The Austin Chronicle

SXSW 2013 Records

Reviewed by Austin Powell, March 15, 2013, Music

Green Day

¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré! (Reprise/Warner Bros.)

Addicted to prescription medicines and alcohol, Billie Joe Armstrong spiraled out of control for the better part of two years, culminating in a violent meltdown at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas last September. You'd never know it from ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré!. Like the Clash following London Calling with Sandinista!, Green Day attempted to chase its renegade, double-album drama, 2009's 21st Century Breakdown, with an even more ambitious idea – three albums released in successive months and then packaged together in late 2012. The resulting trilogy offers 37 shades of PG-13 punk rock that finds the Oakland trio desperately trying to rekindle the definitive delinquency of early classics Dookie and Kerplunk. ¡Uno! starts promising: "Nuclear Family" packs the hand-grenade urgency of the band's midlife masterpiece, American Idiot, and the surprisingly effective dance track "Kill the DJ" sounds like Arctic Monkeys covering Music-era Madonna. From there, the trilogy's highlights are few and far between. Armstrong channels his inner millennial, grounded for the weekend ("Sweet 16," "Amanda," "Drama Queen," "Makeout Party"), and ¡Tré! pushes power ballads, Petty nostalgia, and Townshend windmills on "Walk Away" being the clear takeaway. "I don't want your sympathy/I don't want your honesty," Armstrong sings on "Lazy Bones" from ¡Dos! "I just want to get some peace of mind." It's a moment of rare vulnerability, direct and effective – a fleeting glimpse of the squandered opportunity here. "I thought everyone was in on the joke, but I was the joke," Armstrong confided in a recent Rolling Stone interview. Consider ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré! the punch line. (8pm, ACL Live at the Moody Theater)


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