Music reviews: Green Day, No Doubt
Here is a look at new music out this week.
Green Day “¡Uno!”
Green Day’s 2004 concept album “American Idiot” did a lot to help ensure the band’s relevancy a couple more years. They scrapped their simplistic short bursts of punk approach to instead tell a story as part of a rock opera. The followup, 2009’s “21st Century Breakdown,” also was given the concept album treatment as it concentrated on Billie Joe Armstrong’s take on religion. At this point, it’s hard to judge what concept, if any, is being used for “¡Uno!” This is the first release in a trilogy of Green Day albums. “¡Dos!” comes out Nov. 13 and “¡Tré!” is due Jan. 15. A box set featuring all three albums (each delivered on its release date), a DVD, Green Day merchandise and more is already available to pre-order on the band’s website. “¡Uno!” is, at times, a dark album masked by upbeat punk songs. Songs such as “Angel Blue” and “Loss of Control” lack musical depth as the band falls back on its sound from the days of “Dookie.” While they may have reemployed a more simplistic approach, the lyrics are a little more complex this time around. And it might seem as though Armstrong’s recent onstage outburst and subsequent rehab stint might have been brewing for some time. “I’m a nuclear bomb and it won’t be long before I detonate,” he sings on “Nuclear Family.” Maybe it was just a coincidence he wrote that song for this album. Maybe not. Either way, “¡Uno!” has Green Day sounding like the earlier version of itself. That is until you get to the last song, “Oh Love,” which lacks the punk aesthetic found through the rest of the album. The five-minute song is more alternative rock than anything else and probably goes on a little too long. Is this a tease to what the album to be released in November will sound like? While “¡Uno!” may not be a concept album, it may be part of a concept album package when put with the two forthcoming releases. But we’re going to have to wait until January to hear the entire story.
No Doubt "Push and Shove"
What’s old is new again ... Well, kind of. On “Push and Shove,” No Doubt’s first studio album of new material since 2001, the band struggles to keep its identity while embracing more up-to-date sounds.
The title track alone pits dance hall reggae (something heard in small doses on past No Doubt albums) against dance club beats. In the end, nobody really wins as the song doesn’t do either style justice.
The song could be looked at as a microcosm of the entire album. No Doubt does a lot of good things on “Push and Shove,” it’s just that they don’t seem to do any of them exceptionally well. “Settle Down,” the album’s first single, is a pop song that features a reggae vibe. It’s also the best song on this release. It has the fun factor found in my many of No Doubt’s hits. Unfortunately, that fun factor is lost other places on this album. While “Gravity” and “Heaven” are both somewhat poppy songs, they lack the punch to make them standout hits. “Push and Shove” might show the logical sound progression the band was headed toward after “Rock Steady.” Gwen Stefani is 42 now. This is a grownup No Doubt, which means a dialed-down No Doubt. You can’t expect a band to stay young forever, but the leap into adulthood shouldn’t be this drastic.
Out this week: As I Lay Dying, “Awakened”; Joe Bonamassa, “Beacon Theatre: Live From New York”; Vikki Carr, “Viva La Vida”; Caspian, “Waking Season”; The Chevin, “Borderland” Chris Cohen, “Overgrown Path”; Shemekia Copeland, “33⅓”; Daddy, “MotorCity”; deadmau5, “>album title goes here<”; Deacon Blue, “The Hipsters”; Billy Dean, “A Man of Good Fortune”; Mike Dillon, “Urn”; Dokken, “Broken Bones”; Dragonette, “Bodyparts”; Dum Dum Girls, “End of Daze”; Kurt Elling, “1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project”; Engel, “Blood of Saints”; Lupe Fiasco, “Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1”; Frightened Rabbit, “State Hospital”; Heather Headley, “Only One in the World”; John Hiatt, “Mystic Pinball”; The HillBenders, “Can You Hear Me?”; Lucy Kaplansky, “Reunion”; Lavender Diamond, “Incorruptible Heart”; Bettye LaVette, “Thankful N’ Thoughtful”; George Lopez, “It’s Not Me, It’s You”; Rachael MacFarlane, “Hayley Sings”; Michael McDermott, “Hit Me Back”; Medeski Martin & Wood, “Free Magic”; Mumford & Sons, “Babel”; Murder By Death, “Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon”; Yoko Ono, Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, “YOKOKIMTHURSTON”; The Outlaws, “It’s About Pride”; Ozomatli, “Ozomatli Presents OzoKidz”; Preservation Hall Jazz Band, “St. Peter & 57th St.”; Lee Ritenour, “Rhythm Sessions”; Richie Sambora, “Aftermath of the Lowdown”; Alejandro Sanz, “La Musica No Se Toca”; Pete Seeger, “A More Perfect Union”; Ricky Skaggs, “Music to My Ears”; Angie Stone, “Rich Girl”; and Therapy?, “A Brief Crack of Light.”
Out Oct. 2: Tori Amos, “Gold Dust”; DJ Drama, “Quality Street Music”; Flying Lotus, “Until the Quiet Comes”; Heart, “Fanatic”; The Hood Internet, “Feat”; Diana Krall, “Glad Rag Doll”; Cher Lloyd, “Sticks & Stones”; Matt and Kim, “Lightning”; Miguel, “Kaleidoscope Dream”; Van Morrison, “Born to Sing: No Plan B”; The Mountain Goats, “Transcendental Youth”; Muse, “The 2nd Law”; Jerrod Niemann, “Free the Music”; Beth Orton, “Sugaring Season”; Papa Roach, “The Connection”; Tristan Prettyman, “Cedar + Gold”; Blake Shelton, “Cheers, It’s Christmas”; Jeffree Star, “Mr. Diva”; Three Days Grace, “Transit of Venus”; The Tragically Hip, “Now For Plan A”; The Vaccines, “The Vaccines Come of Age.”
NOTE: Look for Make It POP music reviews in the Northwest Herald's new PlanIt Play section, set to debut Oct. 4.