Oh, Green Day. Always showing up when we need you most: in the midst of political crises. First it was American Idiot the immortalisation of George W. Bush’s reign; then, 21st Century Breakdown recapped the aftermath. For 2016, the subject matter to complete the trilogy was obvious: Revolution Radio is for the extremely imminent, extremely real dawn of Donald Trump. Released a month before his election took place, the record depicts America (and the world at large) in a state of crisis and despair, offering a social commentary on the state of humanity in 2016 with a little ray of hope that things may if we stage a revolution. Of course, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tré Cool are offering to be the bearers of it.
Revolution Radio traverses controversial subjects strewn throughout America from the prevalence of gun violence and its associated culture of mass shootings into the narcissism attached to contemporary social media usage. ‘Bang Bang,’ its lead single, does a pretty decent job of addressing all this inside three minutes – Armstrong embraces the persona of a mass shooter wanting all the fame and glory for the cost of innocent lives – but these ideals and concepts are elaborated further through the rest of the album.
‘Revolution Radio’ punches you in the face with a guttural, distorted guitar to entice rebellious followers of the band to give America a kick in the arse and become the anti-social media. ‘Say Goodbye’ bluntly states to be prepared to “say goodbye to the ones that we love” due to the current condition of violence in the US alongside the global rise in terrorism. The track is also a personal commentary on Armstrong’s part, reacting to images of military-style vehicles in Ferguson, Missouri. The jovial ‘Bouncing Off The Wall’ and ‘Youngblood’ provide a small sense of respite before it instantly dives back into the deep with ‘Troubled Times,’ a song documenting the aftermath of the Paris attacks of late 2015.
A welcome wake-up call not only to society today and a coded message for America to get its head out of the sand, Revolution Radio is a kick right the soundscape of 2016. Green Day is one of those increasingly sparse rock bands that will always deliver without issue, and this is yet another unfaltering record to be found under their belts.
Revolution Radio was released on October 7th via Reprise Records