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Originally published in The Hindu Sunday Magazine on December 2nd, 2012

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/magazine/showcase-more-alternative-than-punk-rock/article4150479.ece

Green Day – iDos!

EMI

Rs. 395

It has been called the second Foxboro Hot Tubs album, in reference to Green Day’s ‘secret side project’ which leaned towards garage rock. But that would mean it’s not necessarily punk rock in its essence. This is particularly true for the new album iDos!

All the punk elements are there – short, punchy songs, vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong’s oscillation between drawl, jaded vocals and screamed out exclamations, and standard lyrical themes of love, rebellion and partying.

It starts off innocently with “See You Tonight”, but Billie Joe shakes that image off with the real opening track “F*** Time” as screeching guitars serve as a background for Armstrong to make suggestive noises.

“Lazy Bones” on the other hand, is particularly Green Day pumping out the generic anthemic stuff. The only question that remains is whether we still want to hear that, especially after their 12-track first album iUno! released in September.

The rest of the album sees them make it through some very standard tunes, although they do seem better than their predecessor (“Wild One”, “Makeout Party”, “Wow! That’s Loud”). Still, if we have to consider iDos! on its own, it’s a lively album with an alternative mix of songs, not all just heavy-hitting punk tunes – as much as anyone would want that from the East-Bay, California quartet (Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tre Cool inducted long-time touring guitarist Jason White as an official member).

If there’s on e surprise on this album, it’s the track “Nightlife”, which features vocals from fellow-East Bay punk band Mystic Knights of the Cobra’s lead singer Lady Cobra. It’s a scintillatingly wicked beat, with some dirty talk courtesy Lady Cobra. Green Day seemed to have liked the band so much they even named a 2-minute scorcher of a track “Lady Cobra” after the female vocalist.

The album closes with “Amy”, a soft tribute to singer Amy Winehouse, a friend who Armstrong felt was not too different from him, in their tantrums and (consequent) rehab visits.

iDos! is much better than the previous Green Day effort, but (again) not for its punk rock. The alternative elements make this album listenable, but the rock songwriting is not exceptional. What does make sense is that after hearing two parts of the trilogy, one can hope the third and final part iTre! remains a bit unpredictable.

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