The release of Green Day’s newest album ‘Revolution Radio’ was certainly one that had fans holding their breath in anticipation after the failure of their 60’s themed albums ‘¡UNO!’, ‘¡DOS!’, and ‘¡TRÉ!’. The veteran punk rock group released ‘Revolution Radio’ on October 7, 2016 as their first album in four years. It was received with open arms and hungry ears from fans of Green Day and critiques alike. The album is a fantastic throwback to the punk bands roots, sounding like a continuation off of their classic albums such as ‘Dookie’ and ‘Kerplunk’. The album is a nineties themed punk album with lyrics portraying Billie Joe Armstrong’s struggles with addiction and fears of a Trump style future for America. Revolution Radio definitely brings Green Day back to their roots and is both a throwback and a breath of fresh air for all Green Day fans.
Green Day was formed in 1986 as Sweet Children by Billie Joe Armstrong, (lead vocals & guitar) Mike Dirnt, (bassist) and John Kiffmeyer (drums). John stayed with the band and produced one album 39/Sm00th and then in 1990 he began attending Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. At this point in time Billie and Mike recruited Tré Cool as their drummer. Tré has been with them ever since. Green Day has released a total of 13 albums, including ‘Revolution Radio’, over their 31 years of being a band. Out of the 13 albums that Green Day has released 9 have placed within the top 5 on rock charts and it looks like Green Day isn’t planning on stopping with ‘Revolution Radio’ receiving high praise from both critics and fans alike.
‘Revolution Radio’ is similar to Green Day’s first #1 album ‘American Idiot’ as they both talk about politics, war, rebellion and have a 90’s themed punk rock sound. After their 6th album ‘Warning’ Green Day took a small break to write a new album they’d titled ‘Cigarettes and Hand Grenades’ however the master copies of this album were stolen. Instead of going back and rerecording the album Green Day went back to the drawing board. Billie Joe Armstrong had always had a passion to write a Bohemian Rhapsody like album. And so with this in mind Green Day created their first rock opera ‘American Idiot’ which has been portrayed in a Broadway show as well as an unfinished film. When the songs are played in order they tell a story:
American Idiot – The first song on the album is one of two political songs that set the tone and setting of the album. The Iraq war is going on and the media is publicizing it through documentaries with violent images and video clips followed by commercials and other advertisements. The American media has orchestrated mass paranoia and idiocy among the American public.
Jesus of Suburbia – Begins to tell the story of Jesus of Suburbia the first character Green Day introduces in their rock opera. Jesus is an adolescent teen rebel who lives in a small town that battles with love and rage within himself. He is not happy where he lives and believes the big city is where all his dreams will come true. All those close to him he despises so he leaves his town and makes his way to the city. The song has several parts to it that help the story to be told. The songs found within Jesus of Suburbia include:
- Jesus Of Suburbia
- City Of The Damned
- I Don’t Care
- Dearly Beloved
- Tales From Another Broken Home
Holiday – Is Green Day’s second political song on the ‘American Idiot’ album. In an interview Bille Joe Armstrong explained the song as a “F**k you” to George W. Bush and speaks out against his presidency as well as the war in Iraq. The album pokes at the strategies used by the Republican government to isolate a certain community in order to gain votes.
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams – Was written as Jesus’ journey in the big city trying to find where he belongs and where he can make it but being shut down on every chance he takes.
Are We The Waiting – Was written as Jesus’ realization that he doesn’t fit into the big city that he’d hoped would be his new beginning and chance at a good life.
St. Jimmy – Is the second character that Green Day introduces in ‘American Idiot’ he is an alternate personality to Jesus. He is a charismatic, psychotic, instigator, tougher, punk godfather type character which Jesus becomes as a solution to Jesus’ lack of knowledge of the city.
Give Me Novocaine – Is a song about wanting to loose yourself and forget all of life’s problems. It portrays Jesus’ pain and sorrow and want for a release and Jimmy is able to supply him with these means.
She’s A Rebel – We meet the third character in this song who doesn’t have a name other than ‘whatsername’. Jesus relates to this “kindred spirit” and believes that she will be able to give his life its meaning back.
Extraordinary Girl – Shows the strain on the relationship between ‘whatsername’ and Jesus of Suburbia. ‘Whatsername’ is self-confident, feisty and wants the world to notice her while Jesus of Suburbia lacks confidence and is withdrawn from the world. However Jesus is obsessed with ‘Whatsername’ referring to her as “Extraordinary Girl” but at the same time feels horrible as the strain of the relationship is causing ‘Whatsername’ to cry to the point where she is sick of it.
Letterbomb – Is a song about ‘Whatsername’ breaking up with Jesus because he has fallen more into his “St. Jimmy” personality and she does not like that side. She prefers Jesus’ “fight for the city” attitude more than Jimmy’s “It’s not my burden” attitude.
Wake Me Up When September Ends – This song has two separate meanings. It was originally written about Billie’s father who died of cancer September 1st 1982. After the funeral Billie ran home and locked himself in his room, when his mother knocked on the door Billie simply said, “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” However in the ‘American Idiot’ album the song also has the alternate meaning of the sorrow, fear, and anger everyone felt after the September 11th attacks on the twin towers..
Homecoming – Jesus/Jimmy is depressed after ‘Whatsername’ has left him. He decides to leave behind his alternate ego of St Jimmy and fakes his suicide into the bay in “The Death of St. Jimmy”. Jesus ends up a prisoner at a police station, once he gets out he gets a job but realizes that that is not his destiny in “12 East Street”. He stays up late thinking about ‘Whatsername’ until realizing that she’s abandoned him and he falls into depression again in “Nobody Likes You”. Jesus receives a postcard from an old friend whos grown successful in “Rock and Roll Girlfriend” and decides to go home to his mother in “We’re Coming Home Again”.
Whatsername – Is the conclusion to ‘American Idiot’. Jesus has buried all his experiences in the city. All but one that is. He is unable to forget ‘Whatsername’ and all he shared with her. The song is about how Jesus has started a new life back in his hometown and looks back on his life and wonders how his one true love is doing in life.
‘Revolution Radio is a familiar yet brand new sound from Green Day that is sure to make any occasion rock like it’s 1999. With 12 songs full of 44 minutes of classic punk rock Green Day has come back strong yet again with a truly solid album that became an instant classic for all Green Day fans.
Sing Along Value
Grand Total: 7.8
‘Revolution Radio’ is an amazing album bringing back Green Day’s classic, recognizable sound that appeals to fans new and old. The album pulls you in with their lighter in the air, head banging, young rebel song mix and keeps you around with their classic recognizable awesome punk rock sound. ‘Revolution Radio’ has 12 unique songs each with their own unique lyrics. They are not as memorable as some of their other hit songs however each song is able to hold it’s own lyrically. Billie Joe Armstrong has extremely unique and recognizable vocals that no matter how high or low, soft or loud, you can always tie back to the punk rock artist. ‘Revolution Radio’ has decent replay value however the songs are similar to many older songs the band has produced therefore the songs can blend together with older albums creating an illusion of listening to those songs many times before. ‘Revolution Radio’ has lyrics with meaning yet simple enough for those to sing along to. Green Day creates many of their songs with the intention for those to sing along in concerts while creating lyrics with deeper lyrics weather politically, rebellious, or to tell a story. For these reasons I’ve rated Green Day’s 13th album ‘Revolution Radio’ a 7.8.
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