Tuesday, October 11, 2016

RECORD REVIEW: Green Day "Revolution Radio"

Green Day
Revolution Radio
(Reprise Records)

My 15-year-old buddy told me
recently that whether it's for a
week, a few months, or even
years, everyone goes through
a "Green Day phase." I guess
I'm finally going through mine.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I will confess that despite achieving enormous success over the last 20-plus years, Green Day isn't a band that ever rose to a place of significant prominence on my personal radar. While I've always recognized the band's signature zing factor and frontman Billie Joe Armstrong's undeniable knack for creating well-crafted earworms, I just never connected with the platinum-selling faux punk combo — until now.

With the recent release of their 12th studio record, Revolution Radio, Green Day has dropped a doozie — a cohesive, high-octane collection that captured and consumed me in short order.

Based on a rather enthusiastic recommendation from a 14-year-old friend, I purchased Revolution Radio digitally from iTunes. As a result, I received just the songs — no cover art, liner notes, production / songwriting credits or lyrics — which is probably for the best. As I've learned over the years, I'm much better off being oblivious to Billie Joe's insightful lyrics. In fact, my personal Green Day experience has always been maximized when I merely focus on the band's true strengths hooky choruses, crunchy guitar riffs and Tré Cool's badass drum work. And that was precisely the compass I used when approaching Revolution Radio.

Green Day
Within the first few seconds of diving into the opening track, "Somewhere Now," I was struck by a glorious, knee-jerk revelation. Green Day seemingly had somehow managed to jam ten Who songs into one single track — I was hooked immediately!

Although the lead-off single, "Bang Bang," packs two fists-o-fun, it's not necessarily the shiniest gem in this magical 12-stone crown. Other personal favorites include the title track, the moody, yet engaging, "Outlaws," the Struts-flavored "Still Breathing," and the familiar-sounding acoustic delight, "Ordinary World."

But the mightiest highlight of all is undoubtedly the ferocious drum work of Tré Cool. From the mouth-watering sound of his kit to his impeccable performance, Revolution Radio represents arguably Cool's most impressive work to date.

In sum, Revolution Radio is simply a solid rock record — an honest, natural-sounding slab — as if three old friends came together merely to make some great music without pretense. Bravo! (A-)

-Christopher Long
(October 2016)

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