When Green Day released its trilogy of albums in 2012, titled “¡Uno!,” “¡Dos!” and “¡Tré!,” all three records were met with middling reviews. Fans either loved or hated the three, which were generally thought to be among the worst in the punk band’s otherwise strong catalog. While I for one found myself in the minority of people who thoroughly enjoyed the three albums and appreciated the ambitiousness behind them, I could certainly understand the reasons behind why others disliked them.
My biggest problem with the albums was the same as that of many fans; they just sounded too clean. Whereas producer Rob Covallo’s work with the band is usually praised, here it seemed to be overdone. Guitar riffs sounded far too clean, Billie Joe’s voice sounded altered and overall the tracks (especially on “¡Dos!,” the most garage-rock sounding of the three records) just sounded over-produced.
Fortunately for those who feel the same way, but still enjoyed the three albums, the band released “Demolicious” on April 19 in honor of National Record Store Day, a pseudo “greatest hits” collection of tracks from the trilogy featuring stripped down versions of the songs and demos.
As bassist Mike Dirnt described the album when he announced it on Instagram a few months ago: “This is how ‘¡Uno!,’ ‘¡Dos!,’ and ‘¡Tré!’ would have sounded if we were still on Lookout Records.” For fans of the band’s older sound from the “Dookie” era, as well as fans who didn’t care much for the trilogy as a whole, this is exquisite news.
While I for one loved the three records as they were, this record is simply a new take on songs I already enjoyed. However for those who felt otherwise, this record should serve as a way to take a step back and see that the 30-plus tracks weren’t really all that bad.
Tracks like “Oh Love” and “Stay The Night” benefit the most from being showcased as stripped-down versions. Rather than sounding like the overly produced punk-pop version that wound up as the closing tune on “¡Uno!,” the demo version sounds like something more akin to a homage to the Beatles’ sound from the ’60s. With stronger lead guitar riffs, the song gets a chance to shine. “Stay the Night” benefits in the same way, though the real star of “Demolicious” is the acoustic version that closes the record out. Rather than sounding like the generic version that was initially released, the acoustic cut is far more somber, allowing Billie Joe to carry it as more of a singer/songwriter track.
Also among the highlights of the record are the demo versions of “99 Revolutions” and “Let Yourself Go.” Although not much has changed between the two cuts of “Revolutions,” the demo version allows a bit more of Dirnt’s baseline shine through and overall sounds a bit more like a punk song than the pop version found on “¡Tré!“
“Let Yourself Go,” which was one of the more disliked tracks from “¡Uno!,” sounds much more like a “Dookie” follow-up rather than something that deserved to wind up on the new record. While I was a fan of the original version, this one certainly does feel much more energetic.
Nestled among the newer versions of familiar tracks is an all new one: “State of Shock.” While it’s unfortunate to hear the song as a demo rather than a finished cut, it is certainly a fitting addition on the record as a whole. The track sounds like one of the angrier, punk type songs found on “¡Uno!,” though it is certainly understandable why the track never made the final cut.
While there really isn’t anything new here, those who were already fans of the trilogy of albums will surely enjoy hearing newer versions of familiar tracks. For those who weren’t, “Demolicious” may not be able to sell them entirely on the material that made it onto the 2012 albums, but it’s certainly a good start. Even if they don’t, “Demolicious” serves as a reminder of the band’s ’90s sound that allowed it to explode onto the punk scene.
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