Green Day – Dos!
CD / DL
The second of Green Day’s trilogy of releases for 2012 hears the band regressing to their slightly purile version of punk pop.
Having managed to carve and sustain a 25-year-long career out of just power-chords, Green Day are undoubtedly the masters of the three chord song.
Whilst their peers have wilted much like a malnourished, neglected flowering plant, with âAmerican Idiotâ Green Day proved the Japanese Knotweed of the pop punk collective â persistently growing stronger and dominating the competition if not seemingly, for a short while, the entire music world. Whilst I am absolutely certain it is not often they get compared to a Japanese Knotweed, (if ever), what I am trying to say â in, admittedly, overly elaborate botanical terminology – is that, Green Day have always maintained an impressive ability to remain relevant and interesting whilst their peers struggled.
Their collective desire to change and evolve their sound has often been their greatest strength, if not their elixir of life, resulting in an impressively eclectic product in 2000âs âWarningâ. However, this time around with their trio of albums âÂ¡Uno!â, âÂ¡Dos!â and the yet-to-be-released âÂ¡TrÃ©!â the band seem to have opted for musical regression rather than progression.
Listening to Â¡Dos! serves as listening to devolution (sorry Fundamentalist Christians) in action â if the Green Day of yesteryear was man, walking tall and domineering, then 2012 finds Green Day dragging their knuckles, beating their chests and, for the first time in recent years, struggling for their survival.
Whilst the albumâs opener âSee you tonightâ, with its syrupy, honeyed melody remains reminiscent of early Green Day circa âKerplunkâ due to its tinny guitar and Billie Joeâs sickeningly sweet, transparent lyrics, it is short-lived and serves as a pre-cursor to what the group have claimed is the âbeginning of the partyâ.
Now, perhaps I just havenât lived, but I canât say I have ever been to a party whereby âFuck Timeâ is on the itinerary (but then again I do not make a habit of attending swinging parties so perhaps that is where I am going wrong) but as it happens this is exactly what is on the agenda at a Green Day party.
Two songs into Â¡Dos! and Billie-Joe, like an overenthusiastic Jack Russell, is already trying to jump your bones â regressing into an ape-like, animalistic mentality he declares âOh baby, baby itâs Fuck time!/You know I really wanna make you mineâ before more ominously stating that he wants to âChoke you âtil youâre blue in the faceâ. Whilst I am not anyone to question other peopleâs sexual preferences or turn ons, the latter proposition does seem somewhat terrifying and has ensured that I will certainly not be attending a Green Day party anytime soon. The song serves as a classic example of something you really shouldnât like, with its startling frankness and quite openly generic blues riff, but proves quite the ear worm â burrowing deep into the listeners subconscious â it is ridiculously catchy and, for future reference, not the best tune to sing in the shower to in a shared houseâ¦ take it from personal experience.
It is upon reaching the third track of the record âStop when the red lights flashâ, that the problems with the album, namely its intermittent patchiness and limited variety, begin to surface. My initial impression of the aforementioned track left me desperately wracking my brain to figure out which song, out of their extensive three-chord based back catalogue, Green Day had ripped off in order to come up with this ânewâ one.
Like several tracks on the album, including âAshleyâ, âStop when the red lights flashâ sounds tragically as if theyâve taken an older track and then done a proverbial copy and paste job, with less satisfying results than the original. âMake-out Partyâ delivers a similarly unsatisfying result, as Green Day revisit the sort of party your 13 year old virginal self (or perhaps not?!) eagerly anticipates, complete with âspin the bottleâ and âtruth or dareâ, whilst your adult self reflects in horror at. With Green Dayâs members now each in their forties, one canât help but think that the tune proves an embarrassing and ultimately for-the-sake-of-it trackâ the sort that even the masters of immaturity, Blink-182, wouldnât touch nowadays.
Whilst lyrical content is weak and almost detached at times, âLazy Bonesâ shines amongst the more mundane and predictable, touching upon more poignant themes that resonate with singer Billie-Joe Armstrongâs current on going struggles with substance abuse; when he achingly laments that he feels like a âprisoner of warâ trapped by his own condition, the listener knows, perhaps for the first time on the album, Billie-Joe means what he says. This particular number sees Green Day at their power chord chugging best – think âLongviewâ sans any hints to masturbation and also, sadly, sans that magnificent LSD inspired bass riff.
Whilst âWild Oneâ is not a patch on the sentimentality of âLazy Bonesâ, the expression in Billie-Joeâs voice; conveying pure exhaustion as if the aforementioned âWild Oneâ has rid him of all his energy (perhaps during âFuck Timeâ?); over the strained guitar and swooping backing vocals makes it instantly memorable â again, in a guilty pleasure sort of way.
Fortunately, unlike its predecessor, Â¡Dos!âs single choice, âStray Heartâ, is not quite as shamelessly commercial as Â¡Uno!âs âKill the DJâ. Having said this, it would still have those purist punks of 924 Gilman St who condemned Green Dayâs commercial sound all those years ago reeling in disgust and rightly so as âStray Heartâ proves an incredibly radio-friendly and accessible single. Whilst it may appeal to the masses and the uninitiated, this accessibility is at the expense of any real lyrical or musical depth, with the exception of Mike Dirntâs bass riff which in itself sounds as if it was not so subtly borrowed from The Jamâs âA town called Maliceâ.
Green Day further stray into the shamelessly commercial territory with âNightlifeâ. Featuring âLady Cobraâ as a guest vocalist, the only saving grace and point of interest in this track, AKA Green Dayâs cringe-worthy attempt at hip-hop, remains the infectious groove provided by Mike Dirntâs dub inspired bass-line and the ever-solid drum work of TrÃ© Cool.
Perhaps I have outgrown Green Day somewhat, much like how I have similarly outgrown the American Idiot hoodie I once donned faithfully like a second skin, and hence the disappointment with Â¡Dos!. On the other hand, if not taken too seriously and accepted for its flaws and predictability, Â¡Dos! has its enjoyable moments and is very listenable.
It is when it is compared to some of their best work, however, that the groupâs second output of the trilogy is exposed for what it really is in the grand scheme of their back catalogue: a limp, flaccid offering that from the outset promises power but never quite delivers that fatal punch.
All words by Soph Lord. You can read more from Soph on LTW here.