Punk rock heroes Green Day return to form on their cleanest record yet—Revolution Radio comes four years after their triad effort, ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré! Ditching gimmicks for this record, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tré Cool are back to doing what they do best: playing off each other, and singing lovelorn music for the kids who want to start a revolution.
You would think that almost thirty years after forming, the band would have trouble accessing the arsenic angst that fueled their debut, Dookie. The political anarchy and serious topics of 21st Century Breakdown, arguably their most mature record, are not gone—in appropriately named "Troubled Times," Armstrong paints a bleak picture of a world where everyone "[runs] for cover / Like a skyscraper's falling down." Despite this, the fun punk-kid antics that made Green Day who they are have returned in full-blast, but balanced out by a newfound maturity that pervades the sonic and the lyric.
Of course, the record is splattered with fast bass, fast guitar, fast percussion, and excruciating, aggressive undertones. They sing to the freedom fighters with righteous fury ("Say Goodbye," "Still Breathing") as much they do to the punk kids looking for a voice and falling in love at rock shows ("Youngblood," heart-wrenching standout track "Outlaws"). This record is as punk in its honesty as it is in its sound; Armstrong sings, "I never learned to read or write so well / But I can play the guitar until it hurts like hell" on epic penultimate track "Forever Now," and it's an outcast's howl from the edge of a world that doesn't understand him. This is a punk rock revival ear-worm for those who forgot what Green Day sounded like when they were having fun.
Nearly every track is fueled by high-octane guitar; it almost feels strange that the record itself is sandwiched by acoustic guitar. Opening track "Somewhere Now" segues neatly into the punk rock sound that dominates the record, and heartfelt ballad "Ordinary World," which closes the record, feels that much more hopeful. After the maelstrom of guitars and mosh pits, this respite bemoans the world we live in, and the extraordinary things that one might not be able to find in it. Armstrong sings, "Baby, I don't have much/but what we have is more than enough," and the rawness bleeds out à la "Wake Me Up When September Ends." An honest close to an honest record, and a testament to a band that's returning to its humor-tinged roots, but with a world-weariness that makes this record that much more delectable.
Revolution Radio is set for release tomorrow (October 7th). Pre-order now on iTunes, and watch the lyric video for "Bang, Bang" below.