Green Day has been going for 33 years. Just let that sink in for a moment. Green Day is 33 years old. With some bands, you're fully aware of their age, but remembering how old Green Day is just knocks you off of your feet.
Anyway, to the matter at hand. Their new album, the full title of which is quite something to say the least, is not classic Green Day by any stretch. They're still determined to try new things and in truth, that has led to an album which is a bit up and down. It's no masterpiece, certainly - but it's brisk, fun and upbeat, which ticks all of the basic boxes required for a Green Day album. In truth, that's as much as can be said for it.
The title track and opener is one of the strongest songs on the album, thrusting you in and teeing you up for something great. A tsunami of effects on Billie Joe Armstrong's voice renders it unrecognisable, but it's a storming performance nevertheless. Unfortunately, the following track is probably the weakest one on the entire album, deflating you like someone's just taken the plug out of the air bed. This mixed tone is indicative of the whole album, with peaks and troughs spread throughout. Given that the album is only just over 26 minutes long, it's a rather bumpy sub half-hour. For every good song, there's one that just doesn't make any impact.
Predictably, they're at their best when they do what they have done for decades, and 'Sugar Youth' is just that - so familiar, so classically Green Day on an album which the band, for the majority of the time, isn't. Despite being a song that we've heard countless times before, it's refreshing to hear it by the time it rolls around and proves that Green Day can still pull a fantastic song out when they need to.
But all too often, the album's tracks just do nothing. The three tracks that follow 'Sugar Youth' and close the album all pass you by like a snowflake in a hailstorm. That's not to say that they're bad songs, far from it. They're just decent, there, which is fine if it's one or two songs on the album. Instead, it's most of the record. They try a few new things to engage the audience, but somehow it still sounds almost lazy, a bit of a phone-in job.
If anyone was hoping for a new classic from the band, they're going to be disappointed. What we've gotten is one that does the job, with a couple of standout tracks in amongst a sea of adequacy. That the album is only 26 minutes in length is something of an advantage, preventing it from becoming too much of a chore. Indeed, there's no doubt that you can have fun with the record - but to do so, you may have to lower your expectations a tad before switching it on.
The trio is capable of better than this, something they have proven on so many occasions throughout their career. To be fair, every band has lower moments - let's just hope they come back with a bang.