Five-Minute Record Reviews: Green Day, No Doubt, Mumford & Sons, and R.E.M.!

Green Day - Uno!

In light of Billie Joe Armstrong's recent stage tirade - the sentiments of which we at The Shit totally agreed with, by the way - Green Day's latest studio record comes as a bit of a yawner.  We knew it would be after the band issued "Oh Love", a blatant attempt to mine the "Irish drinking song" territory best left to Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly.

The rest of Uno! is actually quite good - one of the best power pop records made in the last thirty years, in fact.  But do the band's eyeliner.piercings,  & tats audience really wanna be caught dead listening to a Knack record?  Oh how we wish the answer was yes, as our stance has always been "Don't Bore Us, Get To The Chorus!".  Those who wonder what Material Issue's new album would sound like if Jim Ellison was still alive, this album is your answer!

Mumford & Sons - Babel

That a band like M&S is currently flirting with mainstream/household name status comes as a much-needed change from the Ushers and Rihannas and Katy gagas that currently stifle the musical landscape, shutting out the sun and making it hard to breathe.  Oh, but occasionally, a ray of sunshine in the form of triumphantly anthemic title track to Mumford & Sons' new album, Babel.

Everything about this album bristles with energy, passion, and well-directed anger.  This isn't a band lashing out, but channeling both joy and despair into some of the most heartfelt songs to come down the pike in quite some time.

No Doubt - Push And Shove

If, as Gwen Stefani admitted in a recent interview, her solo albums were not meant to be taken seriously, why does the new No Doubt record sound exactly like a Gwen Stefani solo album.  I mean, for being the big reunion of one of the '90s most successful rock bands, there sure are a lot of non-rock bleeps and blips going on here.  Seriously, this is an album that literally could not exist without ProTools.  Holy jesus, it's like a demo reel for what the latest version of the recording software can do.  That's fine for the singer, but it renders the rest of the band completely obsolete.  I shudder to see how lifeless the band will look when forced to perform these songs live.  I mean, there's no way to liven them up with actual human performances, as they're so reliant upon being perfectly quantized and metronomic.  Big bummer.

R.E.M. Document (25th Anniversary Edition)

Wow, has it been twenty five years since my innocent ears first fell in love with R.E.M.?  While I appreciate their earlier work more these days, at the time, I found those records a tad twee for my tastes, but "Document" was an actual rock record.  Hell, it was the first of many to be produced by Scott Litt, who totally understood the band's spirit, but also knew how to make a band sound bigger-than-life.  The end result was the band's first Top 10 hit, "The One I Love", which is actually one of the weakest songs on the record, in our humble opinion.  The entire album at the time was a very political statement, too, and its message rings as true today as ever, if not more so.  In that sense, too, it ranks as one of the most essential records of the last, well, 25 years!

This edition includes a stellar 1987 concert and is a staunch reminder of just how great this little "indie band that could" was at one time.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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