|Green Day — Revolution Radio (October 7, 2016)|
Green Day — Revolution Radio (October 7, 2016)
••→ Terorismus, rasové spory, třídní boj, polarizující a dělící prezidentské volby, to jsou jen některé z témat, tvořících vnitřní napětí, které je základem 12~ti písňového alba. Stav lidstva potřebuje systém podpory, to vyplývá z reality. Armstrong na to jde různými prostředky: V písni “Outlaws” slyšíme delikátní figury piana a zároveň ohromné sbory a kytarové stěny, ze kterých je cítit hrdost. Ať už je to zápas s okolním světem nebo vnitřním nepřítelem, punk potřebuje boj, pokud to bude něco znamenat. Zvukově i charakterem písní lze říci, že mnohé jsme už slyšeli mnohokrát. Ale každý člen kapely má rodinu, osobní úroveň zdraví a kapela to všechno jako celek vstřebává do výrazu. Zatím nejslabší album letošního roku. “Of course the world has lost its collective mind... and me, Mike and Tré are lost souls too. Revolution Radio is a movement for lost souls to come together... dance together... sing together... and most of all, find each other. That’s what the spirit of Green Day has been about since day one.” Snotty punk revivalists with multi~platinum sales during the mid~‘90s, then critical respect (and more sales) for their rock opera American Idiot. © Photo credits: Frank Maddocks
Formed: 1988 in Berkeley, CA
Location: Rodeo, California, United States
Album release: October 7, 2016
Recorded: January 15 → July 24, 2016
Record Label: Reprise / WARNER BROS
01 Somewhere Now 4:09
02 Bang Bang 3:26
03 Revolution Radio 3:01
04 Say Goodbye 3:39
05 Outlaws 5:02
06 Bouncing Off the Wall 2:40
07 Still Breathing 3:45
08 Youngblood 2:33
09 Too Dumb to Die 3:24
10 Troubled Times 3:05
11 Forever Now 6:52
12 Ordinary World 3:03
•• Billie Joe Armstrong — lead vocals, guitars, songwriting, production
•• Mike Dirnt — bass guitar, backing vocals, songwriting, production
•• Tré Cool — drums, percussion, backing vocals, songwriting, production
•• Chris Dugan — engineering
•• Andrew Scheps — mixing
•• Eric Boulanger — masteringAllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine; Score: ***½
••→ Green Day imploded after the December 2012 release of Tre, the final part of a triple~album project. The very unwieldiness of Uno, Dos, and Tre — all released in rapid succession in the autumn of 2012 — suggested that Green Day were perhaps suffering from a lack of focus, but the group wound up taking a forced hiatus once leader Billie Joe Armstrong entered rehab in the middle of the triple~album rollout. Given all this chaos, it’s hard not to view 2016’s Revolution Radio as a consolidation, a way for the band to shake off all distractions and get back to basics. Discarded alongside the mess and garage rock affectations that marked Uno, Dos, and Tre is any sense of concept at all — a marked departure from their work of the past 15 years. Green Day may no longer be writing rock operas, but despite a title that seems swiped from the Clash, Revolution Radio retains a sense of righteous indignation reminiscent of prime Who that the trio channeled on American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. Without a concept, the stabs at social significance sting a little harder — granted, Armstrong makes it impossible to miss the meaning of the anti~mass shooting “Bang Bang” or the self~explanatory “Troubled Times” — but this concentration on individual songs also shifts the focus back to how the band really can craft dynamic rock songs. Often, this means their best songs are the simplest — the heavy~booted swing of “Say Goodbye” or the frothy, clap~along “Youngblood” — but the mini~epic of “Forever Now” shows they’ve retained the flair for the dramatic that they developed on American Idiot. If Revolution Radio can seem a little too pat — the concluding ballad “Ordinary World” is a conscious callback to both “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” and “Wake Me When September Ends” — such discipline was needed after the ungainly sprawl of 2012. Here, Green Day have nothing more in mind than righting their ship, and that’s precisely what they do.
••→ Whether it’s wrestling with the world outside or the enemy within, punk needs a struggle if it’s going to mean something. For Green Day, wartime under George W. Bush gave 2004’s American Idiot a career~resurrecting sense of purpose, while the existential aftermath of a post~Bush America fueled 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown. And while the band’s 2012 “solo trilogy” ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tre! reflected their optimism during the Obama years, it wouldn’t take long for the struggles to move inward: family and touring members’ battles with cancer; frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s 2012 rehab and recovery.
••→ With the stripped~down, self~produced Revolution Radio, Green Day come to terms with their demons, only to find a new struggle waiting on the outside.
••→ Terrorism, racial strife, class warfare, a divisive presidential election — this is just some of the tension that underpins the album’s 12 songs. But Radio also is the most intensely personal Green Day album in years; as much a celebration of life on the upside of 40 as it is a reminder of the choices, conflicts and contradictions that mark a life well~lived.
••→ Building off a plaintive melody that weirdly recalls Boston’s “More Than A Feeling,” “Somewhere Now” starts things with the most ironic opening line in Green Day’s catalog: “I’m running late to somewhere I don’t want to be.” It’s a simple play on boredom, inertia — stuff we’ve heard before. But as bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool power toward a crescendo, the tone darkens, the urgency builds, and Armstrong’s lyrics (“Here comes nothing/We’ve got nothing to lose”) feel like a rallying cry to stop wasting time and start taking action.
••→ It’s a quick turn into the topical from there. The racing, propulsive first single “Bang Bang” finds Armstrong stepping out of his own head and into the psyche of a mass shooter. The minor~key~driven “Revolution Radio” doesn’t explicitly mention Black Lives Matter, but with calls to “Testify for the life that’s been deleted” and “Sing, like a rebel’s lullaby/Under the stars and stripes/For the lost souls that were cheated,” it’s easy to make the connection. The rousing “Say Goodbye” extends the theme with gang choruses that’d be at home in any stadium — if not for lyrics that put the screws to racist cops. And “Troubled Times” opens with a vocal melody that’s just a few notes removed from the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” but unfolds into a pulsing, bass~driven lamentation on modern civilization’s lack of empathy (“What good is love and peace on earth when it’s exclusive?”).
••→ While there’s nothing here that’d count as filler, the mid~album singalong “Bouncing Off The Wall” is the closest thing Revolution Radio has to a diversion. With its bone~simple lyrics and glam~rock swagger, the song feels like a party in the middle of a revolt. (Which, granted, could be the point.) Ditto for “Still Breathing,” which, despite its earworm of a melody, comes on like a relatively by~the~numbers emo anthem. It’s a powerful song lyrically, though, with Armstrong confronting mortality through a cast of hard~luck characters and proudly belting, “I’m still breathing on my own.”
••→ Maybe so, but Radio makes it clear the human condition needs a support system. The power~pop romp “Youngblood” sends a self~effacing thank~you to Armstrong’s wife, likening her patience to that of “Miss Teresa.” The acoustic closer “Ordinary World” (written for Armstrong’s film of the same name) is a beautifully simple meditation on unconditional love (“Baby, I don’t have much/But what we have is more than enough”). “Outlaws” leads off with a delicate piano figure, but as its huge choruses and walls of guitar rocket things skyward, you can feel the pride as Armstrong reflects on Green Day’s time together: “Hooligans, we destroyed suburbia when we were outlaws.”
••→ Toward the album’s finale, when Armstrong cracks, “I’m hanging onto a dream that’s too dumb to die” (in — where else? — “Too Dumb To Die”), what’d normally be a throwaway line feels poignant in context. The conflicted emotion carries into “Forever Now” — a glorious, multi~part epic on par with the most ambitious of American Idiot’s material. As the true punctuation mark on the album’s final third, it should offer a sense of closure. But Armstrong — who sings from his own point of view — is all contradictions: on top of the world, lost and listless, ready to die, ready to start a revolution. It’s the first time in years Green Day haven’t had all the answers. But as a statement on how it really feels to fight, it’s the closest to the truth they’ve ever gotten. © Photo credit: Kevin Mazur
|Green Day — Revolution Radio (October 7, 2016)|