This is not how you do it. Pop-punk is definitely not my favorite sub-genre of rock music, but this is a new level. I’m mad. I’ll admit it. To spare you from my invective, I’ll try to keep this relatively succinct. But be warned, I’m probably just gonna jump from point to point on this. I’ve never really been a fan of this band, but I can acknowledge how influential they are, and even that they have a couple of great albums. Problem is, those were released over 20 years ago. I like Insomniac quite a bit, and I even have a little bit of time for Dookie, but other than that, just get this away from me. This album fails on several fundamental levels. Before I get into the content, let me just get something else out of the way. What is up with the production on this? I know it was produced by the band, but given how long they’ve been working with expensive producers, you’d think they would’ve picked up on some of the techniques used to make good sounding rock records. This sounds like it was recorded in Garageband. Seriously. And the mastering. Don’t get me started on the mastering. This is mastered so loud, I have to keep it at under half volume to avoid getting a headache. It’s squashed down to a few dB of dynamic range but mixed so badly that it’s the drums just disappear under everything. Billie Joe sounds like his vocals were recorded in a tin can, and the guitars have no presence and are mixed so low that the rampant harsh cymbal noise just covers them up. This really is unacceptable for a band with the amount of money they have available to them. Get the guy who did the last Neck Deep record. That’s sonically how modern pop-punk should sound. At least it would have some punch.
But punk in general (if you can even call this punk) isn’t known for great production. It’s the songs and energy that count, right? Well, the band that wrote stormers like “Burnout” and “Brain Stew” are nowhere to be found here. The whole thing suffers from that fake immaturity that a lot of these older pop-punk bands suffer from. Don’t get me wrong, this is a group of middle aged men trying to sound like teenagers. The title of the album is Revolution Radio, for godsake. First off, this can’t be the first time that title has been used. It’s exactly the type of title that an aging rock band would choose as a weak attempt to appear relevant, but ends up backfiring by revealing how they don’t really understand the most consistently used form of music delivery today. I don’t mean to sound like I’m criticizing someone simply for being old, but really, you couldn’t come up with some more clever? Second, Green Day couldn’t revolutionize radio at this stage in the game even if there was sufficient radio presence to revolutionize.
Look, you don’t need this. Good pop-punk can be found elsewhere that actually has the energy Green Day have been drained of since 21st Century Breakdown. The second-to-last song here is SEVEN MINUTES LONG. It’s not some winding prog epic either, it’s seven minutes of the same type of chord progression that this band having been stuck on for the last, oh I don’t know, twenty or so years. I’m okay with Green Day being Green Day, what I really don’t like is Green Day trying to be The Who. You’re just not good enough for that. The last song is strangely the most outwardly appealing song. As an acoustic ballad, it’s a nice reprieve from the migraine inducing production the louder songs give us. I don’t wanna sound like a hater, and to be honest, people who like what Green Day do more than I do will probably enjoy this just fine, and that’s perfectly okay, but do you really think anyone would tell you with a straight face that this is going to be remembered anywhere near the way Dookie and American Idiot are? Didn’t think so.
maybe “Ordinary World”?