REVOLUTION RADIO by Green Day
Genre: “Pop Punk”
Favorite Tracks: “Troubled Times”
Few great bands reach superstar status and age well with time. Green Day is not one of those bands. Their latest release, REVOLUTION RADIO, is a confusing mix of country sensibilities and rock songwriting that essentially amounts to cheesy pop. I actually find the album’s artwork depicting a burning radio to be ironic, because this album perfectly depicts the death of their days on the radio. REVOLUTION RADIO is intermittently catchy, but lacks vision, substance, and soul.
The skeleton of what could be a great song is present on every track, but REVOLUTION RADIO is loosely put together in a way that feels like the passion behind it was fake. There may be the occasional interesting moment, such as the guitar thrashing on “Bang Bang,” but it seems that whenever there’s an opportunity to make something deep and provocative, Green Day goes in a direction that feels safe. The squeaky clean sound is likely a reflection of a post-rehab Billy Joel Armstrong, but it doesn’t feel punk, and it detracts from the artwork.
One review called REVOLUTION RADIO “comforting” yet “crunchy.” I would say that anything that attempts to be punk rock but sounds “comforting” and “crunchy” is landing short of the mark. It would appear that the days of political anger and longing are over, and that Green Day’s days of “political dissatisfaction” are here. To be fair, many people may enjoy the more accessible elements of REVOLUTION RADIO, but if you were a fan of AMERICAN IDIOT, you’ll likely be listening to REVOLUTION RADIO with disappointment.
A key problem I have with the album is that it’s intentions are often disjointed. “Revolution Radio” starts off intensely, with a sharp electric guitar. Soon, the music contrasts with the borderline gospel lyrics: “Stay with your hands up in the sky / Like you wanna testify / For the life that’s been deleted.” Take the opening line of “Youngblood” for further evidence: “She’s a loner / not a stoner.” The lyrics feel cheesy and forced. “Troubled Times” stands out on the album as something organic, but unfortunately, one stellar song and a few average ones don’t make an album worth purchasing, or even lending your time to.
Despite a few isolated moments on the album, most of REVOLUTION RADIO sounds like background music for a truck commercial. It feels hollow and lacks the spirit of rebellion and energetic anti-establishment attitude that once made Green Day special. It also lacks direction, and feels more like a confusing soup than a well composed and thought out sandwich. I hate to break it to the fans, but REVOLUTION RADIO will not be Green Day’s comeback.
REVOLUTION RADIO lends itself to scrutiny. Punk is only as “punk” as it is authentic. As with any music, if you can’t connect to it, what’s the point? REVOLUTION RADIO made me feel like the sound of Green Day’s pop punk is either dead, or long past it’s expiration date — because it certainly isn’t fresh.
Verdict: Do Not Recommend