Green Day’s ‘Uno’ Shines Selectively

Courtesy of Reprise Records

Green Day has graciously provided for the public’s pleasure their latest album, “Uno.” The first to be released in a successive tri-collection, the punk rock/alternative band’s presentation can accurately be described as Billy Armstrong’s ill attempt to fling his mess of compositions in the audience’s faces in a good and bad way.

Among the 12 tracks, a few gems shine through, saving face for the work as a whole. Once you give the album a listen through, maybe even twice, you can find some acceptable music albeit those pieces of coal have no chance of morphing into diamond-class music.

“Nuclear Family” opens on a good note. The taunting, playful melody pairs well with the sinister lines such as “Gonna ride the world like a merry-go-round,” “It’s looking like another bad comedy” and “It’s the death of a nuclear family staring up at you.” Here, Green Day capitalizes on the fun factor, which is what made the band so likeable.

“Carpe Diem,” latin for “seize the day,” also captures the ears, coming out strong through the crisp drums. Translating back to their older material, which focused on the political climate during their “Warning” and “American Idiot” days, the song questions the economy, corruption and everyday life in general.

The upbeat “Let Yourself Go” carries itself well with the slightly addicting “Gotta let it go” chorus. The quasi-screamo line of “Always fuck fuckin’ with my head now” jarringly matches the flowing guitar riffs. The lyrics push listeners to let loose, criticizing those with “small minds [who] tend to think alike.”

The band’s themes of the harsh, the strange and the stupid continue in “Kill the DJ” and “Oh Love.” Both solid songs in their own right, the melodies interfused with the dissonant flats are just plain awesome.

For the former, Armstrong inserts the usual religious references of the current “Sodom and Gomorrah” of the U.S. and the gross “Blood left on the dance floor / Running, running red.” Currently having the most airplay on the radio, the latter highlights his syrupy vocals backed by a killer beat. Although the track probably holds the least lyrics in the album, the simplicity is ingenious and infectious.

Sadly, the rest falls flat. “Uno” steers in the wrong direction with the likes of “Fell for You,” which features bland, squeaky-clean crooning of teenage love at first sight, thus, making it forgettable. “Angel Blue” also blatantly caters to the young demographic while the sickly “Sweet Sixteen” is just a nice song to sappily play on the PCH.

Perhaps Green Day was targeting a younger audience, hoping to tap into the newer market. Or maybe the band members who just entered their forties are in the midst of suffering a mid-life crisis, desperately reminiscing of their youthful years.

Not sure. Either way, despite being elementary and angsty during certain moments, the majority of the music in Green Day’s “Uno” can be labeled passable or commendable. Hopefully the next two compilations will offer more clarity and steer clear from the teen heartache.

Final Rating: 4/5