Green Day imploded after the December 2012 release of Tre, the final part of a triple-album project. The very unwieldiness of Uno, Dos, and Tre -- all released in rapid succession in the autumn of 2012 -- suggested that Green Day were perhaps suffering from a lack of focus, but the group wound up taking a forced hiatus once leader Billie Joe Armstrong entered rehab in the middle of the triple-album rollout. Given all this chaos, it's hard not to view 2016's Revolution Radio as a consolidation, a way for the band to shake off all distractions and get back to basics. Discarded alongside the mess and garage rock affectations that marked Uno, Dos, and Tre is any sense of concept at all -- a marked departure from their work of the past 15 years. Green Day may no longer be writing rock operas, but despite a title that seems swiped from the Clash, Revolution Radio retains a sense of righteous indignation reminiscent of prime Who that the trio channeled on American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown. Without a concept, the stabs at social significance sting a little harder -- granted, Armstrong makes it impossible to miss the meaning of the anti-mass shooting "Bang Bang" or the self-explanatory "Troubled Times" -- but this concentration on individual songs also shifts the focus back to how the band really can craft dynamic rock songs. Often, this means their best songs are the simplest -- the heavy-booted swing of "Say Goodbye" or the frothy, clap-along "Youngblood" -- but the mini-epic of "Forever Now" shows they've retained the flair for the dramatic that they developed on American Idiot. If Revolution Radio can seem a little too pat -- the concluding ballad "Ordinary World" is a conscious callback to both "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and "Wake Me When September Ends" -- such discipline was needed after the ungainly sprawl of 2012. Here, Green Day have nothing more in mind than righting their ship, and that's precisely what they do.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine