At long last I’m back with the final piece of my review of Green Day’s ¡Trilogy! You can thank typoattack’s prodding and my Roman Catholic Italian guilt for bringing you this post.
As you’ve probably come to expect, I’ll be proceeding in the usual track-by-track fashion. Let me just say outright, though, that this is easily my favorite of the three albums. I think it was the strongest overall, and as I’ll be detailing below, it all just worked really well.
Now the breakdown:
1. “Brutal Love” — I love (no pun intended) everything about this track. I love that it makes me feel like I’m in the ’50s (compare it to “Beauty School Dropout” from Grease.). I love the arpeggios that make up the bulk of the guitar part, I love how nuanced Tré’s drumming is. It’s just a great track. I guess it doesn’t necessarily fit with the rest of the album since it feels like it’s from a totally different decade, but I don’t care.
2. “Missing You” — Pop-punk at its finest, ladies and gentlemen. Ok, not necessarily the best track on ¡Tré!, but a solid track in general. Basic chord progression, strong drumming, decent if not super-original lyrics. The part that really stands out is Dirnt’s bass solo shortly past the 2-minute mark. It’s not really a particularly complex solo, but it pulls the track together really nicely.
3. “8th Avenue Serenade” — I don’t really understand the lyrics for this one. There isn’t anything wrong with them, per se, they just don’t really make any sense or seem to have much logical relation. But I love the guitar riff and the frenetic drum line. It’s a bit on the shorter side and aside from having some sort of unusual syncopated timing at times it also follows an odd structure — Intro, Verse, Transition, Verse, Chorus, Solo, Chorus, Outro. Anyway, regardless of the oddities, I really like this track — and it’s a lot of fun to play on guitar, so that’s a bonus!
4. “Drama Queen” — Story time! I saw Green Day live a number of years ago, back on the 21st Century Breakdown tour, and Billie played this during the encore at the end of the runway with an acoustic guitar. It was in the early stages, at the time — “Drama Queen (Beta)” if you will — but I remember thinking it was such a beautiful track. I had no idea it was new and by the time I got home I’d forgotten to look it up. Cut to the release of ¡Tré! about 4 years later and imagine my surprise when this track came on. After getting past my initial hipster moment of “HAHA SUCKERS I HEARD IT BEFORE IT WAS RELEASED” I got to feel the excitement of finally having the track I’d forgotten I’d wanted to get. It really is a fantastic track, some of Armstrong’s best writing, lyrically, with some beautiful guitar sounds. 10/10, would listen to again.
5. “X-Kid” — I love this track. It’s one of my favorites on the album, and definitely cracks the top ten, if not the top five, from all three. It’s got a pretty original sounding guitar riff, an awesome solo, some stellar drumming, fantastic lyrics, great harmonies from Dirnt on the chorus — pretty much everything you could want. Here’s the other pertinent information, as provided by WIkipedia, which I don’t really feel the need to rephrase because it’s already been written pretty damn well.
This song was written in response to the 2009 suicide of a close friend that Armstrong grew up with in Rodeo, CA. However, the song is as much about the entire “Generation X” (those born from roughly 1960-1980) as it is about this one specific tragedy. Billie Joe has repeatedly identified himself as an “Ex-Kid” in recent interviews. The narrator is able to relate to his late friend, in that they were both “Ex/X-kids.” But, he was able to push through the struggles that came with growing older, while his friend was not. His friend, unfortunately, found an escape in suicide, thus the line “Here goes nothing, the shouting’s over.” The narrator sees facets of himself in his late friend. He feels as if, sadly, there wasn’t much that could have been done to help his friend, though he wishes someone could have found a way to help him before it was too late.
6. “Sex, Drugs, & Violence” — This one’s fun. It feels like it could have been a track off Warning, actually, though I couldn’t put my finger on why, if you asked me. There’s nothing super special about the track, nothing bad either. Just a solid track. Though it does contain the line “Well, I don’t wanna be an imbecile/But Jesus made me that way,” which is simultaneous hilarious and brilliant. Lyrically on the whole though I’m not entirely sure what he’s talking about. It’s like a weird mashup of education, rock star life (I mean just look at the title) and reflective introspection.
7. “A Little Boy Named Train” — Another one that I don’t really understand where he’s going with the lyrics, but what I do understand is that there are some pretty good guitar licks, some nice bass riffing that supports the song very well, and the drums — the drums! — the drums really bring the track together. Tré basically imitates old-timey train noises (not the whistles obviously but like the sound of a train moving over the rails) with the drums. Very effective. Very Cool (pun clearly intended). Worth checking out for that part alone, as the rest is just average, really. A good average, but not the best track on the album.
8. “Amanda” — I don’t know what the story is behind this track in terms of what’s factual and such but in the context of the song, it’s about looking back at a failed relationship, I guess after seeing the person again later? Not sure totally but it’s got really good lyrics. Also the drums are awesome, and the guitar may be one of my favorites on the album (it doesn’t beat “X-Kid” but it’s still good) — certainly on my list of tracks I want to learn, but that solo is above my skill level. Its placement on the album is good too — it makes sure that the next track is between two really good songs, which is a good thing as you’ll see in a second or two.
9. “Walk Away” — Honestly, though I have a few choice words to say about the 12th track, when I get there, this one’s probably my least favorite. It’s not like there’s anything particularly bad about it. I just don’t really like it. It’s a little repetitive, to be fair, and a little trite. But objectively it’s an ok, average track on the same level as some of the other tracks here. But it just rubs me the wrong way.
10. “Dirty Rotten Bastards” — This one’s the closest we get on all three albums to a multipart epic like “Jesus of Suburbia,” “Homecoming,” or “American Eulogy.” It doesn’t have the parts given separate names, but it is longer than all of the tracks on the three albums, coming in at 6 minutes and 26 seconds, almost a minute and a half longer than “Oh Love,” the second longest on the three, and the only other track to break the five-minute mark at 5 minutes and 3 seconds long. Anyway, there are five distinct parts of this one, though the fourth is just a reprise of the first with different timing and arrangements, and while the first time I heard it I thought from the first 30 seconds or so that it would be awful, boy was I wrong. There’s some really phenomenal work on all the instruments, the transitions between parts are smooth (as always, really), and Armstrong’s vocal work is on point. Just an overall fun track.
11. “99 Revolutions” — Unless I’m missing something in another song, I think this is the only real political song on all three albums. If you didn’t guess from the title, it’s about the Occupy Wall St. movement and the protests against the 1%. This one may actually be more overtly political than most of the tracks on American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. Probably because there’s not really time here to veil the message in a story and under layers of metaphor. But it works. Really well. Aside from the guitar part being one of the best on the album, maybe on all three, and the drums being great, the lyrics are just beyond perfect. It’s a really powerful song. I like to think of it as a modern protest anthem. It makes me want to go picket something.
12. “The Forgotten” — So. Final track on the final album. It all comes down to this. Aaaaanddd.. that’s a problem. Look, I can get past the fact that it was used in one of the Twilight movies. Sure, I hate them and the books and think their existence is a blight on reality. But movies need music, and honestly the Twilight soundtracks did have some decent tracks (“Supermassive Black Hole,” anyone? One of the best damn songs Muse ever recorded). I know certain other people have issues with this *cough*typoattack*cough* but I guess not every band wants to turn down a major contract and then write a song about how much the franchise sucks (no complaints here, though, My Chemical Romance proved they made the right choice when the released “Vampire Money,” because that track is awesome). Anyway, I don’t care about that. And actually I think the song is pretty good. I like it, really. But it’s damn well not the song you end the third album of a trilogy with. You go out with a bang, dammit! I would have really preferred another track at the end of the album, or maybe even just switch “The Forgotten” with “99 Revolutions.” Anything but end it with this one. It’s just a flat, downer ending. At any rate, I should note that the song pretty much took the piano from “Let it Be,” changed it (barely) enough to avoid legal issues, and put in new lyrics and drums (which by the second verse, when the come in, are MUCH needed). But yeah, it’s definitely another track where Green Day flat out took a song and used it in their own work. Kind of a nice bookend with “Stay the Night” ripping off Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time” back on ¡Uno!, in that respect.
Well, at long last we’ve come to the end of our journey. I’m not sure what I’ll be writing next but I have some things in the pipes. Until next time, keep it 13/31 for all of your blogging needs!