At this juncture, Green Day have become diet creme soda—they remain sweet and spunky, but overall their brand pales in comparison to the richer, full-bodied equivalent. ¡Uno!, the first entry in a trilogy of albums from the ’90s punk titans that (for better or worse) mirrors the Kiss solo album debacle of thirty-four years ago, takes its production cues from all those mid-Aughts Killers records and thins out Green Day’s signature stomp to a wafer. With the bombast that served them so well on earlier outings evaporated, these MTV stalwarts barely squeak by on a spate of mellifluous but generally ineffectual mall punk hymns that bounce between the universal subjects of love (“Stay The Night,” “Fell For You”) and bein’ punk as fuck (“Kill The DJ,” “Carpe Diem,” “Nuclear Family”).
It doesn’t help that singer / guitarist Billie Joe Armstong coughs up some of the worst lyrics of his career on ¡Uno!—clouds of malaise circling around him, BJ hits the nail on the head (unknowingly?) in “Rusty James” when he mews “This whiskey sour / amateur hour / raise your glass and toast, my friends / one day we will fight again.” Further evidence of Green Day’s laziness: ¡Uno! and its two follow-ups are meant to represent each member of this famed trio, but for the past thirteen years they’ve been a quartet thanks to the addition of Pinhead Gunpowder guitarist Jason White in 1999. What a shame they’ve Richie Ramoned this guy into what appears to be a permanent independent contractor position.
Then again, if ¡Uno! is indicative of Green Day’s general direction, maybe asking for another album isn’t the smartest idea.
FINAL SCORE: One and a half pints of Billie Joe’s eyeliner (out of four).