It’s unsalvageable at this point. Even the most adamant Green Day disciple couldn’t possibly spin 2012’s trio of albums into a daring career defining gesture. The hope that ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! would turn into a high concept statement was scuppered the second Dos appeared online. Fans and critics alike quickly came to the realization that this project was never meant to be an overarching thematic masterpiece; instead it was the work of a talented and professional band who had written 39 solid and occasionally spectacular tracks. The trio works as a rough survey of where Green Day are in 2012, but not as a satisfying follow-up to 21st Century Breakdown.
In it’s own way ¡Tré! is a fitting final chapter for what has become a conflicted mish mash of youthful exuberance and retrospection. If Billie Joe appeared to be in the midst of a mid life crisis on ¡Uno!, stepping into the shoes of his teenage self, then ¡Tré! presents the image of an elderly rocker who wants to regress to a wilder state, but is simply too aware to truly let go. This sentiment of age and detachment plays perfectly against ¡Uno!’s tales of nervous teens and reckless lovers, and is delivered both brilliantly (“Brutal Love”) and forgettably (“Sex, Drugs & Violence)” across 12 tight tracks. Where ¡Uno! and ¡Dos! would have resolved relationship issues with substance abuse and childish petulance, ¡Tré! sees the band facing up to irreconcilable situations by resolutely walking away.
The final instalment continues Green Day’s infatuation with The Beatles on “Drama Queen” - the kind of melodious walking reflection that McCartney mastered in the mid-60s. Billie Joe’s vocal performance is deftly restrained and he has the air of a man re-contextualizing his past as he faces the unbridgeable gap between age and youth. It’s not the only experiment on display; the thoroughly excellent “6th Avenue Serenade” sees the 40-year-old punks sounding positively indie, with a sound that melds Smith Westerns and The Only Ones via a slick Californian riff.
It might have taken 36 tracks to get there but ¡Tré! finally delivers a juggernaut effort in the form of “Dirty Rotten Bastards”. Starting with a tired and intentionally asinine opening, it expands over six minutes to encompass the fight between escapist regression and aged surrender. Complete with incestuously addictive hooks and preposterous guitar work, the track recalls Abbey Road by stapling together a series of snippets to create one great schizophrenic effort. “Dirty Rotten Bastards” doesn’t have a proper conclusion, and it’s certainly not a classic, but it does capture ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré! in microcosm as one sprawling, conflicted and sporadically worthwhile endeavour.
¡Tré! never had a hope in hell of transforming this middling three-piece suite into a meaningful and timeless endeavour, but the final instalment certainly takes a good stab at it. Closure is the word, and while the album is essentially composed of throwaway filler, it still serves as a fascinating piece of psychoanalysis on a band, and a genre, that thrives on teenage rebellion. If ¡Uno! triggered a mid life crisis, and ¡Dos! provided the drunken besotted low, then ¡Tré! represents escape, not from a 40-year-old present, but from the allure of youth. Concluding ballad “Forgotten” is sagely, Green Day have experienced it all, and are now perfectly positioned to guide their legions of teenage followers through life’s highs and lows.
Buy If:You want to hear Green Day’s trilogy end on a high note.
Skip If:You were disappointed twice, and you were expecting a vast improvement.
Best Track: “The Forgotten”
Hampered by ill health, but never ones to retire shyly, The Who continue celebrating their 50th anniversary as they contemplate retirement.
Guitar Planet grades the creative comebacks from three iconic artists who are attempting to give 2015 a much-needed injection of impetus.
Guitar Planet takes on new albums by southern stars Blackberry Smoke, nu-metal icons Papa Roach and the legendary Venom.
The music industry’s glamorous state of the union address was delivered this weekend, but what did the Grammys have to say about guitar music?
Guitar Planet takes on eight of the most hotly hyped artists seeking to make 2015 their own.