Green Day – Revolution Radio

It has a been a hot minute since we have heard anything from the Pop Punk staple Green Day. The ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! trilogy, the band last project was released in 2014 and was surprisingly forgettable for a Band that is know for creating life altering foot tapping Punk Jams. Since then the band has appeared to be in turmoil with the announcement of a break after their last tour. With the band’s Front-man Billie Joe Armstrong going to rehab for substance abuse some wondered it they would be calling it quits.Image result for green day However, they are back delivering an album that Armstrong says is about “the culture of mass shooting that happens in America mixed with narcissistic social media.”

The opening track Somewhere Now eases us into Armstrong troubled mind with the opening lyrics “I’m on way to somewhere Now/ I don’t want to be/ Where the future and promises/ Ain’t what it used to be.” Then the power chords kick in and unfortunately Green Day delivers a formulaic and uninspired pop punk performance. Every track delivers nothing new and lacks the punch of their earlier work while struggling to find the heart that has become their signature.

The title track Revolution Radio tackles Armstrong’s concerns about the  recently developed culture of mass shooting in America. He attacks the problem as angry protester unsure of the solution “Scream with your hands up in the sky/like you want tImage result for revolution radioo testify/For the life that’s been deleted/Sing like a rebel’s lullaby/Under the stars and stripes/For the lost souls that were cheated.” While this track is classic Green Day what it lacks is what the whole album lacks something new. There is not a lot of true substance, in its place are lyrics that barely could be considered criticism and the same chord progression we have heard Green Day use for years.

Still Breathing is my favorite song off the album and it possibly the most sincere song on this record. Armstrong praises that somehow he is still breathing stating “I’m like an ambulance that’s turning on the sirens/Oh, I’m still alive” tapping into the raw emotion that only a punk rocker who has finally kicked his substance abuse problem can. Yet it highlights the exact problem the rest of the album Image result for revolution radiohas, behind the entrancing pop punk rhythms, and seemingly relevant lyrics lies little substance. Songs like Outlaws, Forever Now, and Young Blood might sound good initially they lack the hall mark of great punk songs emotional resonance.

Revolution Radio is not a return to form for Green Day, rather it is more of an evolution. They are no longer a bunch of young punks kicking and screaming about the neuroses and politics, that much is clear. Revolution Radio shows a level of maturity from the band, asking their listeners just how dark the world around us is theses days, and is there a clear solution? While that sounds like an epic idea for an album Green Day cannot convert that into anything meaningful. Revolution Radio’s problem is not that it is a bad pop punk album, it has catchy lyrics and chord progressions, its problem is that it lacks the substance required to be even a noteworthy album, go listen to Jeff Rostenstock’s Worry instead.

 

Retrospective: Gang of Four

I remember the first time I heard the album Entertainment! by Gang of Four. The first thing that really hit me was the jaw dropping production. In a sea of reverb and echo ridden albums in Post-Punk, Entertainment was dry as a bone. Aggressive and fearless, Entertainment! rips through your comfort zone with trebly compressed guitar attacks, rolling bass lines, and sharp political diction. Within a month of hearing it, I owned the record and it quickly became one of my favorite documents of the Post Punk era.
On October 28, 2016, we have an incredible opportunity. Gang of Four will be gracing Salt Lake City at In The Venue (219 South 600 West, SLC). The current lineup includes the original guitarist/songwriter Andy Gill along with three new members. The band is currently touring with The Faint, who will also be at the SLC show. A good friend of mine just saw them on this tour last week in Chicago. He described Andy as “mesmerizing”. He said he could tell those in the audience who were there for The Faint were equally transfixed on the sound and essence of Gang of Four. Gang of Four influenced (and continues to influence) generations of bands.

Kurt Cobain sited Entertainment! in his top 50 favorite albums of all time, Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers sites their bass lines as some of his favorite of all time, and even local SLC heroes Foster Body were heavily influenced by the band’s work. This may be one of the last chances to see Andy Gill and Gang of Four. If you’re a fan of rock n roll at all, I strongly urge you to come see one of the world’s greatest forgotten bands.

You can purchase tix here: https://www.24tix.com/event/99290180/the-faint

 

-Josh Price

Open Mic: Dine Krew

Open Mic: Dine Krew

This week on the Open Mic, Stavo talks to local rap group Dine Krew’s Erasole James! give it a listen.