Green Day has one of the most celebrated catalogs in Rock/Pop/Punk music history. The group’s storied career (filled with hits like “Basket Case” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”) has spawned over 25 years. Bill Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt have resurfaced after a four year silence, with Revolution Radio. I’m not ashamed to go on record and say today was my first time listening to a Green Day album in its entirety. Sure, I know all of their radio hits, but never listened to any of their albums. Now, I may have to revisit some of the CDs in their catalog.
A large part of Green Day’s appeal is their uncanny ability to garner attention. Let’s face it, it will likely be years before another Rock band comes close to the sales they racked up with the diamond selling Dookie and their rock opera, American Idiot. However, the fact that their latest release is worth listening to is not the surprise. The surprise comes with their inspiration behind it. Billie Joe Armstrong sites Black Lives Matter movement as inspiration to write the songs for the album. Revolution Radio clearly has a social and political charge with lyrics like “With your hands up in the sky, like you want to testify” on its title track.
However, even the music video for the project’s lead single, “Bang Bang”, depicts the trio as crazed bank robbers. They sing about being “daddy’s little psycho and mommy’s little soldier”. Revolution Radio finds Green Day at the controls this time, producing their own music. The outcome is radically sensational. The syncopated claps and guitars that fill “Say Goodbye” serve up one of the CD’s best offerings. This song is one of several politically charged tracks peppered throughout the CD. The group also exhibits a playful persona as well, as perhaps best evident on songs like “Bouncing Off The Wall” and “Youngblood”. “Outlaws” reflects on their maturity on the things that may have been damaged in their youth (and in today’s society).
The latter half of Revolution Radio sees Bill, Tre and Mike get serious. “Troubled Times” and “Still Breathing” specifically tackle today’s social issues we can’t escape. “Still Breathing” really takes center stage though. I expect this song to be a big hit for Green Day, resonating with many fans. Green Day has indeed served up quite an audible revolution that echoes today’s tense climate. Look for Green Day on tour this Spring in support of Revolution Radio.