Closing out Green Day’s highly publicized trilogy (starting with ¡Uno! and ¡Dos!), the third album ¡Tré! was not scheduled for release until January, but for some reason (perhaps related to Billie Joe Armstrong’s recovery process) the band decided to just put it out there.
Perhaps it’s just as well. While this third record aptly reflects the band’s journey historically, it’s also a bit anti-climatic.
Where ¡Uno! took us back to the band’s early three-chord punk roots, and ¡Dos! gave us a healthy dose of the band’s high-energy garage-rock phase, the closing installment reflects what we might ironically call Green Day’s “mature” phase. Of course, in terms of punk music (which has always been a genre for the young), this isn’t necessarily a compliment. “Mature” is often synonymous with “boring.” In the case of Green Day, “mature” basically means there’s so much pop influence now injected into the music that it loses its edge.
Like I said, it’s historically accurate. The music on ¡Tré!, while consisting of original tunes, still parallels Green Day’s later work which has often come under heavy criticism by punk purists as being too much of a pop sellout.
Personally, I’m not offended with the whole pop-punk thing, but in this case, I sort of see their point. Honestly, I’m listening to the track list, and I’m struggling to find anything that stands out. I mean, I personally like the riffs in “Walk Away,” and the ballads “Drama Queen” and “The Forgotten” are pretty and all (the latter incorporating some tasteful piano and strings), but otherwise this album is fairly bland compared to the other two records in this series. Nothing that could be considered a mis-step, but nothing that just plain rocks, either.
As a trilogy, this three-record set is certainly not the worst of Green Day, and could hardly be called a flop. There are definitely some solid moments in the series, and it very well be a trilogy that had to be made. But taking all things into account, ¡Tré! is the weakest of the three, having more value for its historical reflection of the band than for the music itself.