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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
So goes Round 2 of Green Day’s explosive punk album trilogy, setting your heart on fire and shredding your pulse. Or at least that’s the goal — a goal triumphantly reached and gaily danced upon in ¡Uno!, released just last September, despite naysayers.
In reviewing ¡Uno!, I touched on the difficulty Green Day faced — having such an impressive arsenal of studio albums under its belt and still making the effort to churn out not one, not two, but three full-length albums of new material. Here, I’m inclined to visit the additional difficulty of stretching the pretty new colors of ¡Uno! across these three plates. The last album, complete with the glowing Nuclear Family and Angel Blue, showed me a side of Green Day I knew I wanted more of.
But there is a fine line between reminiscent and identical. ¡Dos! begins with the quiet strumming of a guitar and modest vocals; nothing enormous, but a largely charming prelude takes form in See You Tonight. This is, in the grand scheme of things, quite new for Green Day, and — despite its miniature scale — a terrific song, but on ¡Dos!, it’s an endangered species. It stands lonely alongside the new single Stray Heart, massively catchy and crazy fun. (These two songs lingered on repeat for a bit before I moved on, a habit with ¡Uno!) The songs in between are essentially punk-flavored gobbledygook, such as Wow! That’s Loud, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Other numbers leave little to no impression, or instead of playing to the strengths of the band’s past successes, merely imitate them. Amy is another gem that keeps the album grounded, a swan song that can hold its liquor. It realizes Green Day’s desired motif of love, very new stuff that at the same time combines the strengths of 21st Century Breakdown and American Idiot in a complicated cocktail.
¡Uno! was indeed a breath of fresh air, but the effect, unfortunately, slowed down rather than accelerated, completely opposite the trilogy’s intention. But maybe ¡Tre! will surprise me.