Release Date: Nov 13, 2012
Record label: Reprise
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Punk Revival, Punk-Pop
Considering frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s recent rehab stint, the hedonistic vibe on ¡Dos!, the second in a trilogy, may feel ill-timed. But scratch the party-till-you-puke surface and there’s plenty of minor-key darkness lurking below, as in the bleary-eyed ”Lazy Bones” and the lounge- lizard groove propping up ”Nightlife.” This debauched evening draws to a close with Armstrong’s teary Amy Winehouse tribute ”Amy” — now a meta-commentary on the sad consequences of a breakneck lifestyle. B+ Lazy BonesAmyBaby Eyes .
In the two months since Green Day released ¡Uno!, the first part of a trio of new albums, it’s fair to say things have changed a little. Following Billy Joe Armstrong’s spectacular fall from the wagon and subsequent treatment for 'non-specific substance addiction', it’s tempting to rewrite the narrative of the trilogy as autobiographical, with ¡Uno!’s power-pop party vibe and breathless teenage recklessness as a self-fulfilled prophecy, showcasing a man living too fast and holding on dearly to the misadventures of youth. Now we have the follow up, ¡Dos! peering into the dark side of that life, with tales of burn outs, stray hearts and, er, Amy Winehouse set to a speed-freak’s garage rock n’ roll soundtrack.
So much for a celebratory record launch. In the aftermath of Billie Joe Armstrong’s much-publicized tirade in the middle of his band’s performance at the iHeartRadio Festival in September and his subsequent admission to rehab for substance abuse, it can be easy to forget that there are two more LPs left to go in Green Day’s in-progress rapid-fire album slate. Promotional efforts have been postponed and tour dates have been canceled for the rest of 2012, yet new singles are still hitting with regularity, and the release date for the concluding installment ¡Tre! has even been pushed forward a month from January 2013 to December.
In spite of the hoopla surrounding Billie Joe Armstrong's onstage meltdown and subsequent rehab treatment, Green Day's plan to release three albums in under a year continues unabated. ¡Dos!, the aptly named second part of the trilogy, is relieved of the weight of expectation and, though it was recorded at the same time as the first, sounds less strained. The band has dedicated most of the last decade to writing rock operas, and the trilogy marks their return to breezy, hooky pop-punk, a style that sounded forced on ¡Uno! But having to fill 120 minutes over three instalments means they've left behind conceptual put-ons and unnecessary frills.
The second entry in Green Day’s new trilogy has been billed as the band’s homage to garage rock. Stylistically, that makes for enough of a variation from the preceding Uno, a throwback to the band’s pop-punk output from the early ‘90s, to give the album a distinct vibe of its own. Dos‘s best tracks embrace a hedonistic spirit, and that sleaziness is reflected in arrangements that are as ragged and dirty as anything Green Day has recorded since going all high-concept.
“I’m too sick to throw up,” sings Billie Joe Armstrong on “Lazy Bones,” a hard-hitting gem on Green Day’s 10th studio album. “Everyone keeps talking, and they can’t shut the fuck up.” More-so than Uno!, the first of the band’s 2012 trilogy, Dos! bears the strain of a man—and a songwriter—crying out for help. In light of Armstrong’s current bout with alcoholism (and the band’s subsequent tour cancellation), lyrics like these take on a stirring, uncomfortable new slant.
Part two of Green Day's album triptych finds them flailing ever further from the pop nous that has underscored their finest moments, as they plod through a set that's oddly leaden and largely witless. The likes of Fuck Time (yes, really) and Baby Eyes sound like a band desperate to recapture their adolescence, whether in the trying-too-hard swearing throughout or the one-dimensional riffing – neither of which is very becoming for men in their 40s. It isn't a total write-off: Ashley at least has an infectious urgency; Amy is a surprisingly poignant tribute to Ms Winehouse.
Review Summary: Strike twoDespite the odds, Green Day managed to defy expectations with September’s ¡Uno!. Indeed, as a consequence, they were lowered so far that even Billie Joe Armstrong was head height to them. With its terrible lyrics, uninspired and generic music and general sense of boredom, the only positive to glean from the wreckage was at least it couldn’t get worse.
Why does Green Day always make things so difficult for themselves? Since their mainstream breakthrough with 1994’s Dookie, and especially following 2004’s commercial juggernaut American Idiot, the Bay Area trio has raised the bar higher and higher. It’s as if they’re burning through a game of Rock Band — which, incidentally, they’ve commissioned for themselves – attempting to unlock these space-bound career levels that are essentially nonexistent. What started out as the Little Punk Band That Could has transformed into The Modern Rock Band That Felt The Need to Do Everything.
As I’ve alluded in previous reviews, my taste for music didn’t really begin until I was about 12 years old-- and interestingly enough, Green Day was the group that started it all. For a great deal of my youth, Green Day was one of the few bands that really spoke to me. As ineloquent as their lyrics are, they were still the perfect match for my geeky, suburban, preteen angst.
Two days after the release of ¡Uno!, the first installment of an ambitious punk-pop trilogy from Green Day, Billie Joe Armstrong checked into rehab for various substance problems, problems that reached a head during an on-stage meltdown at a radio festival the weekend prior to the album's release. Needless to say, the band's complicated plans for 2012 and 2013 were adjusted, with the supporting tour scrapped and the concluding LP ¡Tré! moved up from January to December. Amidst the chaos, the one thing unaffected was ¡Dos!, which appeared according to schedule in November of 2012.
With ¡Uno!, Green Day reminded the world that despite two albums' worth of rock operas, they can still be a pretty kick-ass punk band when they want to. With ¡Dos!, Green Day are more focused on going back in time past their punk-rock roots into the world of garage rock, with elements of everyone from the Stooges to the Monkees showing up throughout its 13 tracks (not to mention many of the "return of the rock" class of the early 2000s such as the Hives, the Strokes and the White Stripes). Now, you might say to yourself, "Didn't Green Day already sort of do this with Foxboro Hot Tubs?" And the answer to that is, "Yes, they did, but ¡Dos! is way, way, way better than that record.
“¡Dos!,” the second installment in Green Day’s post-Broadway trilogy, is a quick clip of brazen rock ’n’ pop with tender tunes — “See You Tonight” and “Amy” — sandwiching snotty mayhem. Green Day emulates early Who on the sizzling “Makeout Party” and uses Cheap Trick’s bubblegum hooks to haul up “Stop When the Red Lights Flash.” The malaise of the trio’s own greener days resurfaces on “Lazy Bones,” yet in darker, more measured form. “¡Dos!” is as unbridled as the band’s concept albums were orderly.
Middling-to-fair central act of seminal pop-punks’ 2012 album trilogy. Alistair Lawrence 2012 A common verdict returned on a multi-volume set from any artist is that a single album’s worth of truly great material can be plucked from its composite parts. With this series’ final instalment, ¡Tre!, due in December (2012), time will tell if that’s true in Green Day’s case.