Album Review: Green Day – ¡Uno! (2012)
‘Poppy as hell, profane for no reason,’ 2.5/5 stars
Carl J. Bachus | Collegio Writer
Loud, angry and laced with pseudo-political commentary, Green Day has been a staple of modern punk since its breakthrough album, “Dookie,” in 1994. “¡Uno!,” the band’s ninth studio effort, manages to touch all of the familiar bases but miss the mark with each track.
Gone is the fun of 2000’s “Warning” and the rock opera antics of “21st Century Breakdown” and the listener is left with a forced, empty-sounding collection of songs that leave so much to be desired that you have to wonder why they even bothered. The album opens with “Nuclear Family,” a raucous yet disposable track that lays the groundwork for every other song on the album. “Wanna ride the world like a merry-go-round,” Billie Joe Armstrong yells over the heavy percussion in the nauseatingly monochromatic opener that leads into “Stay the Night,” an equally boring track that sounds like a dated selection from some ’90s teen movie soundtrack.
There’s just so much percussion and so much cursing that these colorful attempts at faux punk all turn out sour and invite more eye rolls than an episode of “Daria.” As a firm believer in the idea that bands don’t sell out, “¡Uno!” makes an effective case otherwise.
On an album this generic, high points are few and far between, but the one song that sticks out is “Rusty James,” an annoyingly up-tempo reflection of an old soul clinging to the scene that’s slowly leaving him behind. It isn’t enough to make up for the overall blandness of the LP, but the lyrics are poignant enough to warrant a mention.
The album is incredibly hook-heavy, as if each song was created specifically to be a single. As catchy as the songs are, they feel phoned in and meaningless like the radio-ready “Carpe Diem.” The songs would work as filler in a better album but are instead stuffed into the first third of a trilogy that Armstrong had the nerve to compare to “Van Halen I, II and III.” Poppy as hell and profane for no reason, the LP is almost ridiculously generic and familiar. It plays more like a self-parody than a return to form.
Even at only 12 tracks, “¡Uno!” is a boring, bloated letdown of an album that will undoubtedly be scooped up gleefully by the pop crowd but disappoint anyone who has heard more than 2004’s “American Idiot.” The first part of a proposed trilogy, “¡Uno!” is either a bad omen or a good one. Armstrong’s gone on record stating that they’re producing songs left and right at the moment. Let’s just hope that “¡Dos!” sounds more like Green Day and less like an SNL sketch.