America’s foremost punks have been plenty ambitious with their most recent albums: There’s the essential rock opera (2004’s American Idiot), the not-so-essential second rock opera (2009’s 21st Century Breakdown), and a trilogy released in the span of three months (2012’s ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, and ¡Tré!).
But on their 12th studio LP they’re dialing down the excess, and the result is a focused set that rocks as fearlessly as their Gilman Street glory days. Billie Joe Armstrong is as pissed as ever, but on cuts like the title track, the target of his ire is vague.
And that’s a bummer. The inanity of this year’s election cycle could’ve inspired potent attacks from such a permanent radical. He’s more captivating when alluding to his own struggles: “Still Breathing” isn’t just one of their most rousing songs, it’s also one of their best.
A three-minute blast of life-affirming punk—and some of Billie Joe Armstrong’s most confessional lyrics.
The boys veer into hardcore territory on this chilling indictment of gun violence in America.