Sound — 7
Still with us? Good. You've had a month and a half to take in the last Green Day album, and in that time you could have listened to it 1,861 times, made 25,440 cups of tea or read roughly a tenth of the news about Billie Joe Armstrong breaking down and checking into rehab. Somewhat overshadowed by other publicity, the first album in Green Day's set of three was a dull day at the office, reacquainting audiences with the "classic" formula after a decade of heady rock opera dramatics. Following a quick reflection period it's time to turn our attention to "¡Dos!" and see what's really going on with this trilogy idea.
Put it this way: they haven't split the material into three parts for stylistic reasons. "¡Dos!" is very similar to its predecessor in distilling the catchy power chord pop to a very basic form and keeping the quirkier stuff to a few select tracks. There are a couple of real stinkers among them, though; "Fuck Time" and "Nightlife" provide exactly the embarrassing ramblings we would expect from a drunkard rockstar having a very public midlife crisis. Also disappointing is the confirmation of Mike Dirnt's lost influence on bass barely a peep from a player who for many years was at the top of the punk game. Despite this, things do really get kicking on "Lazy Bones" and "Ashley" which, like many of the best Green Day tracks of recent years, are strong enough in substance that they could weasel their way onto "Dookie" or "Insomniac" if they wanted, cosmetic differences notwithstanding.
Lyrics — 7
Reading along with the liner notes is like moving through the rooms at a seedy Hollywood cast party. We start soberly and optimistically, go through all the necessary ego and debauchery (the name "Makeout Party" speaks for itself, as does its refrain of "Kiss Me There") and ultimately end on a sad, anti-climactic note with "Amy", a heartfelt dedication to the late Amy Winehouse who was herself a victim of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether "¡Dos!" is celebration or satire if it is celebration then the Winehouse tribute was rather misguided - but either way the strongest moments occur when Armstrong pulls himself away from the party and sings from the heart, on "Lazy Bones", "Stray Heart" or the aforementioned "Amy".
Overall Impression — 6
The band seem undecided on whether they want to go for the big fan-service and "return to roots" or cling onto some of the high concept elements that brought them so much success. "¡Dos!" is a quick fix - thin on substance and prone to filler but good fun for what it's worth. I'm not sure if we're any closer to figuring out why there's going to be three albums of this stuff but there is, at least, a selection of good songs in there to hang your ears on until "¡Tre!" completes the picture in December.