Green Day – Oh Love
If you’d cornered this writer at Reading Festival in 1995 as he was watching Green Day on the main stage and told him about what lay in store for the band, he would have assumed you were on something. Then they were scrappy outsiders, blasting out sugary punk songs about teen angst and self-abuse. Today they are U2-rivalling, rock opera-writing, enormodome-playing megastars. As transformations go, it’s as unlikely as contemporaries The Offspring’s evolution into this monstrosity, though infinitely more successful.
It seems like Green Day are set on sticking to their ambitious path. Following up back to back punk rock opera concept albums ‘American Idiot’ and ‘21st Century Breakdown’, they’re currently on the verge of releasing ‘Uno’, ‘Dos’ and ‘Tre’, a trilogy of LPs that will be unleashed over the course of four short months. While the new releases are harking back to the bands more stripped down origins, the band insist they’re not interested in repeating themselves.
“People ask me all the time,” front man Billie-Joe Armstrong told Rolling Stone. “Even my son asked me, ‘Dad, would you ever go back to playing songs like from ‘Dookie’ and ‘Kerplunk’?’ I love those records. I love the punk stuff I grew up on. But there are so many bands who make the mistake – ‘We’re going back, old-school.’ Well, that’s all you’re doing. You already did it. So we’re changing the guitar sound. We’re not going with the big Marshall-amp thing. We wanted something punchier, more power pop – somewhere between AC/DC and the early Beatles.”
‘Oh Love’ certainly backs up these intentions. While it’s unmistakeably Green Day, you’d struggle to say it sounded much like any of their early output. It’s a hefty, glossy stomp of a song, all rousing choruses and hearts on sleeves. What it lacks in breakneck pace, it more than makes up for in melodic nous. Recognising how ridiculous it would be for men in their forties to still be singing about how their parents don’t understand them, Green Day are growing old gracefully. If only more bands could follow their example.