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Released: Sep 21, 2012
Genre: Pop Punk, Power Pop
Number Of Tracks: 12
"¡Uno!" is the ninth studio album released by Green Day and the first in a trilogy. "¡Uno!" takes a step away from the rock opera/concept album format that Green Day used for "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown".
UG Team, on november 12, 2012 10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 8
Lyrics: 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. // 7
Overall Impression: 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. // 9
jacobtheimpaler, on november 12, 2012 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: "Uno!" is the first part of Green Day's highly ambitious album trilogy and it is meant to work as an intro to the trilogy as a whole. The trilogy began as a "handful" of what the band describes as tight "power pop" songs, and as the project evolved many of those songs found their way onto "Uno!". Green Day of course is known for their tight, bombastic style of punk rock and punk pop; a sound that combines that of early punk bands such as the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, and The Clash with that of their 90's East Bay Punk contemporaries. Recently the band has strayed from this sound, with few examples of it being found on their last record "21st Century Breakdown". This album is meant to serve as a return to that "Green Day" style, albeit with some of the power pop influence found on their pre-"American Idiot" release "Warning". Sound wise, "Uno!" can be compared easily to "Warning", as it features a lighter, crisper distortion sound, a sound that is very different from the big and dry Marshall sound found on albums such as "Dookie", "Insomniac", and "American Idiot". This serves the songs well, and as a result certain tracks become larger due to their energy, not their guitar sound. Armstrong's guitar playing is as rhythmically conscious and melodic as ever, while Dirnt and Cool provide a powerful and punchy rhythm that drives the songs forward. Touring guitarist Jason White also appears on the record, and his lead guitar is laid on every single track here, adding color to the tracks and creating the illusion of a larger guitar sound. Rob Cavallo's production is also at its best, if not a bit over done, and the mix manages to please all sides of the sonic spectrum, from treble to mid to bass. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics found on the album serve the songs very well. While Armstrong does tend to get a little repetitive on some tracks ("Let Yourself Go", "Kill The DJ") and a bit cheesy on others, the lyrics manage to convey the message of the songs effectively. Many of the songs reflect an overall theme of growing older and gaining self-reflection, and they do so in a very mature manner that manages to not be dark and brooding (especially when compared to Blink-182's "Neighborhoods"). Green Day also eschews the politically centered lyrics found on their past albums, replacing them instead with the more personal "existential" lyrics found on other releases such as "Nimrod" and "Kerplunk". Lyrical highlights include "Nuclear Family", "Stay The Night", and "Carpe Diem", with the latter two including particularly infectious choruses that will stay in your mind for days. Many songs are also very heartfelt and passionate in their lyrics, the best example of this being "Rusty James", a track that echoes the theme and bitterness of previous Green Day songs "86" and "Platypus". Vocally the band are once again at the top of their game, with Armstrong belting out grandiose 'hey ohs' on "Stay The Night", letting loose his signature snarl on "Kill The DJ", and performing impossibly high falsettos on "Sweet 16". The group's Beatles and Bad Religion-esque harmonies once again soar, however I find it disappointing that several songs featured Armstrong doing his own backing vocals instead of Mike Dirnt, a practice that I hoped would not continue on past "21st Century Breakdown". Armstrong is also noticeably double tracked and filtered on some songs in a few spots, an effect that gives an impression of over-production when it comes to the vocals. Overall however this is only a small mark against a very well written and well performed record. // 8
Overall Impression: Track by track breakdown on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the best and 1 being the worst:
01. "Nuclear Family" - an excellent introduction to the album with a great guitar hook and an excellent melody. The band shows their return to form well here and then remind us that this is only the beginning when Billie Joe counts off "5, 4, 3, 2, 1!" at the songs closing.
02. "Stay The Night" - Top notch Green Day here. No frills, just the great sound and songwriting that many fell in love with on earlier releases. This track manages to have one of the best bridges/instrumental pieces on the whole record.
03. "Carpe Diem" - A personal favorite, this one immediately reminds of previous songs "Before The Lobotomy" and "Suffocate". Its a great power pop song with a noticeable tinge of Cheap Trick. The post solo bridge is a bit jarring, but overall its an enjoyable track.
04. "Let Yourself Go" - Another pure Green Day tune that reeks of "Dookie" and "Insomniac". Balls out punk rock here, with one of the Armstrong's stronger solos that reminds heavily of the "Dry Ice" and "Slappy" EPs.
05. "Kill The DJ" - Probably Green Day's most controversial track at the moment. A dance punk song, comparing it to "Sandinista!" era Clash is a no brainer, also reminds of Franz Ferdinand and even the Arctic Monkeys' indie sound. It is not the strongest track on the album but it is the most experimental, it will not appeal to everyone.
06. "Fell For You" - Nothing really special, but I find myself connecting with the lyrics. A straight forward love song, it reminds of mid-tempo "Nimrod" tracks like "Worry Rock" and "Dookie"'s "Pulling Teeth".
07. "Loss Of Control" - Nimrod sounding track that reminds of "Letterbomb" and "Ha Ha You'Re Dead". Armstrong's diction and passionate presentation of the lyrics really pushes the energy up on this tune. Great rocking track.
08. "Troublemaker" - Here we see a shade of Foxboro Hot Tubs with a pop rock/garage sound. Boring chorus, but the verse and the best solo on the album more than make up for its short falls. Might not be for everyone though.
09. "Angel Blue" - Another great rocker. Similar to "Loss Of Control" but less aggressive, in the vain of "I Fought The Law" by The Clash. The lyrics are infectious.
10. "Sweet 16" - This one really surprised me. From what I'd heard I thought it would not be my thing. Great pop song overall. Quieter and cleaner than the rest, think "Macy's Day Parade" combined with "Worry Rock".
11. "Rusty James" - Similar to "Angel Blue" and "Loss Of Control", but stronger overall. Think "Scattered" off "Nimrod". Armstrong's passion here is undeniable. Best lyrics on the album.
12. "Oh Love" - I really wanted to give this a 3 or even a 2. I was incredibly disappointed by this first single, but in the context of the entire album it works. The albums only anthem next to some of the more epic parts of "Stay The Night", it manages to bring a closing to the album, yet it leaves the door open for "Dos!"
Overall the album is an excellent collection of songs. The composition and sound remind of "Nimrod" and strangely enough, the compilation album "Shenanigans". Its structure echoes "Dookie" and "Insomniac", with sprinkles of variation among and within singular punk pop tracks. The album does not slow down and, even if it is not Green Day's best work, it certainty is their most fun. However, the album does suffer from being part of a larger trilogy. Even after all 42 minutes had completed I found myself feeling the album is slightly incomplete and I craved a better conclusion. "Uno!" really never winds down to a finale, it instead seems to abruptly end. I also have an issue with the album seeming to be slightly over produced in some spots, and as mentioned earlier I am disappointed with the noticeable lack of Mike Dirnt's signature backing vocals on most of the tracks. With this in mind, however, I would still recommend this album to any Green Day fan or punk pop fan as they will not be disappointed with the collection of songs found on this record, and it will more than enough to hold them off until "Dos!" sees its release in November. // 9
mattiscool7337, on november 12, 2012 2 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: The phrase "Two steps forward, one step back" probably most accurately describes Green Day's career over the past decade; however, this is not to say that a specific direction is ultimately universally preferable. "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown", the two most recent efforts by the punk group, were more pop-driven concept albums, which many know culminated in the live Broadway adaptation (which is really quite spectacular, but that is a topic for another discussion) of "American Idiot". Don't expect any theatrics on "Uno!", though.
While some might say that making a (trilogy of) single-driven, simple punk rock album(s) after releasing two rock operas seems more conceited than releasing two rock operas alone, this does not detract from the overall sound of the album. One who has listened to any previews of songs on "Uno!" should be aware that they have already tasted exactly what the band is offering, just on a smaller scale. This album shifts back to the vein of simple, power chord driven punk rock, and the sound is quite refreshing. Coming from someone who enjoyed the extravagance of "American Idiot" and "21st Century Breakdown", the pared down sound of "Uno!" is equally enjoyable, and brings the band back to its roots, while maintaining a little of the flair for refined production. Songs like "Nuclear Family", "Stay The Night", and "Let Yourself Go" will remind the frequent Green Day listener of "Dookie"-days; "Loss Of Control" may give memories of "Insomniac"; and "Sweet 16" and "Fell For You" will probably make you feel like a "Nimrod". It doesn't all feel like old material, though. "Kill The DJ" is probably most unique to the band's history, and "Troublemaker" is also a step in a different direction.
One main difference that sets the sound of this album apart from more "classic" Green Day LPs is the guitar solos present on several of the songs, as well as the overall musicianship of each member. Armstrong rips a couple of good solos, and while most are more intended as transition and short-lived, they add some meat to the bone of the traditional Ramones-esque punk sound. The rhythm section is also a lot tighter, which would be expected from a band who has done little but record and play live music over 25 years. // 9
Lyrics: Lyrically (and musically, really) it's pretty clear that Green Day wants you to think they don't give a f--k for most of the album. This is most literally evident on the fourth track, "Let Yourself Go", which begins, "Shut your mouth, 'cause you're talkin' too much/And I don't give a f--k anyway". Most of the tracks on "Uno!" run similarly to this sort of theme; Green Day really doesn't have much to say, they just wanted to play some loud, fast music. And that they do, so overall, it's a success. There are a few nicer songs, i.e. "Fell For You", "Angel Blue", "Sweet 16", and "Oh Love". Moreover, these songs, too, are not lyrically groundbreaking; to do so would seem foreign to the album's overall sound. Thematically, one should expect to hear what they heard on Green Day's "good ol' days". Still, it would have been nice to hear the mold being broken on a track or two, as some of "Uno!" has a tendency to seem a bit repetitive. Armstrong's vocals are pretty consistent with previous Green Day releases, and his voice fits the tone of the album pretty well, although some listeners might find his "tough-guy" attitude a bit forced. // 7
Overall Impression: For many listeners, it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly how you feel about "Uno!". If you were hoping that Green Day would depart from their recent theatrical stint, your dreams have come true; however, you may feel like the band is still relying on publicity stunts, sacrificing quality for quantity by releasing a "triple-album" over the course of the next few months. Others might feel like the band is already too far gone into the realm of radio-music. While this album does shift back towards a grittier punk sound, it certainly still has a pop flair. Neither of these scenarios mean that "Uno!" can't be an enjoyable experience overall, and much of your reaction will depend on your own expectations. Personally, I liked listening to it, and saw and appreciated what the band is trying to do. It won't become my favorite album of all time, and not even my favorite Green Day album, but that doesn't mean that I or any other listener won't enjoy listening to it in the future. Most of all, it's fun, and while the sound may feel a little forced at times, it's still a good album to rock out to. // 7
KingOfDaStrings, on november 12, 2012 1 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: Since 1987, Green Day has been hard at work, serving the public with a refreshing power pop and punk sound that set them and other alternative bands apart from mainstream radio. Their last studio release, "21st Century Breakdown", went 2x platinum, selling more than 12 million copies world wide. Now, the band has gone back to their roots that made them successful in 1994, the release of "Dookie": Down 'n Dirty Rock 'n Roll.
To me, this record sounds like "Dookie", "Nimrod", "Warning", and "21st Century" got together and had a baby. Tracks like "Carpe Diem" sounds more like new Green Day, and then there's "Kill The DJ", which is kind of it's own thing. The album defiantly has a verity of different styles. // 10
Lyrics: Lyrics? You guessed it: Raunchy. Songs like "Let Yourself Go" and "Kill The DJ" both deliver heavy amounts of profanity (some more well places than others, ex. "Shoot the f--king DJ..." gets old after awhile). The song "Nuclear Family" states that our society threatens parents and their children. "Rusty James" (one of my favorites), is a lonely sounding song lyrically. "Oh Love" is the first single from the album (released June 28th), is a great song, but the replay value isn't very strong, to me, at least. // 10
Overall Impression: Overall this is defiantly some of the band's best work. I could listen to this album all day, everyday. The album is the 1st in the bands trio of LPs, and drops into stores on Tuesday. Sept. 25th [my birthday!]) "Dos!" Launches November 13th, and "Tr!" is set for release on January 15th. Be sure to head to your local retailer and pick up "Uno!" // 10
captainboneslab, on november 12, 2012 0 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: To start I'd like to say that I've been listening to Green Day since 2004. Yes I started with "American Idiot" and worked my way backwards. I've loved them ever since the start. I love everything about them, even what people hate. They're the first band I've ever loved.
Ever since "Warning" came out, I've definitely noticed a change in Green Day's sound. They went from a more punk style to a pop and alternative style could be pleasing to a much larger audience. The most distinctive change I've noticed in their sound is the EQ on Billie's voice, and just the general manner in which he sings. You won't hear any vocals that sound like "86" in this album.
Billie's singing is very "nice" I suppose. He hit's every note perfectly and strays completely away from the punk style of singing that he used to be so perfect at. In one song in fact I think I hear a little bit of auto-tuning (as someone who does recording on his own, you can just tell when it's being used).
The album however is mixed BEAUTIFULLY. The drums thump you and the bass sounds excellent. But it's nothing like anything from past albums and you'll need to expect a much more generic and mainstream sound or you'll be disappointed. I would rate this much higher but because so many of the songs sound the exact same, I can't put this at more than a 6 out of 10. // 6
Lyrics: As far as the singing goes for this album, Billie does a good job sounding like a fine singer. But once again, he doesn't possess that punk style at all in his singing. And that disappoints me. Don't expect those good ol' Green Day lyrics from this album either. // 5
Overall Impression: Man... This album just doesn't cut it for me. It's so unlike any other album they've done and it's not in the good way. I am really upset. I listened to this straight through expecting something fantastic and I came away with the mainstream nonsense I hate. I still love Green Day, but this isn't like them. Hopefully they'll get it together in "Dos" or "Tres". 6 out of 10, and may they find it in themselves to earn back some dignity with the next two albums. // 6
aledjames, on november 12, 2012 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: The album returns to the sound of Dookie, which despite the fact that American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown were brilliant albums, is definitely a good thing. There's a few brilliant guitar parts in it such as in 'Troublemaker' which, as a guitarist, I'm a big fan of // 8
Lyrics: I think the lyrics are brilliant, as they always are in Green Day's case! Examples of these great lyrics are "Shut your mouth 'cause you're talking too much and I don't give a f**k anyway!" and "You, I wanna get inside of you, I wanna crack your cranium delirium on the lower left side of your mind." // 8
Overall Impression: In my opinion, it's their best album sinceNimrod either. The best songs on it are Let Yourself Go, Troublemaker and Oh Love. Definitely worth buying. // 9