Green Day was the first band I ever liked. I listened to other stuff before, but it was either because my parents were playing music for me or because I was just listening to whatever my brother was listening to. Then one day I saw the video for "Basket Case" and basically said whatever the 9-year-old's equivalent of "what the fuck was that?" is. Somehow I got a cassette copied from a CD of "Dookie", and that's basically the only thing I listened to for 2 years. It's 23 years later and here I am listening to a new Green Day album.
"Somewhere Now" opens this album with an acoustic guitar backed by some weird floaty background stuff and an intro verse before the drop, which just gets more electric and a little louder, but it doesn't hit as hard as it wants you to think it does. That's basically our theme for this album, at least sonically. This album is a great example of shitty modern pop recording techniques trying to balance loudness and clarity while stripping away any fullness the music might have had and making it feel empty and shallow with weird swells and too much space. It doesn't work for this band.
Track 2 "Bang Bang" starts off really quiet and with some dumb propaganda audio clips, a trope well past its expiration date. This time the drop works, but it should've been a cold open. Now it feels like Green Day. Up-tempo, and energetic, Bang Bang sounds like it could fit in on "International Superhits" at least until the bridge, where it gets dark and plays up the weird political tone before giving us one more chorus. "Revolution Radio" is only getting a mention here because it's the title track. It's ok, but it's not great. So far this album is giving the impression that they're still trying to make cohesive story albums or song cycles. "American Idiot" was a good idea, and it was almost executed well enough to deserve the attention that it got, but it doesn't mean you need to keep going down that road.
Green Day is a great band, but they're doing too much. They've earned the right to do whatever the fuck they want, but they should know enough to not keep calling it Green Day if it sounds like this. The hollowness of the overall sound is only made more apparent by the forced lyrics. I don't know if they're trying to elevate themselves to some higher level of songwriting, but it's not working. They're overcomplicating their sound with pianos and excessive effects and weird bridges and breakdowns. They're overcomplicating their songs by trying too hard to say something and leaving meaningfulness behind. "Dookie" and "Insomniac" say a lot more and do so more effectively than "Revolution Radio", "American Idiot" or "21st Century album that made me stop listening to new stuff by Green Day".
Somebody needs to sit these guys down and have this conversation with them...
I love Green Day. I wish this album on had kicked me in the chest the way "Insomniac" does, or managed to bring something different without sacrificing any core quality, like "Warning". I wish it had some hooks and earworms and made me feel something, but it feels overproduced and unnoteworthy.