insomniac’ and ‘Nimrod’; these albums were filled with straightforward pop punk classics about teenage angst, alienation and frustration. ‘American Idiot’ was a watershed moment and ushered in a band that could be silly and serious at the same time, yes ‘Time of Your Life’ proved this point earlier in their career but as a whole, ‘American Idiot’ was that definitive moment when Green Day connected with the disillusioned youth of America in a new and more powerful way. ‘Uno’ stays away from making overt political commentary and returns to the simpler themes of the past. Sadly, the record is incapable of conjuring the past, it stays in a no man’s land of drabness, a lifeless album that speaks volumes about the spent life force of the band. Billy Joe’s rant on iHeart is evidence that the band has not just petered out personally but musically as well.
‘Uno’ is symbolic of Billy and the band’s unstable and frayed psychological state. Songs like ‘Nuclear Family’, ‘Stay the Night’ and ‘Carpe Diem’ are mediocre pop-punk creations that teem with silly lyrics and uninspired chord changes. Billy Joe pens catchy vocal hooks but they are enveloped by soulless and over familiar passages that sound like limp rehashes of older material. ‘Let Yourself Go’ offers a respite, it’s fast, aggressive and catchy, without being stale. The incessant use of the f-word is as annoying as it is childish. The best or worst example of this deluge is found on ‘Kill the DJ’. An atrocious disco jam where Billy’s vocal sits so uncomfortable in the mix it’s cringe worthy; long may the band cower in shame for this. The rest of the album meanders into oblivion, pockmarked with disappointing lyrics and sterile power chords. ‘Sweet 16’ is a mild standout barely alive amongst so many bad apples.
Certain quadrants will relish this older incarnation of the band’s style and praise it from the rooftops but don’t be fooled by their need for nostalgia. Rather, those with keener ears should be wary of the band’s two upcoming releases, ‘Dos’ and ‘Tre’ both part of a triple album that sees each disk released individually, with ‘Uno’ being the first. Hopefully ‘Uno’ is the weak link and the next two can redeem Green Day.