Revolution Radio: The Revolution that failed


Graphic by Ana Bicolli.

On Oct. 7, Green Day released its brand new album: “Revolution Radio.” This work was supposed to take them back to their roots, and away from the big concepts and rock operas that guided them this millennium. “Revolution Radio” instead was supposed to be more politics focused this time around, which would be a perfect backdrop considering this current election. Now the album has finally released, and one question still remains. Does “Revolution Radio” live up to the hype?

The answer is a blatant “no.” While “Revolution Radio” does contain some high points, the mostly boring and forgettable album killed the bands supposed “comeback” before it could even get off the ground.

First off, this is not a “return to their roots” as it has been advertised. All the tracks sound extremely poppy, which is not good for a supposed punk record. There’s only one remotely punk rock song on this entire album: “Bang Bang.” The tracks also seem to form together into what feels like the biggest rehash of the century. Nearly all of the songs feel like they were either stolen off a previous Green Day album or a completely different band. “Say Goodbye” has a nearly identical chord progression to “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” which is a song off of the Green Day album American Idiot. “Somewhere Now” sounds like something The Who would write in the mid-70’s. “Bouncing off the Wall” feels like a mix of the song “Know Your Enemy” and a Hives record. “Troubled Times” sounds like a Panic! At the Disco song, which is the last source any band should be pulling from.

All of this adds up to create an album that feels unoriginal. There are some very interesting musical ideas going on, but none of them get the depth they deserve, which kills nearly any chance of creativity this album could have had.

Another massive issue with the album is just how boring everything is. Every track melts into each other, creating massive black hole of bland forgettable melodies. I have listened to the album multiple times, and I can barely remember which song is which. This isn’t helped by the fact that songs like “Say Goodbye,” “Outlaws,” and “Forever Now” feel like they drag on for an eternity. And boring songs mixed in with overly long songs just creates a recipe for monotony.

This album also drowning in melodrama. Most of the lyrics sound like an angsty 13 year old wrote them in his or her diary one night while they cried about why their parents just don’t understand them. Lyrics like “Are you stranded, like I’m stranded?; Do you want to watch the world fall to pieces?; Are you broken, like I’m broken?” from “Youngblood” and “I’m like a soldier coming home for the first time; I dodged a bullet and I walked across a landmine; Oh, I’m still alive” from “Still Breathing” sound cringy at best. The only blatant political songs from what I can tell were “Bang Bang” and “Forever Now.” This just yet again betrays the original concept of the album (unless I missed the meaning of some of the tracks).

The album isn’t just all lows though. There are several tracks on the album that really stand out. “Bang Bang” is a solid, energetic punk song that carries itself and its political message about recent mass shootings well. The pulsing feel of “Bouncing Off the Wall” also stands out as a major highlight. “Too Dumb to Die” is also a great track, and although it suffers from the same melodrama as the rest of the album, it uses said melodrama extremely well. My favorite track would have to be “Ordinary World,” as its use of stripped down acoustic guitar couple with the emotional delivery of the lyrics allows this song to carry more emotion than the entire rest of the album combined. It is also a fantastic closing track.

Overall, “Revolution Radio” does not live up to its hype. While the album had some excellent high points, those high points just end up buried by the boring, poppy, melodramatic, unoriginal, and very forgettable rest of the album. Green Day failed at giving us a return to its punk roots, and ended up condemning “Revolution Radio” to the worst fate any medium of art can be confronted with: mediocrity. “Revolution Radio” gets 2 out of 5 stars.