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Green Day dials it back for new single 'Oh Love'

July 16, 2012|By Mikael Wood
  • Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, which has a new single.
Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, which has a new single. (Los Angeles Times )

"Tonight my heart’s on the loose," Billie Joe Armstrong sings in the lead single from Green Day’s upcoming "¡Uno!," due out Sept. 25. His heart’s not the only thing running wild.

The Berkeley punk band’s highly anticipated follow-up to 2009’s Grammy-winning "21st Century Breakdown," "¡Uno!" is actually the first of three Green Day full-lengths set for release over the next six months; "¡Dos!" arrives Nov.  13, while "¡Tré!" will round out the trilogy on Jan. 15. Clearly, the man who once begged someone to "peel me off this Velcro seat and get me moving" (on 1994’s smash "Dookie") has discovered the wonder of 5-Hour Energy.

Produced by longtime associate Rob Cavallo, "Oh Love" (which premiered Monday morning on Green Day’s official website and has already racked up more than 170,000 views on YouTube) dials down the punk-operatic grandeur of such recent hits as "21 Guns" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"; it has no sawing strings or pianos plinking plaintively.

Instead, Armstrong and his bandmates are back in the brash midtempo mode of "When I Come Around," with a lean, tightly harmonized vocal over fat fuzz-bomb guitars. "Oh love, won’t you rain on me tonight," the frontman sings at the top, offering what sounds an awful lot like a hat-tip to his beloved Who. "Oh life, please don’t pass me by." Later, he admits to "wearing my heart on a noose" -- um, OK? -- before ripping a sweet solo that feels inspired in equal parts by Chuck Berry and Brian May.

"We wanted to get back to the simplicity of 'Dookie,' " Armstrong recently told Rolling Stone of the upcoming discs, and given Green Day’s no-doubt-Byzantine dealings with Broadway on "American Idiot,"  you can understand the impulse. After all, nothing defines a world-class rock band like the late-career jones to return to the basement.

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