By Casey Gale
Only seven weeks after the release of Green Day’s ninth studio album ¡Uno!, it is already time for ¡Dos!, part two in the band’s ambitious undertaking to release a trilogy of albums within the span of just three months.
While ¡Uno! was bursting at the seams with pop-punk fun from start to finish, ¡Dos! falters as Green Day tries to take on the garage rock genre. ¡Uno! was a solid record, with even the weakest tracks still catchy and better upon multiple listens. ¡Dos!, however, suffers from inconsistency that is hard to ignore.
¡Dos! begins with the low-key See You Tonight, a song only featuring vocals and an acoustic guitar. After hearing this, one may think that this album is being set up to be a more relaxed album. In truth, the song is simply warming the listener up for an onslaught of high energy, old-fashioned rock n’ roll. Songs that follow the classic garage rock formula, such as Makeout Party and Stop When the Red Lights Flash, fall flat with choppy guitars and a lack of clever lyrics. Songwriting has always been one of Green Day’s strong suits, so to see them stumble in this department is a disappointment.
Nightlife, a song that features female rapper (yes, you read that correctly) Lady Cobra, is perhaps the most jarring song on this album (or on any Green Day album, for that matter). The song has an entrancing quality to it, as it bounces between front man Billie Joe Armstrong’s crooning and Lady Cobra’s spunky rapping. The song is polarizing, though – some will appreciate that the band experimented with a new sound, while others will surely be puzzled as to what business a rapper has on a Green Day album.
While there are several misses on ¡Dos!, that is not to say that it is without hits. When the band returns to its punchy punk roots with songs like Wow! That’s Loud and Ashley, the album finds it’s footing. The alternative rock, almost Strokes-esque Lazy Bones is arguably the most successful song on the record in that it is a departure from Green Day’s typical style of music and is wonderfully executed. Lazy Bones has a certain fullness to its sound that keeps it moving at the perfect pace and proves to be highly satisfying to listen to with the stereo on full blast. The album’s first single, Stray Heart, is another unique hit for the band. Not necessarily known for their tender love songs in their expansive catalog of songs, the rockabilly-style Stray Heart is perhaps as romantic and retro as Green Day will ever be, and it works.
The album closer, Amy, is one of the most striking ballads the band has ever written – which is no small feat, when one recalls the band’s hugely popular Good Riddance (Time of Your Life). Amy was written in response to the untimely death of soul artist Amy Winehouse, and handles the subject in an aptly delicate and poignant manner. It is appropriate that it is the last song on the album, as it will stay with the listener long after the last note plays.
¡Dos! is mixed bag. It features what are some of the most uninspired songs of the band’s career, yet at the same time contains a few of Green Day’s best songs to date, which ultimately allows the album to stay afloat. It will be fascinating to analyze the trilogy as a whole after ¡Tre! is released on December 11(bumped up from it’s previous January release date). Only then will the trilogy’s full potential be revealed, and the question of whether or not this phase in Green Day’s career was a success can be determined.