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Green Day’s “Dos!,” the second in the band’s trilogy, opens with Billie Joe Armstrong gently backed by an acoustic guitar as he sweetly asks if he’ll “see you tonight.”
Then the gloves come off. The next 35 minutes are a manic midnight ramble through a bacchanalian night out as Armstrong and band mates Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt ain’t looking for nothing but a good time. If “American Idiot” and “21st Century Breakdown” were about broad social themes, “Uno!” and “Dos!” have no such sweeping ambition....unless getting laid counts. (The album is streaming in full here now).
And of course it does, as “F*** Time” concedes. The tune’s music is so playful you could twist to it, but Armstrong has other moves in mind.
“Dos!” gallops through the evening, with stops to visit a girl hooked on meth (the driving “Ashley,” which sounds like a holdover from “21st Century Breakdrown),” a yearning for some rest before a second wind kinks in (the propulsive “Lazy Bones”) and raw, rave up “Make Out Party,” on which Armstrong declares “you’ve got yourself a pretty little blouse/I think I want to rub it the wrong way.” (check out Dirnt’s great bass solo toward the end).
Green Day stays tried and true to its rock conventions for the most part, with each song drawing from a different subgenre: for example, first single “Stray Heart” doesn’t stray that far from the genial head shaking rockabilly of the Stray Cats crossed with Katrina & The Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine.” Throughout, the characters are full of the usual discontent displayed in Green Day’s catalog: they’re none too bright nor ambitious with way too much time on their hands. In addition to meth-head Amy, the “Wild One” is “strung out on erasers” after giving up “living on Jesus.”
The biggest exception is “Nightlife” featuring Lady Cobra. It’s a sinewy, snaky, serpentine of a song anchored by Lady Cobra’s sultry spoken word verses. If you’re into Green Day only for the rock, it may be too much of a stretch, but it fits into the theme of the evening as the bewitching hour has come and gone. Next track, “Wow! That’s Loud” features a Who-like wavy psychedelic breakdown in the middle before resuming its straight-ahead four-on-the-floor beat.
The album comes full circle, as it closes with Armstrong, backed again only by an acoustic guitar, on “Amy” (he’s clearly dumped “Ashley”). He pleas with her to stick around, even though she’s “too young for the golden age because the record bin has been replaced.” As the sun comes up, no one wants to be alone.
If "Uno," the more uplifting of the two albums, was about getting ready to go out, "Dos!" is about sticking it out through the long night, through the dark alleys and twists and turns. It's scrappier and messier. “Dos!,” out Nov. 13, follows “Uno,” which came out Sept. 21. The trilogy finale, “Tre,” comes out Dec. 11.