Sound — 6
On the balance of things Green Day's year has been average to poor, but trilogies tend to end with a big payoff. Mordor fell in "Return Of The King", Darth Vader got his face out in "Return Of The Jedi" and "The Matrix: Revolutions"... well, it had a lot of fighting. Proving they aren't blind to convention, Green Day have stuffed final album "Tre!" with charged rhetoric and bleeding heart drama akin to their most popular album, "American Idiot". In fact, so determined are they to demonstrate that this is the grand finale, they've opened and closed the thing with slow, swaying ballads. We'll get to "The Forgotten" later but as a curtain-raiser "Brutal Love" sets a certain precedent for seriousness.
The last two albums seemed to reject the pomp and ceremony of the rock opera' but it turns out they were just saving it all for "Tr!", which is slower, more considered and rather sentimental. The ease with which they knock those kinds of tunes out is commendable but yet again the best moments come when they pick up the pace and start bashing out the power chords with a bit of balls. The standout track (and only real exception to the album's serious mood) is "Dirty Rotten Bastards", a twisted eight minute beast with an attention deficit, jumping from place to place with none of "American Idiot"'s professionalism but all of its vigour.
There's a natural climax here but, alas, we have two more songs. Quasi-political ditty "99 Revolutions" is entirely forgettable, which leaves us with "The Forgotten". Don't be alarmed but this is a real "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" type effort slow, plodding drums, orchestral backing and a nice big guitar solo to top it off. If you've gone along with everything so far then this will close proceedings nicely but, even if not, Green Day can get away with this sort of stuff. They've done stranger things.
Lyrics — 5
It seems strange to admit that at one time this was a band that were celebrated for having their finger on the pulse of an apathetic youth and, depending on who you asked, American politics as a whole. Not quite the case anymore. They're still capable of tying together punk debauchery and pop sentiment nicely at times ("Meet me at the bathroom stall/meet me at the whispering wall") but generally speaking you're better off ignoring the lyrics as they have a tendency to hit just wide of the mark. As an example I think "Drama Queen" sums it up quite well - it's a twee, heartfelt bopper which intends well but the refrain of "she's old enough to bleed now" may have needed redrafting.
Overall Impression — 5
Billie Joe and co. are probably entitled to do whatever they like at this stage, and they could certainly do worse than to bash out a few reflections on a long career and long life. What's unfortunate is that without the concept, you lose the narrative and for all its hooks this album doesn't quite click as a long play. The band themselves even said that "Tre!" was "cleaning up the mess" from the party started by the "Uno!" and "Dos!". How much fun does that sound?
Let's be fair, though, and take a look at this trilogy as a whole. There have been twists and turns, highs and lows, rapping and ballads. The collection holds some of Green Day's best songs from the last decade and certainly some of their worst. Such a mixed bag can't be regarded as particularly strong and "Tre!" is probably the weakest of the bunch - but taken as a whole this project has turned out a damn sight better than "21st Century Breakdown", and wouldn't you have taken that at the beginning?