We last heard from Green Day in September of this year with the release of the 1st part of their trilogy of records, ¡Uno!. Gone were the political posturing of the last two records – instead listeners were treated to party songs, 50’s inspired pop-punk songs, and a liberal use of the colorful metaphor “fuck”. Some people thought it was a nice return to the band’s roots, some thought it was a complete sell out – personally, I thought it was a fun record that got better with each listen. Here we are just a short time later with the 2nd installment of the trilogy, ¡Dos!. Consider me pleasantly surprised that this record is even better than its predecessor.
The middle part of an epic trilogy can be the most difficult one to get through. As a kid, I had a really hard time getting through The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (the 2nd part of The Lord of the Rings). The beginning novel set the stage for the epic fight against evil and the last novel brought it all home – but the middle part took me years to appreciate. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. How about The Empire Strikes Back? The greatest movie of the Star Wars epic was originally stuck right in the middle. Thankfully, ¡Dos! holds up extremely well on its own. A very heavy influence by The Clash also permeates this record, but there is also a pop influence. Cries of “SELLOUT!” have filled some circles again, but these accusations have been lobbed at Green Day since the early 90’s. Ignore all the white noise and you are left with a very strong record that falls just short of being a masterpiece.
I just want to get some peace of mind…(album highlights)
The album starts out with a slight and unassuming acoustic jam called “See You Tonight”. It is really jarring to hear a slight twang in the instrumentation. It segues directly into the 50’s inspired “Fuck Time”. This song will evoke visions of the movie The Outsiders and the epic battle of The Greasers VS The Soc’s. It slithers and grooves its way into the listeners brain with a nasty guitar solo. For me one of the record’s highlights is “Lazy Bones“. Does someone realize on a subconscious level when they are experiencing a nervous breakdown (or simply going through emotional trauma)? This song seems like a plea for help to me with lyrics such as “I don’t want your sympathy, I don’t want your honesty / I just want to get some peace of mind”. The song is pop-punk at its finest featuring sing-a-long vocals, catchy guitar, and touching lyrics. Some people will be upset with “Nightlife” which features guest raps by Lady Cobra. Seductive vocals by Billie Joe Armstrong with a ridiculously impressive bass line by Mike Dirnt. The surf inspired guitar really takes the song to another level. The concluding track “Amy” is a tribute to the latest member of the “27 Club”, Amy Winehouse. This is an acoustic based song that is both poignant for our era and timeless. Acoustic guitar and heartfelt vocals – that’s all there is. Perfection. “May I have this last dance / By chance if we should meet? / Can you write me a lullaby? / So we can sing you to sleep / Amy don’t you go / I want you around”
In my opinion, Green Day are 2 for 2 in their quest to better The Clash’s triple record, Sandinista. With a band that has such a high-profile, you are always going to have hipsters from 1992 shouting “Sellout! Never liked anything since Kerplunk!” Ignore those opinions and you are left with a great record that’ll happen to have quite a few tunes playing on mainstream radio. As an added bonus, the opening bars of lead-off single “Stray Heart” will remind you of the “Walking on Sunshine” bit from the Michael J. Fox classic movie, The Secret of My Success. Highly recommended.
Verdict: The saga continues…
For Fans of: Sex Pistols, Weezer, The Pixies, Operation Ivy, The Clash
1. “See You Tonight”
2. “Fuck Time”
3. “Stop When The Red Lights Flash”
4. “Lazy Bones”
5. “Wild One”
6. “Makeout Party”
7. “Stray Heart”
9. “Baby Eyes”
10. “Lady Cobra”
12. “Wow! That’s Loud”