Monday, January 23, 2012

Green Day: Awesome as ... usual?

Including the never-before-released track "Cigarettes and Valentines," the live album "Awesome as Fuck" offers little else that is truly "new."

Granted, the official release of live tracks from the fantastic "21st Century Breakdown" are welcome additions to the Green Day collection. But the rest of the material isn't much different from the last full-length live Green Day release, "Bullet in a Bible." Nor does it include some of the material that had been released on iTunes in the collection "Last Night on Earth: Live in Tokyo."

You get a couple of tracks from "American Idiot," as well as some earlier hits (I'm sure we all needed "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" stuck in our heads again). The songs from "21st Century Breakdown" are the highlights, especially the interaction that takes place on "21 Guns."

The song "Cigarettes and Valentines" is rather enjoyable, and was the title track of the album that was being created prior to the development of "American Idiot." The song is catchy, which is a quality that Green Day has always been able to achieve, and gives me some anticipation for the next album's release.

Live albums sometimes seem to be holding-pattern releases, something to throw to fans (or generate revenue) while new projects are undertaken. This one seems to fit that mold; it's enjoyable, but hardly necessary. I'd have loved a full concert version of "21st Century Breakdown" (especially as I think the album may be their single finest collection of songs, trumping "American Idiot" even). A concert of highlights is ok, but there's nothing here that will convert new fans or stun old ones. It's worth having, but not worth chasing down.

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