It is not common for a band to end an entire genre. To achieve that, the band would need to start a movement. That is exactly what Green Day has come out to do. Regardless of whether an actual revolution against pop-punk will start, Green Day has proven why they are one of the top players in the punk genre with their first release in four years, “Revolution Radio.”
For California-based Green Day, it has been a long and complicated 30-year career up until this point, filled with multiple rises and falls, a hiatus here and there and countless amounts of controversy. Green Day, which currently consist of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool, has been the face of the punk genre for years. Leading the way in almost stereotypical fashion, the band has proven to be somewhat hit and miss with commercial success. It wasn’t until they released “American Idiot” in 2004 that the band cemented themselves at the forefront of a genre. Now, after the recent success of pop-punk and three less than stellar albums, Green Day is back and trying to be different than the rest in “Revolution Radio.”
“Revolution Radio” is the band’s 12th studio album. It is a 12 track record that clocks out to be around 45 minutes long. From front to back, this record provides listeners variety. It is never the same old song or something you feel like you have heard before. Each track does a great job of standing out from the rest to the point where nothing seems repeated. The main thing to take away from this record is that it is defined as somewhere between punk-rock and pop-punk, but really, Green Day is trying their hardest to avoid the latter. This record falls into a weird complicated world, and it’s good.
Musically, we see the band go back to the basics with “Revolution Radio,” which is probably the best thing they could do. This is a record doesn’t necessarily have a gimmick like “American Idiot” and isn’t totally serious either. This allows for a lot more freedom in their songs. Whether that be for the more upbeat and fast paced tracks like “Bang Bang” and “Young Blood” or for the slower tempo tracks like “Forever Now” and “Outlaws,” the latter of which is best described as this records version of “21 Guns.” It’s a power ballad that rests heavily on Armstrong’s vocals with a little chord progression on acoustics to back him up. Overall, from a music stand point, it is one of the strongest tracks on the entire record.
Lyrically, the best way to put it is that there is no direction with “Revolution Radio.” Instead, we see Green Day turn the pen towards the punk culture of the 21st century and reflect on themselves as a band and injustice.
Green Day isn’t afraid with this record to talk more about themselves, and we see this with tracks like “Still Breathing” and “Too Dumb to Die.” Both of which are tracks that look back at the band’s now three-decade long career and some of Armstrong’s difficulties with life. While there are tracks that turn to face both social and political issues like “Bouncing Off the Wall” or even “Say Goodbye,” both are trying to cover more contemporary issues of the modern age, which granted we haven’t seen much of the pop-punk genre try to do.
As for the overall songwriting, Green Day has always excelled at their subject matter, which puts them above the rest in a genre that is less about the lyrics. As for actually starting a revolution against pop-punk, I don’t think they are anywhere close.
Final Score: 4.5/5
Starting a movement is never easy, especially against a genre that for the most part isn’t broken and is commercially doing pretty well. Despite all of that, however, Green Day has managed to release one of the strongest records of the year and one of the strongest punk records in years. This is a must have for anyone. While the revolution might not have started, “Revolution Radio” is still both pop-punk and is also not pop-punk.