Green Day drops new single, "Bang Bang"

As green day closes in on their thirtieth birthday, “Bang Bang” opens the floor for their thirteenth album, revolution radio. At first listen, it is a typical Green Day song—immediately, almost instinctively catchy. What stands out most, though, is its introduction; the song begins with quick excerpts from an apparent TV or radio news broadcast, reminiscent of the opening of “East Jesus Nowhere” off 21st Century Breakdown.Though Green Day experimented with their ¡Uno!-¡Dos!-¡Tré! trilogy in 2012, Breakdown was their last fully-formed studio album, a daring if divisive follow-up to the iconic American Idiot.

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If “Bang Bang” is to be taken at face value, it seems to herald Revolution Radio as the completion of a conceptual trilogy that began back in 2004 with American Idiot. Several thematic elements from both albums—generational angst, cynical views of patriotism, and anti-war sentiments for example—resonate loud and clear in “Bang Bang.” Sonically, however, the single fits in much more easily with the ¡Uno!-¡Dos!-¡Tré! The lead single suggests that the album will be a continuation of the thematic (and even narrative) threads woven in American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, rejuvenated by the punchier, edgier sounds of ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré!

Punk Rock Opera

When American Idiot debuted in 2004, nobody expected its level of success.

Green Day were has-beens: too old and washed-up to still be making punk music. But Idiot proved the detractors wrong, and currently stands as their most popular (and arguably greatest) album. A deeply personal, powerful punk-rock-opera that drew on the band’s personal experiences as much as it did the musical influence of masterpieces from Quadrophenia to Jesus Christ Superstar, the album was an explosive hit.

The album dealt with themes and subject matter that Green Day had explored before, like disillusionment and rebellion, while also addressing less familiar (and more topical) concepts. Green Day was now overtly political and deeply disenchanted with the state of their country, and the album is most often associated with the general anti-Bush administration attitude of the early 2000s.

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The spiritual successor to American Idiot is even more expansive, more ambitious, and more explicit in its cynicism. The album expounds on many of the concepts introduced in its predecessor, using heavier sounds and more vitriolic lyrics to get the point across—creating the impression that these issues were slowly boiling in the band’s mind from 2004 to 2009.

But in 2012, Green Day ventured away from the concept album and the punk-rock opera to experiment with different sonic elements and new forms of lyrical expression.

The Spanish Trilogy represents three chunks of songs grouped not by theme or tone, but by style. Each hearkens back to the band’s sonic roots, and each forges a new path forward as the band plays with new sounds.

Looking forward to Revolution Radio

Now Green Day’s newest single, “Bang Bang,” is the synthesis of all the musical stylings explored throughout that trilogy. It has the punchiness and high-octane feel of ¡Uno!, the garage-rock emotionality of ¡Dos!, and the heavy swing of ¡Tré!. But most importantly, the lyrics hint that this new, revitalized sound will be employed by Green Day to explore familiar subjects.

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The lyrics, tackling the issue of cultural depictions and reactions to violence—especially in the mass media—read as though they’re straight off of American Idiot or 21st Century Breakdown. Green Day are positioning themselves to once again dive into the themes and questions that they struggled with so emphatically on those albums.

This crossroads of two separate creative endeavors represents an artistic catharsis in the form of Revolution Radio. Having spent the last seven years creating new sounds and ruminating on old issues, Green Day is ready to approach the next entry in their concept album trilogy with fresh eyes, minds, and hearts.