Following the unprecedented success of back-to-back concept albums American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, Green Day returned to a more standard style of punk/pop-punk rock with their new material. However, when they got around to releasing that material, they did something pretty unique. They had enough new material for three albums, which they spread the release dates across a period of 4 months at the end of 2012. Cleverly titled 'Uno', 'Dos', and 'Tre', each band member graced the cover of one album. Critics were quick to draw comparisons to their classic album Dookie, but I believe Green Day fans will find these 3 releases to provide more than just a throw-back sound. Although they may revert to more juvenile themes for the subject matter of many of these new songs, there are still plenty of socially conscious tunes peppered throughout these 3 discs. I feel these songs find the band letting loose with some nostalgia for their early days, while maintaining the mature execution and creativity they've developed over their whole career
Now prepare yourself for a toxic blend of pop-punk mayhem, and angsty revolution-rock that is perhaps similar to what you may have heard before, yet still totally new!
iUno!- My first dose of this album was the lead single 'Oh Love', which I honestly found to be a mediocre song, and did little to pique my interest in this album, but after hearing the rest of it, I am glad I did not write it off completely. In fact, a couple songs on this volume ('Nuclear Family' and 'Carpe Diem') have become, arguably, my favorite Green Day songs ever.
My picks from iUno!
-Stay the Night
-Let Yourself Go
iDos! starts off with a little different feel. The first track, 'See You Tonight', is a subdued acoustic number recorded in mono. It actually reminds me of the way 'Song of the Century' introduced 21st Century Breakdown. Most of this CD sounds very consistent with the 1st, but the track 'Nightlife' really brings something new, as Green Day incorporate some elements of hip-hop. The closing number, 'Amy', winds the album down gently, as Billy Joe plays this one on his own: no drums or bass, just him and his guitar as he sings this gentle ballad.
My picks from iDos!
-See You Tonight
-Stop When the Red Lights Flash
iTre! is perhaps the most unique of these three releases. Overall I find it to be more laid-back and mellow than the first two. There are still songs of classic punk-rock brilliance, as we've come to expect from Green Day, but they seemed to have saved several ballads for this one. I might point to the song 'X-Kid' as the most memorable offering on this album. It is a slower-tempo, coming-of-age rock song. The kind of song where we realize part of Green Day has grown up and are letting us know who they are and where they came from. We get a heavy dose of socially conscious commentary with '99 Revolutions', whose lyrics read like a play-by-play breakdown of the recent financial crisis and economic recession.
My picks from iTre!
-8th Avenue Serenade
-Sex, Drugs, and Violence
-Dirty Rotten Bastards
-The Forgotten (A soft, piano-driven ballad to close the album...)
Overall I find these albums to be on par with Green Day's previous couple of albums, just without the concentrated focus that was necessary for their last 2 concept albums. This may be a good thing though, as it gives them more freedom to just write songs that rock without worrying about them fitting in with a specific concept. So go in with an open mind, and you'll have hours' worth of great listening in store...