For a band whose first hit was a slacker anthem about getting high and beating off, Green Day sure have become an ambitious band over the past 10 years. First, they dropped a chart-topping rock opera stuffed with political, personal and sociological insight. Then, after a globe-conquering tour, they released another rock opera, crammed with even deeper perceptions about what makes people tick in the 21st century.
Their current super-motivated project consists of three albums released within the span of three months. The first, ‘Uno!,’ was a quick hit of buzzing guitar-based songs that barely stopped to catch its breath among the swirl of the pop-punk tornado. ‘Dos!’ turns out to be more of the same, just less so.
Breaking pace with ‘Uno!’’s blitzkrieg bop, ‘Dos!’ is a slightly more despairing piece that could hold some clues to Billie Joe Armstrong’s recent rehab stay. But it’s no less rapid in its approach. The 13 songs get in and out of there in less than 40 minutes, and none of them overstays its welcome. But, following ‘Uno!’’s generally underwhelming aftertaste, ‘Dos!’ comes off even more forgettable in the end.
The minute-long opener ‘See You Tonight’ is built on the skeletal frames of an acoustic guitar and Armstrong’s reserved vocals – hardly a raucous start to the crucial middle part of a back-to-their-punk-roots trilogy. It’s a long way from ‘Dookie’’s bratty defiance, and things don’t pick up much from there (certainly not on the surf-rock rap cut ‘Nightlife’). Even songs called ‘Fuck Time’ and ‘Wow! That’s Loud’ promise way more than they deliver.
The best songs on ‘Dos!’ – ‘Lazy Bones’ and ‘Stray Heart’ – are the ones that sound the most fully formed. Still, they come off tentative with their surroundings, like they’re more than aware of the filler on either side. Plus, the album’s closing track, ‘Amy,’ a ‘50s-channeling tribute to Amy Winehouse, sounds stifled, forced and as out of place as the album’s opener. Unless Green Day are saving the great new songs for next month’s ‘Tre!,’ it’s starting to look like their ambition is getting the best of them.