I’ve never been a huge fan of Green Day (I’m definitely over hearing “Wake Me Up When September Ends” at every graduation I attend), but with the release of Revolution Radio, their first new album in four years, I decided to give them a shot. They’re very much a pop-punk band of the early aughts, akin to the likes of Fall Out Boy, Paramore, and Panic at the Disco; however, lead singer Billie Jo Armstrong tweeted out several months before that his goal for the new album was to “destroy the phrase pop-punk”. Whether or not he accomplished that, I can’t really say for sure. I felt the album was more of the same stuff that Green Day has given us in the past: scathing social, political, and cultural commentary with a few light heartened songs peppered into the mix. The album opens with the track “Somewhere Now” which is perhaps a criticism of conformity and the mundane of everyday life. In my opinion I felt it would have been better placed second on the album, as the song that comes after it “Bang Bang” is a much more powerful song about mass shootings and how the media inadvertently makes these gunmen famous. It would have been a strong opening to the album that would have set the tone for the rest of the work.
I liked “Still Breathing” for its feelings of redemption and survival, a nod to Billie Joe overcoming his own addictions to alcohol and drugs. It’s a hopeful song for people going through tough times, giving them the strength to continue on. The song “Youngblood” is an upbeat track with lyrics that reminded me of something Bowling For Soup would write. “Forever Now”, the longest song on the album clocking in at almost seven minutes, is really three songs in one. The instrumentals blend all three parts together perfectly to create one cohesive song, as opposed to a long song with three distinct parts, one being a reprisal of the opening song “Somewhere Now”.
Out of all the songs on the album, I’d have to say that the last, “Ordinary World” was my favorite because it didn’t sound like the rest of the album. Performed by acoustic guitar, it was softer and gave off a whimsical vibe. The song is a nice change from their usual sound and was a pleasant, if not surprising, close to the album. Revolution Radio has not turned me into a Green Day fan, but it has given me a better understanding and appreciation for them.