Former emo kids, current emo kids and pop punk lovers of the world rejoice. Green Day are back!
Four years after ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré!, the band have finally released their highly anticipated twelfth full-length album Revolution Radio and are set to tour Australia in May next year. It’s their first album recorded as a trio since 21st Century Breakdown (2009) with the return of long-time touring member Jason White. Excuse me while I try to contain the excited screams of tween-age me.
I was 14 when I heard my first Green Day album and I remember immediately feeling like I’d found a friend. As the resident side-fringe-bearing, pencil-eyeliner-wearing weird kid, it was almost a relief. Here was someone who actually knew what it was like to be me! I’d found a place where I could be angry about not fitting the confines of middle-class suburbia (hey, I was 14 okay?). St Jimmy, the figurehead in the narrative of American Idiot and the unofficial patron saint of losers everywhere, just got me.
Even now I think I’ll always find an element of comfort and solidarity in Green Day records. There’s something so compelling about feeling heard and understood, no matter how old you get. I may have grown my hair out and discovered gel eyeliner but that’s what makes Green Day such a phenomenon.
Founding members Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt played their first gig in 1987 in California as Sweet Children. The band changed their name to Green Day after signing to Lookout! Records in 1988 and their debut EP 1,000 Hours was released the following year. By 1990, Green Day had brought out their first studio album, 39/Smooth, and were joined by third and final member, drummer Tre Cool. It was their 1995 major label debut, Dookie, which catapulted them into the mainstream arena, winning the 1995 Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance. The release of American Idiot in 2004 would be, arguably, some of Green Day’s greatest work and saw them win a second Grammy for Best Rock Album. It contains some of their best-known songs, including title track ‘American Idiot,’ ‘Holiday’ and ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ and went six times platinum. As of 2014, the album has sold over 14 million copies worldwide and secured their status as a household name for music lovers everywhere.
Now I’m a little older, I’m so much more aware and appreciative of the unabashed anger of American Idiot and its (scarily) still relevant social and political messages. Green Day were unafraid of challenging the Bush government then and have not shied away from addressing America’s problems now. True to form, the first single off Revolution Radio, ‘Bang Bang,’ is a look inside the mind of a mass shooter and an extremely unforgiving criticism of American gun culture. “Daddy’s little psycho and Mommy’s little soldier” is the embodiment of readily available arms and glorified violence gone horribly wrong.
The entire album shows Green Day at their best: loud, raw and angry as hell with a healthy dose of nostalgia to temper it. Covering everything from love and teenage angst to addiction and fears for America’s political future, it’s nothing short of typical and so damn satisfying. All in a day’s work for a band famous for taking on the big guns, right?
Familiar “Clash-inspired” guitar riffs and blistering drum tracks meet once again to create a high-energy sound that takes me straight back to Dookie days and my favourite Green Day era. Track wise, my top picks are ‘Revolution Radio,’ ‘Still Breathing’ and ‘Young Blood’ with a special mention to the final song on the album, ‘Ordinary World,’ a simple, sweet and refreshing acoustic number.
The band may not be new to this anymore but they certainly haven’t lost their touch. It just goes to show that when Green Day come around, Revolution‘s never far behind. – Ariana Norton
Photo of Green Day performing at DNA Lounge from John Adams’ Flickr.