by Sharon Mitchell
Being one of those miseries who refuses to accept that it is Christmas until the day of the annual office booze-up, I have had to acknowledge the holiday season earlier than usual this year – Green Day kick-started the celebrations last week when they released the second in their trilogy, the party album, ¡DOS!. With impossible-to-overlook day-glo orange cover-art featuring bassist Mike Dirnt (Wow! That’s LOUD!), this is the follow-up to ¡UNO!, released back in September, and the lead-in to ¡TRE! which will hit the shelves just in time for inclusion on everyone’s list for Santa. Do it. It’s nice and easy to wrap, too.
As I am horrendously old (put it this way – I was born into the era when Nixon was VICE-President!), I have a huge respect for the pioneers of rock and roll, and from these albums (and from the fabulous Foxboro Hot Tubs side project of 2007), it is pretty clear that the band feels the same. Tracks channel Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers, and from my homeland, The Kinks, The Who and of course, The Beatles, but still remain unmistakeably Green Day. The harmonies that made me fall in love with 39/Smooth and Kerplunk! are still there, but these days Billie Joe is stretching his vocals more than ever before, backed up with his own multi-tracked voice or those of his bandmates. For me, though, the best thing about this new material is the inclusion of so many guitar solos that could easily come from those much-loved Lookout! albums.
Never a band to repeat a formula, the Trilogy includes a few songs that have stimulated animated discussions (to put it mildly!), such as Kill The DJ, Oh, Love and most controversial of all, Nightlife. Green Day and RAP? That has proved to be a love-it-or-hate it track on ¡DOS! and from the point of view of my friends, it’s about a fifty/fifty split. In another controversial move, the band have become a foursome for this project, adding long time touring musician Jason White as their numero quatro. To my ears, he’s fitted in very well, and if it means that Billie goes off on more of those solos, I am more than happy with this new direction.
¡DOS! has a lot going for it, with changes of tempo and style occurring between almost every song. For one example, the ‘Don and Phil’ style See You Tonight is a gentle, wistful opener, lulling the listener into a false sense of security before the outrageously raunchy and very Foxboro Fuck Time explodes in their ears. Most of the rest of the tracks are party-tempo, using a pleasingly wide range of guitar effects and tones, and, as usual, Tré drums like The Muppets’ Animal on acid behind the melodies. This is Green Day that you can dance to, but without the monotony that I associate with most modern ‘dance‘ music. The album comes to a poignant end with the simple acoustic number, Amy, written as a tribute to an artist for whom the rock and roll lifestyle led to her name being added to those already in the infamous “27 Club”. Haunting and beautiful, the song is a hard act to follow – but we still have ¡TRE! to look forward to in a few weeks’ time.
Bring it on. I cannot wait.