I have an interesting relationship with the music of Green Day. I’ve been a fan of the band since 1995, when I was just twelve years old and the album that started it all was Dookie. I was young and it sounded incredibly vital to my ears and it sat beautifully in my collection alongside Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Silverchair. I followed the band religiously right up until the release of Nimrod which was a big album for me in 1997. I loved Green Day; it was a nice mix of humour, seriousness and a bit of fuck you thrown in. It was how I understood punk rock to sound at that point in my life. After a lull in supporting the band, I reconnected with the band again in 2002 when I brought “Warning” very cheaply at Big W. This was an album that many fans rejected but I fell in love with it. It showed a new level of maturity and signalled a bit of a crossover period where the band would learn how to graduate to a more grown up rock n roll institution. Still, at this point I never really celebrated how much I loved the band. I don’t think it was shame or anything like that, I just got to a point where I understood that some bands are worth sharing and some bands, and your love for them, are worth keeping to yourself.
What happened next – in terms of the Green Day discography – I was not expecting. They released the very epic and very inspired rock operas “American Idiot” and “21st Century Breakdown” which are two absolute classic rock n roll records. These albums made me commit to being more public about my love of Green Day. I wasn’t as willing to see them as a guilty pleasure, but to call them a guilty pleasure is selling my love of the band short because I felt no guilt for liking them. I honestly had no fear of social consequence for enjoying something as basic as Green Day music, I guess it came down to having more people in my life express dislike for them than actual love. I figured it was easier to just keep it a secret affair.
This brings me to 2012 and the announcement from the band that they will be releasing three albums back to back called Uno, Dos and Tre. This is a brave move in a climate of digital downloads and very low attention spans. I personally was very excited because the band was doing what had been done in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s where bands would release multiple albums in the course of one year. This is the most positive thing about what Green Day have done with these albums and it is something that more bands in their position should be doing. Whether this remains to be a one off gimmick or whether it ends up being something the band continues to do, who cares – a mainstream rock band releasing this much material over the course of a year is a positive thing we need to embrace.
This brings me to the music contained on Uno, Dos and Tre. The first thing I’ll say is that you honestly need to own all three because strangely there is a beautiful sonic continuity connecting all three records. After listening to these albums consistently over the past week I can tell you that they all belong together. Yes, the band stick very close to the formula in terms of what we’ve come to know and love about the Green Day sound but the power of this music is coming from the way the band has captured the old energy of the Dookie, Insomniac and Nimrod days with the new Rock Opera focus that came with American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. I don’t really hear Green Day as punk rock any more; I think they have become the power pop band that they always set out to be. Even on their pre-Dookie albums you could hear the band striving to be the pop band they evolved to be. Melodically the album is perfection and Billie Joe has become a master of adding the anthemic to these garage rock songs. There are also hints of Guns N Roses, strictly in some of the dynamics that jump out.
It is hard to pick a favourite album in this trilogy because they all offer so much enjoyment. Tre certainly has the epic feel that I loved on “American Idiot” and “21st Century Breakdown” with Uno giving me the same great feelings that “Nimrod” did while Dos is very Foxboro Hot Tubs. Mix it all together and you get some of the strongest rock n roll I’ve heard.
Being a fan of Green Day in 2012 is certainly a controversial thing especially when I’m 29 years old and should know better. Liking a band like Green Day does not stop me from enjoying the weirdness and experimentation of lesser known musical movements. Green Day for me is a process in sentimentality and has the same warm feeling as catching up with your Best Friend for beer and candy. I don’t listen to Green Day in order to understand how to evolve myself or my own creative desires, I listen to Green Day because I like my mainstream rock n roll to sound fucking great and Green Day are hella tight and a band who I continue to enjoy the older I get.
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