Six Key Take Aways From A First Listen To Billie Joe Armstrong’s The Longshot Debut Album
Today, Billie Joe Armstrong delivered on recent teasing with a surprise release of a brand new full-length album from yet another of his bands that aren’t named Green Day, The Longshot. It’s great, too. Eleven songs of solid gold Billie Joe in full flow? We’ll have a bit of that, thanks very much.
BILLIE JOE IS OFF THE LEASH
As the Instagram caption that signaled the release of this new record said, Billie Joe Armstrong’s sole purpose with this band is to “raise some Hell and do bad things” and it’s in that spirit of punk rock abandon that much of this debut album plays out. When he doesn’t have the pressure or baggage of delivering a record to an expectant fanbase, Billie Joe just doing his thing is glorious. The Longshot sounds like he’s having a whale of a time and the TLC that’s gone into the songs drips from the stereo.
HANDCLAPS ARE THE NEW PUNK ROCK
Seriously, they’re all over these 11 tracks. The Longshot lads’ hands must have been red raw after their sessions down at Otis. A mere 10 seconds into the joyous romp of opener The Last Time they’re at it and rarely let up all through the record. And as anyone with ears will agree, handclaps make almost every song at least 1,039 times better.
NOSTALGIA IS FUEL
There’s an atmosphere about a lot of these songs (Chasing A Ghost, Body Bag) that brings to mind the kind of Americana that seems almost mythical in contrast to the harsh and almightily fucked reality of 2018. It’s a throwback to the era of doo-wop and diners, James Dean and classic cars racing through streets filled with possibility and excitement. Considering how politically wound up Billie Joe has been for much of the past two decades, it’s understandable that there’d be a side of him yearning for a simpler time and you can’t really blame the guy for indulging that now and then.
BILLIE JOE CAN STILL THROW OUT BANGERS LIKE CONFETTI
You just have to look at the evolution of Green Day for all the proof you need that Billie Joe’s talents as a songwriter are without peer in the modern punk rock sphere. But it’s not just his ability to adapt through the ages that’s impressive. Here, he proves yet again (see also: The Network, Pinhead Gunpowder, Foxboro Hot Tubs etc) how he’s got great songs running through his veins, so much so that if you close your eyes and put your finger on a track you’d likely land on one that could be a single.
…AND HE’S NOT SO BAD AT COVERS EITHER
The album finishes on a tender interpretation of the 1980 Ozzy Osbourne classic Goodbye To Romance, which puts a neat cap on all of the nostalgia that’s come before with the lines, ‘Yesterday has been and gone / Tomorrow will I find the sun or will it rain? / Everybody’s having fun except me.’ It’s a sad and somber note to end on and leaves listeners with more questions than answers, but it’s a hell of a closer. Hey, maybe Ozzy can return the compliment and throw in a cover of one of Billie Joe’s songs when he hits Download this summer? G’wan Ozzy, give us a bash at Basket Case…
IF THIS IS WHAT’S CONSIDERED NOT QUITE RIGHT FOR GREEN DAY, THEN HOW GOOD IS THE NEXT GREEN DAY RECORD GOING TO BE?
Not, but seriously, how good is the next Green Day album going to be? If these are the songs Billie Joe seemingly has just lying around in need of a home away from the dayjob, then when it comes time for him to put pen to paper for Green Day? Blimey. Let’s hope it’s soon though, eh?