GREEN DAY play the Air Canada Centre on January 29. See listing. Rating: NN
At the recent iHeartRadio Festival, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong revealed his punk rock side, launching into an expletive-filled, guitar-smashing rant against the celebration of corporate radio. The next day, the singer apologized and checked into rehab. Seeking treatment for his apparent substance abuse problem is certainly a positive step, but the swiftness of the action reeks of major-label damage control.
Their unfortunately timed new album, ¡Uno! (the first of a planned trilogy), follows the same pattern of making concessions to their slightly riotous past while still appealing to the mainstream. American Idiot (2004) revived Green Day's career, but the critical response to 2009's 21st Century Breakdown suggested that the anti-Bush, pro-rock-opera formula had gone stale.
Now they've revived an older formula: hooky, melodic pop-punk, but without the teenage angst or snotty energy needed for a sense of urgency or relevancy. It comes off like a neutered reprise of the band's decades-old spirit.
Top track: Let Yourself Go