Green Day comes around with “BANG BANG!”
Deceptively simple-sounding riffs and lyrics permeate every Green Day song. I say “deceptively” because when you listen closely, you discover that these seemingly silly songs about masturbation, stinky breath, nice guys who finish last, and American idiots are actually just as insightful in their own way, similarly to the absurdist writings of Camus, Kafka, and Vonnegut. They are perfect little slices of life’s representations of the politics, people, and predicaments that make up the absurdity of contemporary America. Green Day are not infallible poetic juggernauts of pop punk though. They do stumble, albeit rarely, as was evidenced with their three-album experiment ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! The lack of a supporting tour for the albums didn’t help matters, and the albums were met with mixed critical and commercial success and praise. Now the guys are back and ready to recapture the insightful irony that was always bubbling under the surface of their music; it started to break out with 2000’s Warning and took center stage with 2004’s American Idiot. October 7th sees the release of Revolution Radio and lead single “BANG BANG!” is just about everything that we’ve come to expect from a mature Green Day; a Green Day that has learned how to smartly (and snarkily) play the trickster God of punk rock and roll to perfection by fooling us into some deep thinking with their simple-sounding songs that are, in reality, anything but elementary.
As relayed in a recent Rolling Stone cover story about the return of the band, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool (now in or approaching their mid-40s) are re-energized after their first ever hiatus as a band. Armstrong had alcohol addiction issues to deal with and Dirt’s wife recently survived a battle with breast cancer. Life comes at you fast, even for rock n’ roll punks, but the bounce-back is always vitally important, whether you are a rocker or an average Joe. “BANG BANG!” is the sound of a band of individuals getting back to what they are best at: rocking the fuck out. While the song, as mentioned, is rife with irony and commentary and may appear controversial (it takes on the perspective of a potential mass shooter-type personality), the album itself doesn’t appear to be a concept album in the vein of American Idiot or 21st Century Breakdown. It’s more so the old Green Day style, wink-wink, nod-nod, type of lyrically-multilayered song and, apparently, the album will be too. That’s great news for fans of Green Day and great punk rock in the vein of their masterpiece albums Insomniac and Nimrod. Grand statements are a great thing, especially when they are as artistically relevant as American Idiot is, but often times they stand on their own and don’t need to be re-stated (or rehashed) again and again. Similarly, sometimes a return to an older form, with a little tweaking, is just what is needed to rekindle the passion, and Green Day is looking to be quite stoked again about rockin’ out from the sounds of “BANG BANG!”
Reprise Records will release Revolution Radio on October 7th.