¡Uno!, the album Green Day released just a couple of months ago, was no masterpiece but it was an energetic slice of throwaway fun and a welcome reprieve from the band’s increasingly po-faced ‘rock operas’.
Yet, as the first part of a new trilogy of albums from the band, it also raised a lot of questions. Would it be the best or the worst of the bunch? Would the next two instalments be more of the same or would they be something totally different? Would ¡Dos! and ¡Tre! build upon it in some way or would all three albums stand apart?
Today it’s the one question nobody thought to ask that is perhaps the most important: would Green Day survive to see their project completed? Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s erratic stage behaviour and subsequent trip to rehab for substance abuse has suddenly cast ¡Dos! in a new light and fans will no doubt be listening intently to see if they can discern exactly what went wrong.
Truth told, ¡Dos! doesn’t provide much in the way of answers. Yes, there are occasional flashes of lyrical paranoia and aggression, but by and large it’s very much a continuation of the same breezy pop-punk that populated their prior release. There’s perhaps a little more variety here, including diversions into rockabilly and rap of all things, but also a great deal more mediocrity. Not every track on ¡Uno! was a winner but they all blazed by with such urgency that the lesser tracks were barely noticeable. On ¡Dos! however, leaden pacing draws unfortunate attention to the fact that a lot of the songs on it just aren’t very good.
While ¡Uno! offered a bona fide Green Day classic in Stay The Night and half a dozen rock-solid tracks that would fit seamlessly into any Green Day playlist, ¡Dos! contains misfire after misfire. Sure, ¡Uno!’s slightly awkward indie/dance detour Kill The DJ might have split opinion, but compared to the baffling rap of Nightlife it’s an unqualified success. To be fair, Lazy Bones and Stray Heart are pretty good continuations of the bittersweet nostalgia found on ¡Uno!’s Sweet 16 and Amy is a surprisingly endearing ballad. But these are exceptions to the rule and most of the music surrounding them is forgettable or worse, regrettable.
If ¡Uno! felt a little lightweight it at least came with the promise of greater things to come. Unfortunately ¡Dos! comes with the realisation that Green Day’s best might just be behind them. Here’s hoping they’ve been saving their best ‘till last because otherwise things don’t bode well for ¡Tre! – or Green Day – at all.