For any real Green Day fan, news of an upcoming album sent you in a mental time capsule back to that time in middle school when listening to its angsty (pop) punk tunes allowed you to reach the absolute heights of edginess. In the 2000s, Green Day jumped back into the mainstream by rebranding itself as pissed-off rockers with an affinity for lyrics that were as political as the punks of old (think Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys) with a moderate sprinkling of sex, drugs, and enough f-bombs to deter you from playing it with mom in the car. We liked it when Green Day used these age-old themes because it managed to make it cool again. And although Green Day recycles the very themes in the “Bang Bang” video that once resurrected them in the mid-2000s, it at least manages to concoct a new, albeit safe, image in the process.
“Bang Bang’s” sound harkens back to the Dookie era, which probably excites the hordes of Green Day puritans who insist that only its pre-American Idiot discography is worthy of praise. “Bang Bang” exists as the bastard child of the ’90s Green Day sound and the 2000s Green Day lyrics, a combination of the thing that originally gave it success and the thing that made it famous once again.
The video is a fast-moving digital version of stop-motion, filled with miscellaneous people and objects that appear to be cut straight out of magazines and collaged together. The lyrics are thrown on screen, surrounding images that are already seared into the American subconscious, like the moon landing, military tanks, and a gorilla whose recent passing is still a source of raw sorrow for many of us. It’s an engaging watch and is certainly produced artfully, but it feels like Green Day is just hurling cultural references at us in hopes of creating something relatable.
While it’s hard to fault Green Day for relying on its strengths and playing it safe, one can’t help but assume that, by the look and sound of “Bang Bang,” another revolution in Green Day’s image a la American Idiot may not be in the cards.
Featured Image By Reprise Records