By Loren Smith | Staff Writer
After nearly four years since their last set of albums, Green Day has returned with a new, politically scathing track of songs. Their self-produced album, “Revolution Radio,” which released on Oct. 7, is filled with dark overtones of the current political situation in America and is spot-on in addressing it.
The album opens with “Somewhere Now,” an acoustic ballad which quickly transitions into the recognizable rock sound that Green Day has become known for over the years. This song acts as an introduction for the album, establishing many of the political and social issues, such as police brutality and gun violence, that the rest of the songs will pursue.
“Bang Bang,” the album’s lead single, follows as the second track. The distorted sounds of newscasts about recent gun violence incidents prelude the actual start of the song, which is the fastest and arguably darkest song on “Revolution Radio.” The band’s lyricist and singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, told Rolling Stone that he tried to get inside the head of a mass-shooter when writing this song.
“Outlaws,” goes back and forth between slow, sweet-sounding verses and intensely loud choruses. This juxtaposition makes for one of the album’s strongest and best tracks. The song is basically the band looking back at its youth and wondering how it got to where it is now, even with all that has changed in the world since they were teenagers.
One of the album’s singles, “Still Breathing,” acts as a sort of transition into songs that are a bit more personal to the band and are less concerned with political issues. Armstrong told Rolling Stone that this song originated from his past substance-abuse issues, but is more universal than personal. With an ironically optimistic sound, this song could apply to anyone going through tough times.
The next two songs, “Youngblood” and “Too Dumb to Die,” are similar with a youthful, upbeat tone. The former is a love song that, according to Rolling Stone, Armstrong wrote about his wife of 22 years. The latter is reflective and more self-deprecating than any of the other songs on the album, and focuses on believing in a cause that may turn out to not be as important as you originally thought it would be.
“Troubled Times” slightly reflects the grungy sound of the album’s fourth track, “Say Goodbye,” but the message of this song is pretty self-explanatory. It starts by asking, “What good is love and peace on Earth when it’s exclusive?” and goes on to discuss the thoughts one might have when their country is on the verge of so many potential disasters from various sources.
Clocking in at nearly seven minutes, “Forever Now” is this album’s rock-opera song that nearly all of the band’s albums have contained since 2004’s “American Idiot.” Its sound changes about every 30 seconds, but its theme stays both personal and political with lyrics like, “If this is what you call the good life / I want a better way to die.”
The completely acoustic “Ordinary World” closes out the album. A song about living an ordinary life may be the last thing you’d expect to hear from a group of rockstars and is probably a bit hypothetical, but this track sums up the personal-political theme of the album in a calming and relatable way.
“Revolution Radio” will take you on an enticing journey from start to finish, making it safe to say that Green Day have delivered both lyrically and musically once again. The album is available now, and is definitely worth listening to, especially while trying to sort out all of the political craziness going on currently.