Monday, April 27th, 2009

Green Day – Know Your Enemy

Back to save the world. Again…


Edward Okulicz: I approve of Green Day. I like Billy Joe’s big dumb songs. I liked the idea of marrying those to Butch Vig’s big, dumb and shiny production technique. So why does this sound like.. Busted?

Michaelangelo Matos: When I was 19 I figured these guys for poseurs, mostly because I wanted to feel superior to something. It didn’t take long to figure out that I was full of shit, but once International Superhits was released, there wasn’t much more to say — for them, or for anyone thinking about them. Then they wrote a godawful rock opera. After that they turned “Working Class Hero” into the very thing they were (rightly) mocking in the first place. Now they’re bubblegum again, or at least this is — whatever its aim, that’s the effect, with production so spotless it makes Enema of the State sound like Swordfishtrombones. It’s kind of diverting, but who cares?

Frank Kogan: Starts as a rousing rattle-clatter of a pop-punk song but resolutely refuses to develop or resolve, just repeats and repeats. I’m a sucker for maniacally minimal rock forms and suspended or denied release, but this track’s repetition never achieves propulsion or obsessiveness or any feeling of necessity or tension.

Martin Kavka: It gets musically boring after about 20 seconds, and as soon as one imagines it being played as interstitial music by both Keith Olbermann and Rush Limbaugh, one realizes that it is — like all political movements founded purely on opposition — fundamentally empty and meaningless.

David Raposa: I already wrote about this for my ‘day job’, but it bears repeating (or rephrasing): any side that takes up this Botoxed protest song as a rallying cry is a side I would gladly fight against.

Alex Ostroff: I’d say that it’s a song full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, but even the sound and fury are lacking. Before they were crowned the new guardians of rock’n’roll’s political soul and self-seriousness, Green Day knew how to have fun and write a damn good pop song. I miss the days when Billie Joe sang about masturbation and could make screaming “Down with the Moral Majority!” sound like a snotty mall-punk temper tantrum. I blame Bono.

Jonathan Bradley: “American Idiot” was straightforward enough, but lacked the verve of their previous exercises in punk-pop instant gratification, such as “Minority”, “Hitching a Ride” and “Basket Case.” Fortunately, the album that followed was exciting and ambitiously populist, and had enough in the way of arresting subsequent singles to explain “American Idiot” as the prelude it was. “Know Your Enemy” is lively but otherwise unremarkable; if it should turn out not to be a warm-up for a rousing 21st Century Breakdown, I’ll call it disappointing.

Iain Mew: From the title I couldn’t help but think of another Know Your Enemy – the album where it all went wrong for Manic Street Preachers. Then I realised that this is basically “Found That Soul”. Aging punks hit it big with an album of bombastic midtempo rock, wait around a few years because they’re not sure where to go next. Eventually they try to recapture their edge with a mundanely hectoring comeback single that does nothing of the sort.

Additional Scores

Hillary Brown: [5]
Ian Mathers: [5]
Martin Skidmore: [1]

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