Review : Green Day - Awesome as F**k
PopmattersAh, the live album. As the major-label record industry continues to wither, the idea of the live album as a stopgap commercial product to tide over fans between studio albums still lingers. Which isn’t to say all live albums are cynical releases intended as money-grabs. There are plenty of good-to-great live performance documents out there. And plenty of good reasons to put out live albums that don’t fall under the “it’s gonna be a while until our next real album comes out, so we’re throwing you a bone” mentality. But Green Day’s Awesome as F**k has a bit of the odor of a record-company stopgap about it. It’s been about two years since 21st Century Breakdown came out, with no news that the band has even thought about heading back into the studio or started writing material for a new album yet. Considering the five-year break between American Idiot and Breakdown, this isn’t really surprising.
So here comes Awesome as F**k in the interim. To Green Day’s credit, they are at least trying to do something different for this, their second live release. 2005’s Bullet in a Bible was a CD/DVD affair that captured 14 songs drawn from a 2-night stand in a huge amphitheater setting in England. This new album is also a CD/DVD combo pack, but the two discs are significantly different. The album features 17 tracks, each taken from a different concert, while the DVD contains a single show filmed in Saitama, Japan. While 11 of the songs are common to both discs, only “Geek Stink Breath” is the same performance on both the CD and DVD. But since Reprise didn’t see fit to send out the DVD for review, the rest of this write-up will focus on the CD portion of the release....full text
VentvoxGreen Day’s first foray into the punk live album, “Awesome as F**k” isn’t “The Clash: Live At Shea Stadium.” Whereas that album showcased a seminal band on the cusp of stardom, “Awesome As F**k” is a misleadingly named greatest hits collection compiled as a final cash-in from the “21st Century Breakdown” stadium tour.
The overwhelming crowd noise practically drowns out Green Day as they rush through a set that encompasses a few of their earliest recordings. Oddly enough, “Awesome as F**k” isn’t an audiophile’s dream because the whistles, catcalls and screaming fans are apparently just as an important focus as the corporate alt-rock. Billie Joe Armstrong’s stage banter is fairly banal to boot. At this point in Green Day’s career, would you expect anything less? As a live album, “Awesome as F**k” is abysmal and borders on parody. However, if you’re a tween just getting into mall culture and punk rock, this album could be your new favorite....full text
AvclubOf all the bands that snuck onto the radio during the post-Nirvana alt-rock boom, who would’ve guessed that the bratty pop-punk act Green Day would still be one of the biggest draws, with multiple Grammy Awards and a Broadway show on its résumé? In keeping with the band’s entry into the rock establishment, Awesome As F**k is Green Day’s third official live LP, after 1996’s Foot In Mouth and 2005’s Bullet In A Bible. Green Day has only released one studio album since the 2005 live record, but Awesome As F**k doesn’t repeat much from its predecessor, nor does it lean too heavily on 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown, which provides only five of Awesome’s 17 tracks. Instead, this album is something of a victory lap, as Green Day plays its most popular songs—and a few deep cuts—in front of huge, roaring crowds.
The big attraction for Green Day fans will be a performance of the thundering throwback “Cigarettes And Valentines,” a song from the band’s scrapped album of the same name. The song suffers some—as does everything on Awesome As F**k—from what Camper Van Beethoven once called the “greatest hits played faster” effect of live albums, as soupy sound mixes and pedal-to-the-metal performances erase much of the nuance. Still, when frontman Billie Joe Armstrong exhorts the audience to make some noise as the band races toward the finish of “Know Your Enemy” or “Going To Pasalacqua,” the energy generated both by Green Day and its screaming fans is, if nothing else, all the explanation needed for how these guys have stayed at the platinum level for more than 15 years....full text
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