Green Day called, they're phoning it in.
When we heard that Green Day were releasing an album called Revolution Radio we couldn't help but be hit by a smack of two very strong yet contradictory feelings. The first was a sense that maybe, just maybe, this is a band who had regained a bit of their fire. The first single release, whilst being an ok track, kind of shot that down a bit, but the buzz coming out of the Green Day camp suggested that this would be a far more focussed record in comparison to the shambolic triple-album release in 2012. The other feeling that immediately came through began with a sigh stronger than Gordon Brown's sharp intakes of breath between sentences. That was a comparison made completely out of context as well as not being very current or relevant - in turn the perfect description of Green Day in 2016. This is a bloated, boring, scrappy collection of tracks which even the band sound like they couldn't be bothered with. Looking at bands of equal size to Green Day, so your Metallica's and Red Hot Chili Peppers, they've been absolutely castigated for taking even the slightest of miss-steps in recent years so for this ageing Punk trio we really need to be reading from the same charge sheet. The album will reach number one in charts across the world, and the more commercial arm of the music press will heap praise on blindly because they feel like they have to, but to put it bluntly this shit doesn't even come close to a vast array of album releases in a year which has on the whole probably been the best Heavier Music has seen for some time.
The last time Green Day released a great album was in 2004 with American Idiot. With the amount of stuff going on around this album still to this very day, from stage shows to feature length films, it is clear that in the time since they've just never been able to capture the same level of impact despite so desperately striving to do so. This would be fine, in reality most bands struggle to grab the same initiative as some of their bigger releases, but they could at least try and make it appear like they give a fuck. If you were to listen to American Idiot and then Revolution Radio straight after the difference is both immediate and substantial. The opening few tracks on the album sound like a bunch of ideas which had previously been picked up off of the cutting floor and thrown back together in a bit of a mess. At the very least Bang Bang does have the band looking to pick the pace up a little bit, but the aggressiveness and fight just ends up waning away too quickly as the album progresses. It sounds like a band going through the motions and on the whole it is just a bit sad.
The title track is the starkest of examples of a problem experienced throughout much of the record in that it all just sounds a bit too nice. Don't throw up this bravado of revolution and an affront to current politics if you're going to only end up producing dance friendly Rock club hits destined for Radio 1. Where is Billie Joe Armstrong's fire? Why isn't he spitting these lyrics at us in the same level of fury and sarcasm he's been so good at in the past? The only judgement you can end up reaching with this is the fact that Green Day know exactly the kind of position they're in at the moment, they know that they can go through the motions and throw out an album of average to poor tracks and they'll still headline every festival in the world and sell gig tickets in the realm of three figure prices. It's a damn shame because when you look at some of their peers this year, Blink 182 and NOFX for example, they've shown that they've at least still got a bit of fight left in them.
Overall then the drive, impact and confidence you may have associated with Green Day in the past are all traits which abandoned this band some time ago and as it stands they haven't even come close to peaking their head back in the door again. The die hard fans will drink up the bullshit, but real music fans will be able to see right through all of it. And don't even think about calling them a Punk band anymore, that would be the same as associating Trump with Liberalism, Isis with social reform, the Daily Mail with common decency or Fox News with a shred of intelligence. This is stadium Rock at it's most blatant, boring worst.