I haven't listened to Greenday since I was 14 during a brief period where I pretended to be into them to see if I could make friends. Being a tall straight edge devout stinky muslim with mantits did not work for my cause as you can imagine. It was okay, I was more into the Hippity Hoppity and or the actual punk of the punk variety. So I wouldn't say I was ever Greenday's target demographic despite being in Greenday's target segment anyway.
Here's a memory: I remember being at a Virgin Megastore before local businessmen realised no one buys music. I was looking at two Asian girls in school uniform freaking out over the Greenday American Idiot C.D. with me standing behind hoping to any sort of god that a flood would wash them all away. Greenday, emo teenage girls et all.
And for the longest time it seems that they did. Don't get me wrong, I'm not the type to knock that brand of radio-friendly 'punk'...but I'm going to knock that specific brand of punk. There is nothing really appealing about it to me as an angry black male (so far). As far as I'm concerned Punk sort of ended somewhere around Minor Threat and went through an awkward puberty period before coming back out as Thrash: Punk with more balls. Be careful who you call ugly in high school.
Then in the noughties you had the 'Hmm-this-sounds-like-Punk-but-why-am-I-sleepy' brand of the genre. Rancid, Nofx, Greenday, The Offspring- bands no one had any use for until Y2K when the bands whose members hadn't overdosed or disappeared yet made it to rank. Among them were Greenday. A band my best friend at the time celebrated for their scene cred despite being the most he's never actually listened to. He owned their CDs, sure but I've never seen him cite anything other than singles. Most of the discs still wrapped in their original plastic. At least when I was posing it was for something worthwhile. Just saying.
Also, not to brag but the bigger circle of cool kids that gave me wedgies in school at the time used to listen to Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Black flag, Bad Religion. White angry people shit that was vague enough that Arabs could relate. That was the power of Hardcore, Thrash and Metal. The bands had some pretty serious messages about government being butt and what have you (which were some pretty big ideas to us kids at the time, you know). And since I was desperately trying to stop the purple nurples then I guess so was I.
There-in lies the problem with Greenday, it just never really cut it as its own thing from the get-go. They had no believable and clear political standing. They were too fun to be taken seriously but too political to be just be your run-of-the-mill stoner punk band. They sounded like a watered down Rancid, then a watered down Sublime, a watered down Blink 182 and at its peak a watered down Greenday. It was like watching people drink water mixed with orange crayon and believing it to be Florida's Natural juice. Not that Florida's Natural OJ is any better- I hear it's basically prune juice with cologne.
+insert audience applause+
Speaking of prune. That is where this new Greenday single Bang Bang comes in.
I'm getting images of Billy Joe sitting in his race-car-shaped couch in his Californian mansion drinking margaritas out of a grenade-shaped mug and surfing pitchfork's youtube channel in a panama hat when the drummer, Tre Cool (yes, really), knocks the door down to announce that the ATM machine is showing only quadruple figures. At this moment is when some concert footage of Wavves autoplays and the distorted and warm guitar sounds blasting through Billy's speakers reminds them that once upon a time they played instruments too. 'We're punks!' Billy Rejoices.
You see where I'm going with this. They should just change their name to Billy Green Wavves Talent. The song's not bad though, far from it. I definitely like this more than anything else they've ever done.
If only it didn't sound 4 years out of date.
The 5 chord guitar melodies, conforming-bassline and clean drumming sound too out of date and stereotypical to this sort of skate punk for it to make any sort of impact. We've just heard it all before, I'm afraid. From Bass Drum of death to Fidlar. There are too many bands that sound like Greenday but bigger, faster, stronger and better. Weird how old Greenday wouldn't be able to put up a fight against present-day Greenday but present-day Greenday would be knocked out clean by the hands of, let's say, METZ. It's not even a matter of sounding young and fresh. It's just too clean. safe and sterile. Like Microwave rice.
+is not going to write anything on that bridge part, though. Oh lord+
The lyrics sound recycled, which wouldn't really matter for a nobody band like Wavves, whose peak lyrical content detail hanging out at the beach and telling people to go fuck themselves but it does matter for a veteran band like Greenday. This is a band with 2 decades worth of material under their belt so lyrics like "oh baby baby this is Viva Vendetta" are laughable. No.
This is an issue, the lyrics pack a complexity and punchlines of something written by a 20 year old that just stumbled on some Stirner than a 44 year singer/songwriter with 5 grammies. Punk or not. This is weak, bro.
You can't take a long break and come back with such an underwhelming song or else people will start to believe you're really just back for the money. Which is okay but if you're going to try to sell Guitar music to today's THC-comatose crowd you might want to give your average stoner a reason to want to look around for their wallet and pull out their credit card.
Greenday is the Madonna of Punk, however. They'll still outlive the young (probably by feeding on them) and be around to sell records. They'll figure this one out, surely. If not then I'm sure the suits standing backstage will.