By Caroline Meister
2016 has been the year of comebacks, at least as far as pop punk is concerned. Green Day is no exception to this rule. In the span of a few months, they’ve announced a new studio album (Revolution Radio), announced a new tour, and have released two singles. Although I am delighted that the iconic punk band is back, I have to wonder: has their sound withheld the test of time? Their last album was Uno, Dos, and Tré in 2012, and one could argue it was not their best effort, especially after following hits like American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. Blink-182 successfully upheld their status as pop punk kings with the July release of California and an epic summer tour. Can Green Day do the same? The answer is a tentative maybe, at least in my opinion.
After sampling the two singles, “Bang, Bang” and “Still Breathing”, I’m not exactly sure what the album will look like. “Bang, Bang,” an anthem advocating gun control, is so familiar that I feel like I grew up with it despite only it having only come out a few weeks ago. It’s classic Green Day, making me realize how much I missed the distinct crooning of Billie Joe Armstrong. However, it also sounded like every other Green Day song in the past; some familiarity is good, but too much will cause a band to die off.
“Still Breathing” restored my faith a little bit. This one is much slower paced but more stripped down than most typical Green Day ballads (see “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”). Billie’s voice sounds clear, pure, and subdued, a distinct contrast to his normal snarly, harsh, and judgmental tone. Even the title of the upcoming album reeks of typical Green Day, a band that has always striven to revolt against social norms. That’s not a bad thing at all; I just feel like they’re stuck in a stereotype of themselves. At least that’s what it seems like.
Revolution Radio could be one of two things: a beautiful mash-up of classic Green Day with “new” Green Day, or just another Green Day album. Neither one would be bad necessarily, but I would appreciate the mash-up version better. Of course, this is all simply speculation as the album has not been released yet and two singles is not really enough information to base anything off of. However, the band’s comeback is not off to a great start. That they have already had to cancel three dates due to illness, while understandable, isn’t exactly a great omen.
In the end though, all that really matters is that Green Day is back. My childhood heroes are still fighting. Welcome back, Green Day! Please fight the good fight for a little longer.