Revolution Radio sees Green Day back on the straight and narrow, a dozen potent tunes encasing the punk attitude with plenty of pop hooks.
The band shakes off a few years in the wilderness, including personal crises and artistic diversions, with a no-frills collection in which they work from a clean slate without losing their collective memory. There’s no overall concept, nothing really innovative, but there’s room for the topical and ample rawness in sounds and feelings.
First single Bang Bang is inhabited by the “semi-automatic lonely boy” who seeks to be a “celebrity martyr,” while Outlaws is a doomed power-cum-murder ballad with a quiet/loud/quiet dynamic like Radiohead’s Creep.
Also making their mark are Bouncing Off the Wall, a bit of anarchy in the USA, Forever Now, which hides a three-part, seven-minute opus behind a much-used title while closing with a reprise of opening track Somewhere Now and Still Breathing, a kind of survival of the least disturbed where a “home that’s for the restless” is about as good as it gets.
There are some echoes of early Clash in the title track, mostly the opening riff, the song title and a few lines like “legalise the truth.” It’s easy to imagine the late Joe Strummer commenting on “the dawn of the new airwaves for the antisocial media,” wondering why kids are checking his boom box for a Bluetooth connection.
Singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong’s most recent New Year’s resolution was “to destroy the phrase ‘pop-punk’ forever.” On Revolution Radio, he and the rest of band fail splendidly.