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Green Day's "Uno" Reviewed

You can't love rock and roll with all your heart and not suffer from arrested development but if you either get past or embrace the willful childishness of the entire album Uno, from one end to (nearly, I still loath "Oh Love"), this is one tight, smart, hard rocking album, with no ambitions, no themes no Who wanna being, no nothing: just 40 year old teenagers rocking like a motherfucker.
The first four songs are just unreal. "Nuclear family" I've written about many times, but the third song, "Carpe Diem", unbelievably enough, lives up to its cliché. It sounds likeGreen Day covering early Green Day covering the Buzzcocks playing the Clash's Give 'Em Enough Rope. It is, in its own way, nearly insanely catchy and, here is something Billie Joe is doing all the way through this album, it acknowledges their age while thumbing their noses at it.
"Kill The DJ" isn't :Hang The DJ" but it isn't terrible and along with a ballad here and there, and the terrible "Oh Love', it is the only mistake on the album. A coupla tracks later, Green Day offer one of their best songs as a late album track, # 8 of 12, when you should be ready for a pleasant snooze.  And the next one, "Sweet 16" lives up its name as well, "Old days are fine but are left so far behind , from California to Jane Street . Kids alright, alright as they'll ever be…"
The lyrics here zig zag between love, errant discontent and aging and right in the middle is Billie Joe. With Billie Joe off to rehab for his sins, I might repeat that ever since I read the Rolling Stone interview where Billie Joe chased a car down sunset and beat on a passenger who claimed Green Day sucked. really, they don't suck. The two political soap operas prior to Uno were pretty good (the only good thing about the Broadway Musical was the music), they're are great live.  Mike Dirnt and Tres Cool are as good as rhythm section as you will find anywhere, much more than the four on the floor hard nose battering ram they mostly play on this album, but when you want two guys to bring your songs home, they can do it alright.
As for Billie Joe, he is a true rock and roll neurotic. A total headcase. And a genuine hard guy. but he is a really good songwriter and seems to write melodies in his sleep. But he is oddly unlikable… I mean some people really hate him and it has something to do with the smeared eye make up, bleached blondie adolescent who isn't. He is like the killer in Nick Roeg's "Don't Look Now", at first you scared he is a scared child running around, and then the child turns round and you realizes it is a vicious dwarf and he is stabbing you with a knife. Billie Joe appears to be a harmless everyman punk rocker, like you expect him to hanging around backstage getting tips from the ghost of St. Joe, but, instead, there is a hardboiled disenchantment about the man. I am not surprised Billie Joe is in rehab, I wouldn't be surprised if he killed himself or someone else for that matter.
On Uno, the first of a three album set, the other two be released November and January, Green Day have simplified and return to their roots and their roots are hard rock punk power pop. To claim they are too old for this is to miss the point. We are all too old for this, so what?
Grade: A-

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