Green Day pushes the limits with second album of trilogy: ‘¡Dos!’
A hardcore Green Day fan would be asking, “What just happened?” after listening to “¡Dos!”, the second album of the band’s 2012 trilogy. Unlike “¡Uno!”, “¡Dos!” embodies a style that is unlike anything Green Day has released before. The only thing that comes close is “Stop, Drop and Roll!”, which they released in 2008, under the pseudonym, Foxboro Hot Tubs. With wild guitar solos, walking bass lines and strange vocal harmonies, Green Day made a throwback to sixties pop-rock while exploring themes of lust, love and partying. “¡Dos!” opens with “See You Tonight,” a short and sweet acoustic piece reminiscent of Johnny Cash, that builds up to the second track, “F*** Time.”
This song’s bluesy melody with a Dwight Yoakam-style guitar riff evokes images of a high school dance in the sixties, as well as depicting a violent sexual encounter: “Oh, Amanda Jones, your holy grace/ I wanna choke you ‘til you’re blue in the face.” The lusty theme and Western sound continues in “Stop When the Red Lights Flash,” but it is dropped in the following track, “Lazy Bones.” This song explores the regret and shame of when the party dies: “I’m too mental to go crazy/I’m too drunk to be pure/And my mind is playing tricks on me/And I can’t sleep tonight.” The theme changes from lust to love in “Wild One,” where Billie Joe Armstrong sings about affection for a wild girl who is “strung out on razors.”
The slow, romantic tune also serves as a throwback to old-fashioned pop-rock. The album then transitions back into sexual themes in “Makeout Party,” with lyrics like, “Hey, I think you got a pretty little mouth/I think I want to rub you the wrong way.” As “¡Dos!” creates an atmosphere of confusion between lust and love, it jumps again back into the bittersweet song “Stray Heart,” in which the opening bass riff sounds remarkably like Jet’s “Don’t You Wanna Be My Girl.” The lyrics express regret for breaking another’s heart by one’s own going astray: “I lost my way, oh baby/This stray heart went to another/ Can you recover baby?” “Ashley” has the most punk sound of the album, including an upbeat rhythm and speeding guitar riffs. The in-your-face, blunt lyrics express rage and insult from a relationship gone wrong: “You led me to the well/But wouldn’t let me drink/Swallowing my pride/And never even got the taste.” The following track, “Baby Eyes,” describes a homicidal character that was “born to kill,” having the middle name “Danger.” The destructive nature in this song is similar to that of “St. Jimmy” in Green Day’s album, “American Idiot.” The next couple of songs involve a female singer.
She is introduced in the track, “Lady Cobra.” This song has a country style to it with its Western-style bass line and story-telling feature: “Well I met a girl named Lady Cobra/Her black heart beats crimson and clover.” In “Nightlife,” Armstrong and Lady Cobra sing a duet with a surprising leap into a style similar to Motown. Armstrong sings about the hypnotic effect Lady Cobra has over him, while she seduces him with a sexy rap: “Don’t be afraid boy to come inside/ I got that thing you want/The fix that you need/Chase this with a little lust and greed.” The musical style then takes another leap in “Wow! That’s Loud,” which starts with a Dropkick Murphys style guitar riff and falls into a rhythm and vocal harmony again similar to Johnny Cash. Finally, the album ends with “Amy,” a sweet tune about begging a girl to not leave.
Armstrong sings the lyrics with heartfelt expression, only electric guitar for accompaniment. The song sounds incredibly similar to 60s love songs. It seems that “¡Dos!” picked up the theme where “¡Uno!” left off in its final track, “Oh Love,” and the album spends the entire album exploring lust and love. The retro style of “¡Dos!” clearly proves that Green Day never sold out, because experimenting with so many musical styles far from being “punk” is risky for any traditional mainstream punk band.
Although it is hard at first to appreciate the drastic stylistic risks Green Day took in “¡Dos!,” the band did such an incredible job that the songs can grow on any Green Day fan, and Armstrong’s lyrics still remain the same with their poetic, provocative style.