Remember how, after he thought it'd been long enough for everyone to forget about Pinkerton, Weezer's Rivers Cuomo put out the green album, went back on MTV, and sang a bunch of frothy pop songs that never even pretended to mean anything? Catchy, featherweight singles like “Hash Pipe” and “Island in the Sun” marked the band's transition from a young, cultish group with some seriously awkward feelings to a simple-minded pop-rock band that was fun (sorta) but no longer dangerous. No more redheads shredding the cello or incendiary crushes on lesbians — Weezer became one more radio staple, another vaguely quirky hit factory that happened to play guitars.
After a few listens to Green Day's new single, “Oh Love” — the first taste of the band's trio of upcoming albums — we're wondering if the Bay Area punk trio isn't heading for a similar place. It's too early to say exactly what Green Day's new vibe will be, but a new one is certainly in order: These guys just spent almost a decade hawking the operatic angst of American Idiot — maybe their most important album of all — and its follow-up, 21st Century Breakdown. Both of these records were born of the high-contrast distress of the Bush era, and tried to wrestle with a warring, oppressively unfair world using anarchy signs, stadium rock, and cute red ties.