Originally published in the Hindu Sunday Magazine on January 6th.
Green Day – ¡Tre!
So the Green Day trilogy of albums comes to an end with their third album in three months, ¡Tre!
It’s certainly a bold move by the California rockers. The previous two albums ¡Uno! and ¡Dos! have been hit or miss, having only a handful of worthy songs. This is also the case with ¡Tre! It starts out slow, and keeps things mellow for a bit too long with the opening song ‘Brutal Love’ and there’s nothing too special about the second track ‘Missing You’ either.
At some point through this 12 track album, you begin to question whether front man Billie Joe Armstrong just wants to write a piano rock melody, record it and then move on to the next. ‘Drama Queen’ sees Armstrong take on the usual high school narratives about growing up. But then you hear ‘X-Kid’ and realise he can still get heard out. It’s proof that Green Day can still do punk, at least thematically. They do seem to have steered clear of political themes, but ’99 Revolutions’ is an exception not only on ¡Tre! but also the entire trilogy.
The six and a half minute epic punk anthem ‘Dirty Rotten Bastards’ contains the only trace of their seventh album American Idiot. They kick life into the album with good old fast, wrecked punk rock tracing the exploits of Juliana Homicide, one of their typical characters. Some songs like ‘Little Boy Named Train’ really save the album, although they seem like they would have fit into any of the band’s pre-2004 albums.
The band haven’t forgotten their roots, but these three albums are a clear sign that the band has evolved to prefer pop punk and rock & roll over their original angry, sometimes jaded punk songwriting. There’s still music for fans old and new, which is why the three albums succeed to a certain level. That said, it’s nearly impossible to look at ¡Tre! on its own. It’s a mostly-unremarkable, play-it-safe way to end the trilogy. Here’s hoping Green Day take a well-deserved break and return in a few years’ time, because for now, they’ve given listeners more than enough to last them long.