Dos!

Green Day

Reprise, 2012

http://www.greenday.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/27/2012

After the release of 2000’s Warning, Green Day took a turn for the serious, releasing two album-length arena rock concept albums and seeing one of those get turned into a Broadway show. Having gotten that out of their system, the pop punk trio wanted to return to that late ‘90s sound, the time when bands like Sum 41 and Good Charlotte were trying to make it big by copying the original Green Day sound from Dookie.

To that end, Green Day scales back song length and lyrical complexity on Dos!, opting instead for straight-up garage rock songs about making out, sex, and evil women, all given the hard rock punch that has been the hallmark of every Green Day album since Insomniac. The punk sound of the band’s music has slowly been fading, replaced with a healthy dose of ‘60s rock updated for 2012 – and nobody does it better than these guys.

The sound isn’t entirely out of the blue; the 2008 Foxboro Hot Tubs release Stop Drop And Roll!!! was more or less an homage to the garage bands of that decade, but my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Dos! uses it as one building block to create the sound. This gives the songs variety and sonic depth, from the surf rock of “Lazy Bones” to the updated Who/Kinks stomp of “Makeout Party” to the brief, breathless “Lady Cobra.” A highlight is the acid rock of “Nightlife,” which features rapping from the actual Lady Cobra and showcases a possible new direction for the band once this Uno!/Dos!/Tre! project is completed in December 2012.

Yet Dos! has a dark side, a menacing current running through the lyrics that the listener may not pick up on through the hooks and the party atmosphere. Either Billie Joe Armstrong is creating messed-up characters or he has some issues to work through – and his rehab stint in late 2012 suggests the latter – but some of the lines in the songs go beyond profanity into disturbing.

First, who names a song “Fuck Time?” and includes the lyric “I wanna choke you ‘til you’re blue in the face?” Other sample lines scattered around the disc: “There’s an odor in the air / And I think you look like shit,” “I’ll trade you blood for dirty cash,” “She’s strung out on razors now,” “Kiss me there / You’re so precious / You’re a fucking delinquent,” “I was born to kill,” “Drawing blood and lonely stars / Drinking piss for cheap guitars,” and the drug-addled character described in all of “Ashley.”

All of this could be dismissed as shock value, but the inclusion of “Amy,” a touching tribute to the departed Amy Winehouse, raises all kinds of questions. Is Billie Joe afraid of becoming a drug casualty? Is it a warning that this sort of party-even-if-it-kills-you approach will result in death? Is the narrator tired of the kind of women he’s been meeting at dark clubs and dank alleys, but self-loathing enough to know he can’t do any better?

These sort of lyrical thoughts clutter what would otherwise be a great party rock album, and the bulk of this one doesn't necessarily leave a lasting impression but sounds great as it plays. It's the sound of a longtime band unwinding and playing music just for the hell of it, the opposite of American Idiot or 21st Century Breakdown. Coupled with the lyrics, Dos! ends up being a weird, wild, disturbing, and fun ride, the perfect soundtrack for the sort of party where you don't remember everything and you feel worse about yourself in the morning.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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