Review of Green Day’s “Revolution Radio”, their newest effort that promised a lot but did it deliver?
By Carter Bagley
Green Day have easily been one of my favorite bands my entire life and when I was really young they were the only artist who’s music I really liked on the radio. Since then I stopped listening to radio and my taste has broadened drastically but I still have always loved them and their albums “Dookie” and “American Idiot” have always been among my favorites. Since then they’ve been hit or miss for me though as their past few albums have sounded cliche and uninspired and marketed heavily towards teens which their old music wasn’t always doing it just fit in with a certain audience. “21st Century Breakdown” sounded like them trying to replicate the success of “American Idiot” and their 2012 three album collection “Uno!”, “Dos!” and “Trè!” was just a bad idea from the beginning. Then just a few months there were rumors that the band was in the studio and going to release an album this fall and they turned out to be true. The announcement of “Revolution Radio” was very hopeful as Billie Joe Armstrong said they were going back to their sound and that this was a politically charged album similar to “American Idiot”. They released three singles though and they got me a little weary as I didn’t know what to expect from the record. It starts off with the song “Somewhere Now” and it starts off sweet and surprising and quickly builds up into a loud power pop song that they’re known for. I actually like it quite a bit and I think it could appeal to a lot of people and is no doubt a phenomenal way to start off the album and got me pretty excited. Immediately after is the lead single “Bang Bang” that I liked a lot when I first heard it and I still do. The song’s energy elevates the album and if Green Day hasn’t been considered punk for a while well this song alone is very much a punk rock song. Armstrong sings through the perspective of a mass shooter and the anarchist, jolted mindset the protagonist has is almost told as the effect of things going on in the world these days. The title track and second single “Revolution Radio” comes next and it’s grown on me a little bit since I first heard it when it was released because at first I kind of just wrote it off but I quite like it now despite sounding a lot like retread for the band. The fourth song “Say Goodbye” is a little generic but it’s catchy and anthemic the instrumentation sounds like it’s been done before but the explosive chorus and powerful backing vocals elevate it higher for me. “Outlaws” is longer and explores on ballad-territory and focuses on Billie Joe Armstrong recalling times from his troubled youth. It’s nice and sweet and sounds like something from “21st Century Breakdown” but the better songs from that album like “21 Guns” or “Viva La Gloria” instead of the ones that aren’t too great. I can see where some people don’t like it but me being a fan of Green Day my entire life I can’t deny that I quite liked this song a lot and how it made me feel. The first song that I’m iffy on is “Bouncing Off The Wall” as it sounds like very paint by numbers 2000’s pop punk and that’s a genre I never enjoyed and always though Green Day were mostly above that label. They were always way better than Blink-182, Sum 41 and Good Charlotte in my opinion because pre-2009 Green Day sounded like a rock n roll band and I think “American Idiot” is one of the masterpieces of the 21st century. This song doesn’t reflect this despite being catchy and listenable it just feels a little tired at this point. “Still Breathing” was the third single from this album and it sounds like the band we all know and love but it’s a little cliche but it’s nice and motivational and a song you can’t help but enjoy. If it proves one thing it’s that Green Day can turn a generic song into an explosive and addictive one. The next song “Youngblood” is sweet and catchy but features kind of jumbled lyrics coupled with perfectly produced instrumentation which makes it passable filler that I probably wouldn’t skip when casually listening to this record. “Too Dumb To Die” actually surprised me and it features pretty decent lyrics and great vocals and guitar. I think I like this song more than I should and it’s something I’m definitely going to return to in the coming weeks. “Troubled Times” also surprised me and it deals with a better concept than the rest of the album as it talks about the current age we live in. The lyrics are well written and the instrumentation builds and Trè Cool’s drumming is on point and backs up the quieter, mellower verses. However an outstanding album highlight is the 7 minute long rock song “Forever Now”. To me it’s an obvious way to redo the success of “Jesus Of Suburbia” and while it doesn’t get to the outstanding levels of that classic it’s still a fantastic epic tune. It’s for sure something I didn’t expect from modern day Green Day and it makes me hopeful for the band’s future to come. The whole thing goes out on the nice acoustic number “Ordinary World”. Armstrong wrote it to accompany the film he starred in of the same name and liked it so much that he decided to close the new album with it. I must say that I definitely understand his decision as this is no doubt probably my personal favorite song on the album and the lyrics are simple and sweet and Armstrong’s vocals are lovely and the acoustic guitar is easy going and adds a pure and genuine feel to this fantastic song. I think this one will get overlooked more than it should it’s a song that will go down as a highlight in Green Day’s post-American Idiot catalog for sure. If one thing is certain is that I honestly wasn’t expecting all that much from this album and it really surprised me and as an avid fan of Green Day I’m excited to see the band making this good of music at this point in their career. “Revolution Radio” is their greatest album in the past decade with it’s ambitious lyrics, multitude of themes, and classic sounding instrumentation this new album of theirs is one that makes me proud to say that I’m a Green Day fan.
Highlights: Somewhere Now, Bang Bang, Outlaws, Too Dumb To Die, Troubled Times, Forever Now, Ordinary World
Lowlights Lesser Highlights: Say Goodbye, Youngblood