Green Day and No Doubt just released debut singles from their respective upcoming albums. It’s been a while since these bands – two of the most successful of the '90s – released new work.
For Green Day, it’s been three years since 21st Century Breakdown, their last studio release. The band will be unleashing three consecutive albums beginning this fall. It’s been over a decade since No Doubt released Rock Steady, their last studio album. The inevitable question critics will have come release day: will these albums follow the tried and true sound, or will they take us in a new direction?
Blueprints for a hit record
Green Day: The Berkeley, Calif., trio broke through with an album called Dookie. With songs like “Basket Case,” Green Day gave California punk a winning combination of pop melodies and punk energy. It spoke to kids all over the world. The band took a chance in 1997 with Nimrod, delivering an album with a mix of influences including ska, surf, new wave. But since then, Green Day has stayed close to the original blueprint.
Green Day "Basket Case" (1994)
No Doubt: This Anaheim, Calif., band found mainstream success in 1995 with Tragic Kingdom. Frontwoman Gwen Stefani’s supple, sultry voice, good looks and stage presence gave the band its edge, while the band played the perfect foil. Early hits like “Just a Girl” twisted punk into a perfect pop confection. In 2000, when their followup Return of Saturn disappointed, the band responded by digging deeper into the sounds of Jamaica with their next album, Rock Steady. No Doubt played with ska, punk and dancehall beats like they owned each style.
No Doubt "Just a Girl" (1995)
New songs compared to the winning formula
Once your band has become a brand, you know what your fans want. There’s such a fine line between satisfying audience expectations, and giving them too much of the same thing. This is the dilemma both Green Day and No Doubt face.
Green Day's "Oh Love"
Green Day’s new single goes right back to the blueprint for their success. “Oh Love” may open with a guitar riff reminiscent of a hit from 1970 called “All Right Now” by Free but, soon enough, it sounds like Green Day. By the chorus the whole band kicks in for a sing-along melody. It’s stripped down, simple, unpretentious pop punk that grabs at your “I’m an underdog” heart. That’s the Green Day formula to a tee. Still, for their fans, “Oh Love” may just perfectly toe the line between comfy familiarity and enough freshness to satisfy the craving for something new.
No Doubt's "Settle Down"
After the explorations of Rock Steady, No Doubt’s new single seems a retreat to safer ground. The return from a long hiatus offered a perfect opportunity for developing the sound of the band. “Settle Down" takes the Jamaican dancehall vibe of “Hey Baby” from 2001 and makes it just a little more pop and a little less dancehall for 2012. As always, Stefani sells the song with her boundless energy and playful swagger. She can still sing, too. This song will please fans as a return to form, although some may miss the deeper musical colours of their previous effort. It may be mid-summer already, but “Settle Down” might succeed as a latecomer to the top summer pop songs playlist of 2012.
What do you think of Green Day and No Doubt’s new tracks? Let us know in the comments.
Green Day announce album trilogy
on Jul 20, 2012