Sound — 8
Green Day formed in 1987 and since that time have been credited with helping to bring punk rock back to a modern audience and have been accused of not even technically being punk rock. John Lydon of the Sex Pistols has even made disparaging remarks about Green Day and their authenticity as a punk band, but you have to think that the earliest rock music, say Buddy Holly, probably wouldn't have the best opinion of some of the rock music made even 10 or 20 years after his time. No disrespect to John Lydon, and Green Day might not be the Sex Pistols but they are absolutely punk rock and have done a lot of good for other up and coming punk bands by bringing some mainstream attention to the genre. To try to say that because Green Day was successful or because they have written some songs that aren't technically punk doesn't rob them of their credibility, no matter how much someone may want to tie the genre to a bunch of stereotypes. I remember when their third album, "Dookie", was released in 1994 and there wasn't any other popular music that sounded like it at the time. The internet wasn't readily available at the time so if music wasn't popular enough to reach you and it wasn't local then you didn't hear it period. That is why I don't hold Green Day's success against them like some punk purists seem to want to do. End of rant.
"Uno!" is the ninth studio album from Green Day, with plans to follow it up with a tenth and eleventh very quickly in a matter of months, actually. Billie Joe Armstrong has explained this trilogy as the band just feels especially creative and sitting down in the studio the songs just keep coming so they decided to go with a trilogy of albums. There are 12 tracks on this album, and the runtime is just under 42 minutes. This is the first album in a decade from Green Day that doesn't have a loose storyline based around the album, but is just a collection of good songs. This isn't exactly going back to the days of "Longview" and Green Day's sound has changed over time, but you have to judge the album off of its own merit. This is definitely pop punk music from beginning to end. Most of the songs have well thought out lyrical themes, bordering on philosophical, which is due to the band's tenure in the business and an accumulation of their life experiences. The sound is definitely not as aggressive as their earliest releases, but much more aggressive than some of their more recent releases. You don't get back the old Green Day with this release and you don't get the more recent Green Day what you get is the current Green Day, which is still pretty good. The instrumentation is a little stripped down in comparison to everything but their first several releases, but the vitality that has fallen by the wayside in recent years is definitely back.
Lyrics — 7
For the first time in a while Billie Joe is singing songs and not trying to tell parables, which is a breath of fresh air for me. I've heard some critical comments that the lyrics from "Uno!" are more adolescent than their other recent releases and I read on some YouTube comments people saying Green Day is pretending they're writing as teenagers again, but I strongly disagree. There isn't an age where you automatically become a hardcore right wing conservative and you don't lose your sense of vitality. I feel like the lyrics on the album are light social commentary and I have to commend Billie Joe for writing them right on.
As a sample of the lyrics from the album, here are some lyrics from the opening track, "Nuclear Family": "Gonna ride the world like a merry-go-round/ Like a ferris wheel like it's breaking down/ Drinking angel's piss, gonna crash and burn/ I just want some action so gimme my turn/ Like a Chinese company conspiracy/ It's the death of a nuclear family staring up at you/ It's looking like another bad comedy/ Just as long as it comes in hi-fidelity for me too/ Can you hear the sound coming over the hill? / Gotta move my feet, it's coming in for the kill/ Ba-baby, baby it's a blow out/ Like a nuclear bomb and it won't be long 'til I detonate". This album is straight up pop punk, or power pop, and these lyrics are good for what they are which is a high energy song that is also making some light observations about society. I picked a sample from "Nuclear Family" because the song was easy to transcribe, but it isn't even the strongest sample from the album very solid lyrics for a pop punk album.
Overall Impression — 9
I'm enjoying seeing an album from Green Day that isn't a rock opera, and I'm looking forward to the next two installments to the trilogy. The album is really exceptional to me because they manage to have an album of high energy catchy songs that still say something without trying to tell you a whole story. My favorite songs on the album are "Carpe Diem", "Angel Blue", "Oh Love", "Kill The DJ" and "Troublemaker". I can't say that I have any strong negative feelings towards any songs on the album, and I honestly can't even pick a "least favorite". This is a pretty solid album, with even the worst songs having the right energy to them the band sounds like they had fun recording it and it comes across in the songs. That is really this album's main strength it is a fun album.