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CD Review: Green Day’s ‘Uno!’

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Green Day
¡Uno!
Three stars

After the epic grandiosity of 2004’s American Idiot and 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown, Green Day returns to simplicity on ¡Uno!, the first of three albums (the other two are ¡Dos! and ¡Tré!) the band is set to release in the next five months.

With most songs clocking in under three minutes and built around simple hooks, ¡Uno! recalls the band’s early pop-punk sound, although it’s a little slicker and cleaner. The guitar work is crisp rather than ragged, and the vocal harmonies (especially on the lovely “Angel Blue”) are impressive. The album largely drops the social commentary of Idiot and Breakdown, with frontman Billie Joe Armstrong instead pining away for girls on songs like “Stay the Night” and “Fell for You.”

While the melodies are catchy, ¡Uno! at times feels too generic, and many of the songs are essentially interchangeable. The band goes for a bit of a dance-rock vibe on “Kill the DJ,” and album closer “Oh Love” comes closest to an anthemic power ballad like “21 Guns” or “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” but mostly ¡Uno! sticks to straightforward pop-punk. It works as a nice palate-cleanser, as long as the next two albums take a few more chances.

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