Uno! Dos! Tre! Review

May 16, 13 Uno! Dos! Tre! Review

Rolling Stone Magazine once called them the “Brats that grew up, bashed Bush and conquered the world”. 23 years since their beginnings, Green Day are still going strong, as evidenced by their most recent albums, and perhaps their most ambitious project yet: The studio album trilogy Uno! Dos! and Tre! Via twitter, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong announced the recording of new material on February 14th, 2012. Soon after he stated that the new songs would come in the form of a trilogy of albums, Uno! Dos! and Tre!, to be released on September 21st, November 9th, and January 15th, respectively. However, an onstage meltdown by Armstrong two days before the first album was to be released led to him seeking rehabilitation for substance abuse.

Billie Joe Armstrong smashes his guitar on stage at the iHeart Radio Music Festival after an expletive-filled rant. Shortly after he checked into rehab.

Billie Joe Armstrong smashes his guitar on stage at the iHeart Radio Music Festival after an expletive-filled rant. Shortly after he checked into rehab.

This led to the band having to postpone their 99 Revolutions tour, as well as cancelling all planned promotional events. To make up for this, they pushed forward the release of Tre! from January 15th to December 11th. Due to Green Day’s inability to promote the new music, this led to disappointing sales when compared to their previous two albums, 2004’s American Idiot and 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown. But how do the new albums fare when compared to their previous record breaking works?

First of all, it should be noted that they have returned to a more simple form of music, almost back to their snot-nosed brat selves when 1994’s Dookie was released, which was seen as the album that propelled Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tre Cool into super-stardom. Starting with American Idiot, the band began to take a more political stance with their music. In place of songs expressing anger towards those they hate, songs like Holiday, a protest against the war in Iraq, were released. As a result, the band is now seen as more “Alternative Rock” than “Punk Rock”. This was seen as a controversial move, drawing in new fans (such as myself), while some older fans would have preferred they stay their familiar punk rock selves. After two albums criticizing the presidency of George W. Bush, Uno! Sees a return to a sound akin to Dookie, except more clean. The first track is Nuclear Familiy, a song about social problems that threaten “the death of the Nuclear Family,” which is a subject that sounds like it belongs on the previous two albums. But it is only the subject that seems somewhat familiar, as the song clearly displays the new atmosphere the trilogy will be giving off, an alternative rock sound, edgy and clean at the same time. An entirely different sound is displayed in the fifth track, Kill the DJ, a song which has been described as “a foaming-at-the-mouth guitar rant that everyone—pundits, politicians, celebrities—should stop babbling and shut up” by the Los Angeles Times. Kill the DJ displays the bands statements about the trilogy being an experiment with a new sound the greatest, being an attempt at making dance music, without “becoming a dance act”, as stated by Billie Joe Armstrong. Indeed, in the end it becomes an alternative rock song that one can dance to. The album closes with Oh Love, a song that is as straight forward as it sounds. Something noticeable about past Green Day albums is that there is always the one single that is seen as the song that comes to mind when you think of the album, be it Dookie’s Basket Case, Or 21 Guns off of 21st Century Breakdown. Oh Love serves as the “poster boy” for the trilogy as a whole, being the song radio stations have been most likely to play. Not that I’m complaining; however, it is a great song that starts off small and quiet, then picks off about one minute into it. The lyrics aren’t “dumbed down”, yet aren’t extreme metaphors like past Green Day songs.

 

The album starts out simple enough with See You Tonight, a one minute long song that consists of Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt singing in unison as a soft guitar melody plays.The song ends with a sharp sound that leads into the rest of the album.  The rest of the album continues on with the party theme, stopping only for Lazy Bones, which is a softer rock sound that sounds extremely similar to Give Me Novacaine off of American Idiot. Lazy Bones is a song about insomnia, symptoms of which Armstrong has displayed. The song effectively displays the frustration experienced, with lyrics such as “It’s only in my head/as I roll over and play dead/I don’t want to hear it anymore”. Another example of a more experimental sound comes from Nightlife, an auto-tune laden duet between Billie Joe and Monica Painter AKA Lady Cobra. This song is often seen by Green Day fans as being the worst song they have ever done, but I find it it be a very interesting sound, the basic sound of the song almost being comparable to a headrush. The album comes to a close with Amy, which is a considerably slow song when compared to the rest of the album. This song consists of only Armstrong playing guitar while singing. The song is actually meant to be about Amy Winehouse, who died in July 2011.

Tre!, named after drummer Tre Cool, is the final chapter of the trilogy, meant to bring the albums in for a soft, smooth landing. The first track is Brutal Love, which mixes together many different forms of music, such as glam rock, doo-wop and soul music. The end result is a slow buildup that comes in for a very epic end. The rest of the album doesn’t exactly have a “theme” going to it, like Uno!’s Power-Pop feel or Dos!’s garage rock atmosphere. Tre!, while more of its songs are considerably more slow, is instead a medley of different sounds. The album’s main single, X-Kids, returns to Uno!’s power-pop feel, expressing Armstrong’s feeling towards a friend who committed suicide, as well as the entire 60’s-70’s generation as a whole, the “X-Kids”. If I had to describe the entire feel of the album, I would call it “soft-rock”, with some songs reminiscent of one of the bands more popular song, Wake Me Up When September Ends. Finally, Tre!’s last track, The Forgotten, brings the entire trilogy in for a close. This song steers away from any Green Day style entirely, being a slow song recorded by an entire orchestra with Armstrong on vocals. “Don’t look away, from the arms of love.” Billie Joe sings, bringing in the trilogy for a smooth landing.

Personally, the trilogy as a whole is one of Green Day’s best works. However, in ranking them from best to worst, they already come in order. Uno! Is the best out of the trilogy, and also Green Day’s second best album, the first being the aforementioned American Idiot. Dos! And Tre! I like equally, but given the choice, absolutely Dos! That is not to say that the albums are not enjoyable, however. The trilogy is credited as being Green Day’s experimental faze, and in the end the medley of different sounds pay off. I strongly recommend sitting down and listening to all three in order to get the full effect of them.

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