Punk rock, of course, was never meant to form empires. As timely, influential and brilliant as counterculture albums like American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown were – with their multi-part rock operatics about war, religion and big pharma, and their 20 million combined sales – they turned Green Day into a ballooning brand to rival any trainer-flogging rap mogul. Broadway and film musicals, a triple-album release they called “prolific for the sake of it” over the course of 2012… it’s to their credit they didn’t release a fragrance called Molotov.
It’s refreshing, then, to find them returning to the snappy single-album format for a 12th release ‘make under’, even though Revolution Radio feels like the sort of water-treader that suggests emo punk exhausted its potential for innovation when American Idiot started taking cues from The Who.
Its style remains glammy punk pop, now with occasional nods to Muse and 5 Seconds Of Summer, and its issues remain pertinent but predictable: mass shootings inspired by violent internet videos (single Bang Bang), the rebel-numbing effect of social media (the title track and Somewhere Now) and odes to horny, hedonistic youth (Youngblood, Too Dumb To Die, Outlaws).
The engrossing full-album reprise Forever Now gives an insight into frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s booze and pills-induced 2012 meltdown, but otherwise Revolution Radio is more melodic air-punching about guns, gas and the American nightmare. File under: Ain’t Broke.