Album Reviews

Album Review: Green Day – ¡Tre!

on December 22, 2012, 7:57am
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The Chicago Cubs’ Ryne Sandberg is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He played the game the right way, he hit for power in an era when 2nd baseman weren’t supposed to, and he’s widely considered one of the best defensive players at his position to ever play the game. He retired before season’s end in 1994, but it wasn’t due to injury or age, it was because he lost the desire to play.

Sandberg said, “I didn’t want to play at a level less than what was expected of me by my teammates, coaches, ownership, and most of all, myself.” Sadly, many players don’t stop, can’t stop, and won’t stop. It’s that strange desire that resonates within all professional athletes; whether driven into them by coaches growing up, or just a part of their spirit once out the womb. This “can’t stop” mentality doesn’t end at sports, which sadly brings us to Green Day.

Green Day’s ¡Tré! is the finale of the band’s 2012 trilogy. Its earlier entries were the average ¡Uno! and the album-whose-rating-matched-its-title ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré! falls somewhere in the middle of these muddled albums. It’s a mixed bag that doesn’t reach the lows of a forced, guest rap appearance, while containing some of the best songs the trilogy has to offer. More importantly, there are songs on the record that could be used against the band if they consider re-entering the studio at any point in the future. These aren’t bad songs; their message is in their lyrics. It’s over. Walk away.

These aren’t meant to be harsh words toward the Berkeley trio. They’re part of a truth that needs to be told, no matter how dedicated the fan base is both young and old. When “not bad” is considered a positive note in a band’s ongoing existence, the end is not nigh, it’s already here. “Missing You” is not bad, with an impressive Mike Dirnt bass run during its coda and restrained Billie Joe Armstrong vocals, compared to his over-the-top and over-the-hill performance in the oft-dreadful ¡Dos!. “Sex, Drugs & Violence” is vintage Green Day, with its limited-use of guitar chords but still breathing with a catchy-enough chorus. “8th Avenue Serenade” teases changing time signatures; a sandbox the band rarely plays in. But these songs aren’t rock solid. They’re just “not bad.”

Unfortunately, the crystal-clean Rob Cavallo-production shines its sheen upon a genre that thrives on spit and raw power. Tre Cool’s drums are once more balanced with the vocals, guitars, and bass, occasionally with the piano and other orchestrations the band has absolutely given into since the maudlin “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” on Nimrod.  Look no further than album opener “Brutal Love” for an example of such criticism; “The Forgotten”, if you need two. It’s a stale production that has smothered these guys for too long. These issues were mentioned in the review for ¡Uno!, and though these songs are from those same sessions, it’s still disappointing. A change of direction for this band’s sound was dire just as much as they needed to get away from concept records, and they failed on this front.

The album’s most crucial, and most telling song, is “X-Kid”. It’s fitting that the best track on the record spells out the band’s end of days: “You’re numb to your old glory but now it’s gone,” “The shouting’s over and out / Over and out again,” “You’re not so young, but you’re still dumb / You’re an X-Kid and you never even got started again.” It’s a great song in a career full of them, but by coupling this with the lyrics of “Walk Away”, longtime fans will find a reality they may not want to accept.

What’s next for Green Day? As far as we know, Armstrong is still in rehab trying to get things together, and the best of luck goes to him, obviously. The band is likely to reschedule the dates they had to cancel post-breakdown, but after those dates with various cities and countries come to an end? Well, there’s a postscript to Ryan Sandberg’s 1994 retirement: he actually returned in 1996. Although the power was still there, the batting average plummeted, and he couldn’t elevate the Cubs to the division pennant as he had twice before. After battling injuries in ’97, he retired and never jogged out to the infield again.

If Green Day continues after ¡Tré!, Cool’s kickdrum will still pound furiously, Dirnt will still thud away on his bass, and Armstrong will strum those power chords. Like Sandberg in his return, the band won’t be bad, but if this trio of albums is any indication, they won’t be that good, either. There won’t be anything worthwhile. Just noise.

Walk away.

Essential Tracks: “X-Kid”, “Sex Drugs & Violence”, and “Dirty Rotten Bastards”.

24 comments

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doob
December 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Ya and if Greenday uses piano, COS will give it a four 1/2.

Justin Gerber
December 11, 2012 at 12:29 am

Doob, I respectfully disagree. One example: “The Forgotten” closes out this album, and is piano-driven.

doob
December 11, 2012 at 12:52 am

Dos! was awesome and they gave it a 2, that’s all..

Jake
December 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm

I thought the album was good. It seems like the reviews I’ve read so far are mixed. About half of them think Green Day should quit, and the others believe that it was one of their better efforts. Me personally, I enjoyed the album a lot (aside from Walk Away and Sex, Drugs and Violence). At the end of the day, reviews are subjective, and I respect this one.

Civil
December 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I really thought they were three solid albums, but this one stood out to me as the most interesting of the three. I respect CoS opinion but I can’t help but wonder what there expectations were? We’re they comparing these records to past efforts, which is kind of different than a stand alone review of said album. I can’t help but think if some indie outfit put these albums out they would have been outright praised, leaving me to think (which is prob pretty obvious at this point) that when reviewing a GD album (or another very established artist) reviewers can’t seem to leave their preconceived thoughts at home before listening to the record.

Justin Gerber
December 11, 2012 at 12:27 am

The review was mixed because the band seems complacent in doing the same-old, same-old. We didn’t know what to expect after the detours IDIOT and BREAKDOWN took. We just didn’t like what we found this go-around.

Civil
December 11, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I hear that, but I thought the headline “Walk Away” was a little over the top, but I’m now thinking you were speaking to a would be listener rather than to the band. Ha, but maybe not

tim
December 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm

After green day released warning in 2000 everyone said they should quit. Don’t underestimate this band.

Justin Gerber
December 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

That’s true, Tim. But I think the well has finally run dry.

Cody Favata
December 11, 2012 at 10:22 am

Impossible. It’s Green Day. The “Well” is infinitely deep with this band

Anopn
February 3, 2013 at 2:03 am

Guys, you’re middle aged, you’ve been multimillionaires for over 15 years, and you weren’t that punk to start with. Put down the mascara, go buy some sailboats, and enjoy yourselves. And don’t feel bad, you’ve earned it; we all know that just barely tweaking other peoples’ songs enough to call them your own gets to be hard work after a while. If you need a hobby, go write some more songs for your next Broadway musical, or Glee, or whatever. There are still plenty of angsty, upper middle class white kids around whose parents are desperate to connect with them in any way; the ticket sales will be there.

But just stop with this thing. It’s gotten to the point of being
unseemly. Your bass player looks like Jane Lynch after a rough night,
your drummer’s wacky character act was stale 10 years ago, and your
singer is still hung up on the fact that he grew up poor – while he’s
worth tens of millions of dollars.

Brian Powers
December 11, 2012 at 3:32 am

Wow, nothing worth while? Really harsh, but at least a 2.5 isn’t a troll score.

Mišo Korošec
December 11, 2012 at 11:43 am

I completely agree with this review. Sad but True

Michael ? Borg
December 12, 2012 at 6:05 am

I think the trilogy is great and this review is ridiculous. These albums sound like a band that absolutely LOVES playing and made these albums primarily for themselves and their diehard fans. There’s pure energy and enthusiasm running through all 3 albums. They didn’t care about pleasing anyone. They didn’t care about losing any bandwagoning fans from their arena ready albums ‘American Idiot’ and ’21st Century Breakdown’. You’re also confusing MIXING levels with production. There’s nothing wrong with these mixes anyway, they’re well balanced. These songs are intentionally very melodic and poppy, they’re not meant to be ruined with shoddy mixing to sound more punk and raw.

PunKZ
December 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm

They said that they wanted to do something a bit more casual, and this is the result, what did you expect, another AI/21st CB? If you can’t accept that they wanna do things like this, maybe you’re the one who should walk away from music.

Not to mention that you judge the band instead of rating the music, highly unprofessional. Please walk away.

¡Mike’s Muffin!
December 23, 2012 at 6:19 am

Who the hell are you to tell them to quit making records? Really, I can’t even continue reading this shit, but if you are giving ¡Tré! a 2’5 I guess there is nothing worthwhile to read.

Justin Gerber
December 24, 2012 at 12:08 am

A fan of about two decades. I’m sorry you disagreed with the review, Hi I’m Retarded.

Drew Douglas
January 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm

No, it’s that bad. You just can’t face the facts.

Clockwise
December 23, 2012 at 11:39 pm

What a shitty fucking review.

Justin Gerber
December 24, 2012 at 12:07 am

Sorry you didn’t like it, Clockwise. Was it the result or the presentation?

Clockwise
December 24, 2012 at 2:29 am

Hey, sorry for being so harsh right off the bat. I guess it was a bit of both. The comparison doesn’t completely work, but I get it. I just disagree with the main idea, I suppose. I think bands should keep going for as long as they want to, honestly. And I just try and appreciate each album for what it really is. I liked TRE a good deal more than you did, but that’s not my issue. My issue is that I don’t think it’s super reasonable to theorize that the band is on its last legs just because you didn’t like an album.

Ethan Summers
December 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm

I do agree with this review, but it’s a little too harsh. After the band released Shenanigans, I really thought they were done for. They released 3 not so successful albums in a row, that’s Nimrod, Warning and Shenanigans. But, then they came out with the next big thing that won a Grammy for Best Rock Album, and that’s American Idiot. I loved the effort they put in there, and after this album, I never thought they could release another album as good as this. But then they came out with 21st Century Breakdown, which was even more better than American Idiot. They maintained they’re “Punk” style in these two albums. The lyrics were also energetic, and the songs weren’t easily forgettable. Then the band Came out with Uno, Dos and Tre. Well, Green Day’s mostly known for it’s unexpected stuff, and Uno, Dos and Tre come under that category. They’ve shifted to a more poppish sound, with sweeter guitars and lyrics. The song Kill The DJ was impressive, a song which was not expected from Green Day. Nuclear Family was somewhat from the Nimrod era, but you get what I’m saying. Dos was a little better than Uno, with catchy songs like Fuck Time and Stray Heart. Tre, on the other hand, was a very good album, with an amazing opening song “Brutal Love”. Missing You was kinda catchy. X-Kid was also nice, and with songs like 99 revolutions and Dirty Rotten Bastards, they had a more American Idiot Era sound. These albums are not as good if you compare these with American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown, but without comparison, I would give this album a 4/5. They’ve used more chords, added in more instruments, the vocals have become a lot sweeter, and Tre’s Drums just sound amazing. The band has finally matured up, and I would definitely want to see an another album from them.

Harlan Nash
December 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm

WIthout having heard the trilogy, I’m wondering if Green Day aren’t becoming sort of the AC/DC of pop-”punk”. Just a band that keeps on plugging away without a desire to break new ground.

That said, where did that Foxboro Hot Tubs album a few years back fit in?

Tommy Bryan Boyer
December 28, 2012 at 10:44 pm

I saw Green Day perform for free in front of City Hall in SF, front of stage. Someone would scream out “Longview”, and they played it for the maybe 600 in attendence, they took request throughout, even played a Sex Pistols cover. I was sure they where over. Then a coupla years later they released “American Idiot”. Do not underestimate them.