Green Day Drops '¡Uno!': The Reviews Are In
Just days after frontman Billie Joe Armstrong checked into treatment following his on-stage breakdown, Green Day has dropped its ninth studio album, ¡Uno!.
The punk rock band's record is the first installment of its much-anticipated ambitious trilogy — its first collection of new music since 2009's 21st Century Breakdown — with ¡Dos! expected Nov. 13 and ¡Tre! on Jan. 15.
In the wake of Armstrong's headline-hitting expletive-ridden rant and subsequent trip to rehab, how are critics taking to the trio's new tunes?
While some reviewers applaud Green Day's return to its pop-punk reputation, others lament the band's play-it-safe sound.
And all seem to pose the same burning question: Can the beloved band — with its lead man out of commission, at least for the meantime — pull off this hat-trick trilogy?
See how ¡Uno! is fairing in the eyes of the pop-rock pundits:
The L.A. Times: "¡Uno!feels like the work of a band that has painted itself into an aesthetic corner...[or] a band currently either uninterested in or unconcerned with taking artistic chances.... Every chorus is telegraphed, every bridge comes when it should, and every chord feels crafted by the streamlining experts at Ikea. There are a few very powerful songs that deserve to be commercial hits. Among the best is the closer, 'Oh Love,' which suggests a drunken Irish pub chant distorted and pumped with steroids. 'Let Yourself Go' is the obvious chart-buster, the one that'll no doubt be used to back NFL highlight reels for years to come."
USA Today: "Here, Green Day hurls a dozen hot, radio-aimed grenades that reaffirm the band's status as a punk-pop powerhouse…. The threesome [is] its spastic, bombastic best."
Idolator: "[¡Uno! is] a departure from those past albums’ dramatic, structural formats and lacks their hyper-angsty and political themes.... Perverted by time and distance, these notes of rebellious whimsy and emotional longing seem rather pre-packaged for some teenage sap’s most formative experiences. It’s fantasy or farce — the attempt of a wild middle-aged musician to write about his audience, as opposed to his own self, creating something that feels impersonal and smutty.... If anyone came here looking for something even slightly challenging, they’d be better off looking elsewhere."
NY Daily News: "¡Uno! may be wall-to-wall fast, hard and loud, but much of it also feels forced, conforming and dutiful. It’s punk comfort food, the ultimate contradiction in terms.... But ultimately, ¡Uno!'s attempt to reclaim Green Day’s early spirit just sounds like a reduction of it. Let's hope the next two installments move the story forward."
MTV: "Given Armstrong's personal issues, you could probably make the argument that ¡Uno! is the most serious thing Green Day have ever done.... More often than not, Armstrong writes from a perspective of isolation and alienation…. Perhaps these three albums are, in some secret way, a conceptual piece about Armstrong's descent. And if that truly is the case, then they automatically take on more import than American Idiot or Dookie!"
American Songwriter: "It may not be your father's Green Day, but it is your disgruntled uncle's version of the band.... There’s nothing wrong with going back to basics, and another concept album would have taken a battering ram to a dead horse. Still, it feels like the band is playing it a tad safe here. If ¡Uno! is meant to be a palette-cleanser, let’s hope that Green Day’s next two albums find a happy medium and add a bit more ambition to the attack."