The spectre that looms dark over Green Day’s discography isn’t - or shouldn’t be - ‘Dookie’. Sure, the trio’s 1994 breakthrough is one hell of a record, but really, do we *want* a mid-40s Billie Joe still yelling about getting high and wanking all the time?
No, it’s 2004’s ‘American Idiot’ that’s this trio’s watermark; a record which channelled their not-so-adolescent rage in ways both incisive and incendiary, capturing the mood of a huge swathe of the world’s population, all the while packaging it in perfect punk-pop parcels.
While there’s hints of the same in ‘Revolution Radio’; ‘Bang! Bang!’ with its nods to both celebrity and gun culture most notably, but where this record shines is in showing Green Day’s existence as pop-punk’s elder statesmen.
“Looking for a cause / but all I got was camouflage”, laments ‘Too Dumb To Die’, its nod to “smoking dope” a clear reference to the band’s younger selves. “A new day dawning / comes without warning” adds ‘Troubled Times’. The Green Day of two decades ago, all power chords and bubbling angst were alternative heroes, rebels with cause. With ‘Revolution Radio’ the band now sit comfortably with their outsider status - and age, ‘Forever Now’ seeing them watch “from the edge of the world”.
There are some cringey bits, the title track relying a little too much on well-trodden punk tropes, the vocals ‘Still Breathing’ not as vulnerable as the lyrics might warrant, and ‘Youngblood’ a bit of a mis-step. If punk’s 50th anniversary has shown us anything, it’s that many old rockers grow old, go soft and give in. On that count, if not all, Green Day are faring pretty well.
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