Before listening to Uno!, the last time I heard Green Day was probably during a study session for a pre-algebra test. I’m not ashamed to say it; Green Day was a huge part of my middle-school life. There is no way to overstate the luck you had if you happen to have been in the seventh grade during the release of a Green Day album. Their discography, which now spans two decades, is a treasure trove of entry-level punk-pop goodness. And you know what? Dookie, Kerplunk, Nimrod, hell, even certain tracks of American Idiot and Warning still hold up. Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe they’re just genuinely good, rockin’ tunes.
Green Day is generally a phase. They’re just punk rock enough to feel like a middle school rebel, and just poppy enough to not freak your parents out too much. As their listeners get older, they tend to figure out there’s more to the world. They’ll realize that Green Day is just super into The Clash, The Ramones, and The Who, and that all those artists are, at the very least, cooler to call your favorite band.
Uno!, the aging pop-punk trio’s new LP, their first in three years, might be the first not to get a new class of middle-schoolers psyched about fake lip rings and wristbands. It almost sounds like the embarrassing pop-punkery that might come out of their dad’s stereo. Is that because Billie Joe Armstrong, who once played naked at Madison Square Garden and has fought audience members just for the hell of it, is now 40 years old? Or is it because I’m the wrong age at the wrong time?
Get it if you remember a time when Green Day was the coolest thing you can like. Ignore it you pretend that you don’t remember declaring that “The Grouch” was the coolest, edgiest thing in the world. Then get it anyway and listen to it in secret.