After the relatively disappointing 21st Century Breakdown which, despite being an ok enough album in itself, didn’t quite have the impact that American Idiot did, Green Day decided to release not one but three albums in a row, the first one of which was ¡Uno!.
It could have gone either way.
The ambition could have either paid off or been kinda like when The Red Hot Chili Peppers released Stadium Arcadium: a mostly bloated and somewhat repetitive outing.
Luckily, the band’s album trilogy boasted enough really strong material and enough sharp bursts of energy to make it work. Oh sure it wasn’t all completely memorable and the best stuff could have easily been regrouped into two albums but even the lesser tracks were pretty good so why waste them?
On that note, let’s take a closer look at ¡Uno!.
The album opens with a very Green Day song, “Nuclear Family”, which is energetic, catchy, full of brilliantly timed breaks and F bombs: it’s unmistakably theirs with added foul-mouthed attitude (always a plus). “Stay The Night”, the second song, is just as catchy and enjoyable but much sweeter. Like “Sweet 16” and “Oh Love”, the first released single for the album, it’s a love song which avoids any sort of cheese by being genuinely heartfelt. “Sweet 16” boasts a pretty melody while “Oh Love” begins very slow, eventually building up to a really effective, memorable, hymn-like chorus.
The melodically varied “Fell For You” is also a love song but with added swagger and irony. I mean, the song opens with Billie Joe singing about sweating so much he thought he “pissed the bed” and builds up to a rather adorable chorus.
Another single was “Kill The DJ”, the fifth track on the album, and it’s quite probably the closest the band has come to a dance song. It’s blindingly simple but genius in its own way: its harsh, double-minded lyrics are irresistible and help create a strange vibe of mean-spirited partying. An instant classic anthem for the band.
There are also punkier tracks on the album like “Let Yourself Go”, a fun, upbeat, catchy, rebellious little song which brings some welcome attitude to the table without being too angsty and “Loss Of Control”, an entertaining, moodier song with more of an emo feel to it. The latter’s not too memorable, unfortunately.
“Carpe Diem” is essentially a battle song which means that it gets a little repetitive but in a good way. It’s a riot and boasts a cool chorus. As for “Troublemaker”, the song has a really fun opening reminiscent of The Hives almost but, as a whole, it’s mostly forgettable. It’s still definitely worth a listen, though, if only for the instantly likeable, different beat. Another track that’s more about the ride than it is about a catchy chorus is the speedy “Angel Blue”, which is fun while it lasts but which doesn’t exactly stand out either.
Finally, we have “Rusty James”. Again, not the catchiest tune in the bunch but another entertaining effort. This one actually feels a bit like a drinking song. It has that kind of camaraderie feel to it.
While maybe not a life-changing compilation, ¡Uno! is still a terrific Green Day album and the start of a very solid trilogy. There’s never a dull moment listening to it and it contains a handful of gems that fans should go nuts for.
If you’re not into Green Day, though, this isn’t the album that will sway you. It’s very much in tune with what they’ve been doing since 2004 and is only experimental in very short bursts.
Still, as a whole it’s good enough to warrant 4 Teary Punks out of 5.