tb-two* photo galleries
Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
By MAX ASAYESH-BROWN, St. Petersburg High
Grade: *****, 5/5 asterisks
Straightaway I will admit that not only have I been excitedly anticipating Green Day’s album trilogy (¡Dos! and ¡Tre! are to be released by January), but also that the Oakland, Calif.-born punk trio has been my favorite band since third grade. However, I do not consider myself biased or obligated to give ¡Uno! a glowing review. The fact that it deserves one is merely a happy coincidence.
As the anomalous frontman Billie Joe Armstrong furiously vocalized at the I Heart Radio music festival in Las Vegas not long ago, Green Day, arguably pioneers of the punk genre, have been around since “f---ing 1980 f---ing eight”. I touch upon this not to laugh in the face of the man’s substance abuse issue; the truth is that with eight albums already in circulation, including the modern classic rock opera American Idiot, many would expect them to have run out of ideas. And ¡Uno! is not perfect — Let Yourself Go, short and sweet and colored by passionately angry simplicity, still mimics the beats of American Idiot in between catchy lyrics.
But Nuclear Family opens the album with an exception to the rule. It nods at some of their older stuff and has the chromatic speed that soaks most of their most popular songs, but it’s not underscored by an intense political message. Quick and plainly fun, Billie Joe’s croons of “Gonna ride the world like a merry-go-round” are not radically dissimilar from International Superhits!
Carpe Diem is a bird of the same feather, with prominent guitar and bass riffs that offer listeners something new while still playing to the strengths of older hits. Other songs such as Kill the DJ and aforementioned Let Yourself Go are stormier, with devil-may-care substance and indifference. These are songs that smile as they kill. The final track — Oh Love — Armstrong tells us, is a precursor to the upcoming albums, whose prime intention is to accelerate your heartbeat.
No, a man in his mid 40s is not where your mind immediately jumps when you think punk rock. But like many drive-through lines, age is not going backward, and should not serve as a wet blanket to an artist’s creativity. At least, not when they still manage to crank out great new music without cheapening their younger successes.