Everyone has an opinion about Green Day, and most can be encapsulated in one of two sentences. The music snob answer is usually something like “Dookie was pretty good, but after American Idiot I just can’t take them seriously anymore,” whereas most pop fans will say something like “their songs are fun and easy to listen to, so I don’t care what that cardigan-wearing douchebag thinks.”
It’s strange that a band with such inoffensive music can be so divisive, but most of the disagreements are based on Green Day’s history. The group began as a punk band that played music hard enough to piss off your parents, but cheeky and endearing enough to win over the younger demographic. Green Day became kings of the alt-rock airwaves, and built a sizable following of disgruntled youths. However, Green Day leapt from the alternative stations to the mainstream with their monstrously successful album American Idiot in 2004. No longer were they a group for people “in the know,” but rather for drivers stuck in traffic coming home from work.
The phrase “selling out” has such a negative perception, but really, it should be seen as savvy business. While the old music may have been more creative, energetic and authentic, Green Day has struck gold with the blend of pop-punk that they’re now (in)famous for, and they’re having a good time headlining corporate concerts and international tours.
¡Uno!, the new album, is exactly what you’d expect: a little bit of Springsteen, a little bit of Sex Pistols, a lot bit of watering down. In short, the perfect recipe for a mediocre top-seller. You could read a rundown of some of the songs, but it’s really not worth your time. They made one song and changed a few chords here and there. The music isn’t as insidious as the utter lack of creativity. For 41 minutes and 42 seconds, you will be subjected to pop-punk that makes Fallout Boy sound intricate. Truthfully, you’d be better off listening to Kenny G hold an e-flat for 45 minutes than listening to ¡Uno!
The songs aren’t terrible on their own. “Let Yourself Go” and “Oh Love,” stand out as energy-pumped singles. However, listening to the entire album will make your ears bleed. Every song has the exact same recycled pseudo-punk riffs. In case you didn’t believe he was punk, Billie Joe Armstrong swears a lot on some songs too.
This album will be a hit, though. It’s hard not to lose faith when the Billboard 200 crowd spends their money on garbage like this. ¡Uno! is less exciting than white bread. More people fall asleep listening to ¡Uno! than in Stats 250. And rumor has it that Rip Van Winkle had ¡Uno! playing on his iPod right before he took his marathon nap for two decades.
¡Uno! is one of those rare moments where something inoffensive makes you furious. The music may not be horrifying, but the complacency is. To quote Green Day’s own music “it’s something unpredictable, that in the end is right, I hope you had the time of your life” making the shittiest album of the year.