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  • 311’s Uplifter vs. Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown

    Posted on July 3rd, 2009 Shawn 2 comments

    I’ll keep it simple, I have both their new albums (plus the new Dream Theater, but that’s in a non-mainstream league of its own). This is a sorta mashup review, where I’m going to blast on each album, and choose the victor (in my own opinion) at the end.  If you disagree, comment away below.

    Green Day is everything you’d expect from a 2009 Green Day album. Mainstream punk. 21st Century is another end-to-end story, much like American Idiot was. If you listen from beginning to end, it’s telling a story about Christian & Gloria, living in today’s society (or something like that).

    Musically, within 10 seconds of any song, you are likely to predict how the entire song will flow, and 9 outta 10 times, you are right.  Oddly, some of the songs are heavily borrowing riffs from earlier Green Day and other artists.  Listen close and you will hear a striking resemblance to Obladi in a song. Overall, the story keeps you wanting to listen to the whole album. I could actually picture this album as the soundtrack to a movie or musical.
    My favorite individual tracks are Murder City and Peacemaker.  Murder City most closely resembles the title track to American Idiot (which is a karaoke favorite of mine). Peacemaker has a very different sound, with some fast-paced acoustic guitar and a latin flavored bridge, which is just awesome.  Peacemaker, feels like it belongs in a Tarantino flick.

    Now, let’s move on to 311’s Uplifter. Full disclosure, I have been a heavy 311 fan since the Blue album. I saw them live in the late 90’s something like 8 times (Green Day I only saw live once on the Insomniac tour).  Back in the day, I played in a rock-rap band that liked to cover lot’s of 311 songs.  Now that I think about it, I also covered a Green Day song or two.

    Back to 311. I will admit that their first four albums (Music, Grassroots, Blue Album, Transistor) are all favorites of mine. If you don’t have them all, think of reggae with hip-hip, a tinge of metal and funk all mixed together.  Better yet, just buy them all and tell me what you think.  Though, after Transistor, I feel 311 has been stuck in a rut. Soundsystem in 1999, From Chaos in 2001, Don’t Tread On Me in 2005,  and now Uplifter just don’t take 311 to any new levels.  Let me take exception, Soundsystem is like an extension of Transistor. It’s very good, and more of the same. The following two albums have a couple decent tracks, but it sounds more like rinse/repeat.

    Today, I picked up the Uplifter album and am giving it the first listen as I type. It is like I suspected, but not exactly. It’s not necessarily trying to sound like Transistor. Though, it’s gone more contemporary (soft-rock) with less edge than previous albums. There’s just not enough hip-hop or metal in it for me, which is what I fell in love with 311 to begin with, back in 1995.  Instead of them reinventing themselves over the years, they have just (I hate to say this) watered down their amazing sound with every new album. This album (at first listen) seems like 50% water to 50% 311, just too watered down for me.  I can see it getting rotation on light-rock (or adult contemporary) stations. You know, the stations that ate up “All Mixed Up” and “Amber”.  Both songs are amazing, but I can take one or two of those per album. I want my ass kicked, like “Do You Right”, “Homebrew”, and “Hive” (it’s not ’95, we still go for the hive).

    So, to tally the scores from the judges (i.e. me), Green Day is the unanimous winner, by a technical knockout.  I can’t get enough of 21st Century Breakdown, but don’t see Uplifter getting much rotation in my BlackBerry Bold media player.


    1 responses to “311’s Uplifter vs. Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown” RSS icon

    • You said it bro…311 usually comes out with a decent first single (Hey You is a good song but lyrics are kind of …well…gay)…Give me Hive, Visit, Off Beat Bare Ass any day! What!?!

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