For the second time this year – dear Green Day fans – we’re sat here with a cup of tea and a new Green Day album. After a passable but largely uneventful first effort, the band’s middle part of their ‘¡Uno!’, ‘¡Dos!’, ‘¡Tré!’ trilogy arrives with twice the amount of “WTF” moments that ‘¡Uno!’ carried (see: ‘Kill The DJ’). We’ll get to those “WTF” moments shortly, but for now, let’s start at the start.
The album kicks off with ‘See You Tonight’. It’s a vocal harmony led blues guitar number (bear with us) that actually introduces the album pretty well. It’s not punk by any means, but neither is it a bad way to kick off a rock album. It’s a clue that you’re not in for “early” Green Day though, so many will be best advised to stop right there before ‘Fuck Time’ (seriously) kicks in. ‘Fuck Time’ is Green Day at their most tongue in cheek, and it’s basically a standard blues progression driven number that’s also part snotty punk, part Ramones and part over-egged guitar solos. If you guessed from the name that it’s a fairly puerile attempt to be silly that doesn’t quite pay off, then you’d be absolutely right.
The next three tracks – ‘Stop When The Red Lights Flash’, ‘Lazy Bones’ and ‘Wild One’ – are straight up blues and punk influenced rock. There’s little pace on offer here, and they’ll largely appeal to fans of more recent Green Day output. It’s introverted, by-numbers stuff and it’s hard to really find anything controversial or catchy to write home about.
‘Makeout Party’ picks up around where ‘Fuck Time’ left off, and though you can’t help but feel there’s plenty of borrowing going on throughout the track, it’s got plenty more balls than the three that preceded it. It’s around this point that the wish for Green Day to have trimmed this triple album collection down to one focused effort returns, and the admittedly superior melody of ‘Stray Heart’ and pace of ‘Ashley’ still do little to dissuade that thought.
It all feels a little unrefined and scattered, and it’s almost like Green Day can’t decide what Green Day they want to be. They’re so used to being this stadium sized band that they seem locked into writing for that, and it just pulls apart the fundamentals of their influences until they’re tattered and thin. ‘Baby Eyes’ and ‘Lady Cobra’ follow, further reinforce this and then… things get interesting.
Track eleven of the album might be the most insane thing Green Day have ever done, and with ‘Nightlife’ they’ve managed to top the eyebrow raising ‘Kill The DJ’ with barely a hint of fucks being given. The innuendo laden female rapping of ‘Nightlife’ is about as embarrassing as The Offspring’s ‘Cruising California (Bumpin’ in My Trunk)’ travesty, but as with that particular nail in the coffin, it’s probably the most memorable track on the whole album. The backing trawls through a Clash-meets-Blues-meets-hip-hop loop under this-riff-could-be-in-pulp-fiction guitar work, and it’s the song that will wind up long time fans on the album. All things considered, it’s worth having a listen to the album to try and guess what on earth the idea behind ‘Nightlife’ was.
‘Wow! That’s Loud’ returns to the blues-influenced rock of the earlier parts of the album, and it’s one of the tracks that would make a single-album cut of the three. It’s a past-faced Green Day track that’s fast and fun, and though it’s a little long in length and the guitars are ultra-cheesey, nothing really seems off-the-table by this point. ‘Amy’ closes the album, and actually ends up being a touching closer to the record.
Overall, ‘¡Dos!’ is an album of boisterous blues rock numbers that’s bookended by two rather good lo-fi tracks. After some of the strangest moments in Green Day’s history, it’ll leave many wondering what on earth ‘¡Tré!’ will end up like. Honestly worth avoiding unless you fancy an intensive head-scratching session.