From Poltical to Power Pop: 'Oh Love' and the State of Green Day
  • TUESDAY, JULY 17, 2012

  • Posted by: Zoe Marquedant

I've been out of my mind excited since Green Day announced their three album release plan. In my opinion, their past two albums 21st Century Breakdown and Awesome as F*ck fell low on the totem pole of their work. One was a pretty standard live record and the other was a little too poltical for me. Ever since I've been waiting for them to win back our undying love with something new. Their concept album/rock opera American Idiot was a great transition from punk rock Green Day to responsible adult Green Day. It set expectations high and they've since kind of fallen off, or rather plateaued. No one was expecting another Dookie, but if Green Day released one more live album I think there was going to be a riot. The world needed new work (and bad). And man, did we get what we asked for. Not one, but three albums due this year, mere months apart.

Then the band released their first single "Oh Love" off of Uno!, the aptly named first album in the trilogy.

Green Day used to write pop-ier albums, but they moved on to writing bigger better music. They cultivated a sound that spanned far beyond the punk rock of earlier albums. That growth and maturity culminated in American Idiot, where Green Day swerved into the political realm, proving that they could have an opinion and write an album at the same time. The politically-charged rock opera earned them a Grammy and packed stadiums. Listening to "Oh Love", you can hear that stadium-rock mentality poking through. With Uno!'s first cut, Green Day shows that although they're grown, they're still young at heart (as cliché as it sounds). They write songs about the government AND falling in love.

For Uno!, Green Day aimed for Dookie-era power pop (I wouldn't call Dookie power pop, but what do I know) and judging on "Oh Love" they've landed pretty close. Produced by Rob Cavallo, who worked on Dookie, "Oh Love" is a more mature production, compared to the what younger haircut power-pop bands have been writing in recent years. It doesn't sound all that much like Dookie, but it's definitely radio-friendly. Still there is a reminiscent quality to the song. "Oh Love" brings the band back to an earlier sound, as close to their roots as possible with their level of success.

The single is definitely watered down. There isn't a horn section or a half-dozen layer of tracks, but rather a simple guitar-bass-drums mold. A mold which fits the band's past sound, which is part of the charm -- "Oh Love" sounds like Green Day is once again a three-piece band. The opening reminds me of the stripped back minutes in "Jesus of Suburbia" or "Homecoming" or even songs as far back as "Waiting." It has a simplicity to it. Whether it's too simple is up for debate. Lyrically the song is a little obvious and over-stated. Billie-Joe channels his inner middle schooler for lines like "I'm wearing my heart on a noose". The song could be grander, but no one panic just yet. We still have the rest of the album and two more records to go before we pass judgement. So here's to hoping Uno, Dos! and Tré! builds from here.

Lyric Video for "Oh Love":

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