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With a career spanning 25 years already, eight previous studio albums, side project The Foxboro Hot Tubs and even their own Rock Band videogame, Green Day has had quite a journey so far.
Since “21st Century Breakdown” was released in 2009, besides touring, the punk rockers have been hard at work on not one, but three new albums to be released in the coming months. “¡Uno!” is the first of the trilogy and was released on Sept. 24. While this is no rock opera tale of St. Jimmy or Christian and Gloria like the last two LPs, and the styles from “Dookie” to “Warning” are left in the past, “¡Uno!” has some entertaining bits.
The album opens with the upbeat “Nuclear Family” that instantly brings that new Green Day feeling. It has a catchy melody, some cool guitar riffs and feels just right for time. “Stay the Night” is also memorable for its smooth guitar lead-in that picks up into a nice chorus about, well, staying the night. By the third track, “Carpe Diem,” “¡Uno!” hits its first road bump. While it has a simple melody that will probably stick in your head and a nice guitar solo towards the end, it feels somewhat similar to “Before the Lobotomy” from “21st Century Breakdown.” Then again, this is not the first time this has happened with Green Day. “Kill the DJ,” the fifth track, stands as the odd one out for its more pop-like feel. With a constantly repeating chorus of “Someone kill the DJ, shoot the F****in’ DJ,” it’s a love it or hate it situation that could have been left out. “Fell For You” closes out the first half and is also forgettable. “Troublemaker” is the shortest on the album at 2:45 but it still delivers despite its length and has an enjoyable “Foxboro Hot Tubs” flavor. Track ten, “Sweet 16” is the stereotypical romance song touting “you will always be my sweet 16,” but at least one of those was to be expected. Closing out the album and likely the most well known thanks to its single release is “Oh Love.” At 5:03, it’s the longest track but does not feel like it, as listeners get lost in the song. It combines the best parts of the album and leaves the bad out. There is the calm intro with crooning by Billy Joe leading into Mike and Tre’s accompaniment, a catchy chorus and another great solo. There is a reason why it was the first single and saved for last.
At just over 41 minutes long, the album feels a tad bit short but that is probably because there are no nine-minute opuses and less tracks than their previous endeavors. There is some enjoyable material here from Green Day’s current style and nothing too groundbreaking. Some of it is unnecessary and may not warrant purchasing the full album for most listeners but several tracks instead. This is still a good buy for serious fans though and leaves listeners wanting more of what will soon be released on “¡Dos!” and “¡Tré!” It’s curious for what November’s release will have in store with rumors of a more garage-band feel.