If you expected an album as grand as “American Idiot” (2004) or “21th Century Breakdown” (2009), you may be a little disappointed. Not that Uno! is not a great album, because it definitely is, but because it was not meant to be like the previous Green Day projects. Its goal is to get you ready to go to the party. At least this is what the trio told Billboard recently.
Uno! is the band’s first album in 12 years that is not a politically charged accusation of modern society. Billie Joe, Mike and Tre decided it was time to return to the songwriting that made Green Day famous in the mid-90s and leave behind the battle against Washington, D.C. and the indictment of social disruption. They needed a change and they did it with this album the first of three albums to come in the next four months - Dos! and Tre! will follow in November and January, respectively.
The album was meant to get Green Day into a relaxing mood, to help them clear their minds of worries and feel the urge of partying. It’s the blue pill for those who forgot life is fun and worth living. In a simplistic way of saying, it’s an album about sex, love and rock and roll, sprinkled with plenty of f-bombs, way more than in any prior Green Day release.
“Nuclear Family” kicks off Green Day’s three-album project with intricateness and the confusing line “Drinking angel’s piss, gonna crash and burn!”, highlighted by Mike’s effervescent bass riffs and plenty of hooks. Armstrong, who has sought treatment for substance abuse on the eve of the album release, declares, “Like a nuclear bomb, it won’t be long before I detonate.”
The second song, just like the first, reminds rock fans that Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool are still pros when it comes to rapid-fire punk tunes. “Stay The Night” would have been in 1996, but in 2012, it’s a simple track of perfect execution. “Well I ain’t got much time, so I’ll get to the point/Do you wanna share a ride and get the fuck out of this joint,” screams Armstrong in his attempt to push the group to deliver the dirtiest riffs.
“Carpe Diem” has universally understood lyrics and an amazing guitar solo, “Let Yourself Go” reveals Armstrong snarling “Shut your mouth ’cause you’re talking too much and I don’t give a f*** anyway,” before offering his fans an inspired guitar playing. In “Loss Of Control,” he calls his enemies, “a bunch of shit-talking drama queens and they’re all filled with excuses” and along with “Let Yourself Go,” this song is one of the album’s most infectious tracks, a familiar snot-nosed, hyper-speed song that will enter your veins only to become addictive.
However, Uno! is not as dangerous as it would appear to be. It also has several power pop tunes infused with the ’70s British and American pop. Let’s take “Kill The DJ” for example. It’s a slick dance groove resembling “King For a Day” or “Misery.” “Fell For You” is filled with doubled-up drum fills, chugging guitars and romanticized heart-tugging, making it as infectious as it can get from this point of view. Besides, Armstrong tells us that he woke up scared he’d “pissed” himself and that if his lover breaks his heart, he’ll crush her, and then he sings, “I had a dream that I kissed your lips and it felt it so true/Then I woke up as a nervous wreck and I fell for you.” “Troublemaker” also deserves the best review, as the song simply expands the band’s musical view. It’s a busy song, a blend of hand claps, psychedelic guitar swirl breakdown and Armstrong’s spoken lyrics. “Angel Blue”, “Sweet 16,” “Rusty James” and “Oh Love” are simplistic, but valuable.