The First Reaction To Green Day’s New EP, Otis Big Guitar Mix
Not for the first time, Green Day have been tinkering with their old material. Back in 2017, the Oakland trio reworked the underrated Fell For You from 2012’s ¡Uno! album and gave it the updated title of Fell For You (Otis Mix), layering over more guitars and finetuning the mix at frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s new-ish Otis studio in Oakland (hence the name). Clearly, the band thought it was a trick worth repeating on their new EP, selecting Lazy Bones, Wild One and Oh Love to give the Otis treatment.
And while Fell For You seemingly dropped out of nowhere at the time, Green Day’s surprise new Otis Big Guitar Mix EP is actually, well, no real surprise at all. “I always wanted ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! to be our power-pop Exile On Main St. [by The Rolling Stones], and I understand it sounds a bit stiff and the production isn’t great,” Billie Joe admitted to Rolling Stone earlier in the year. “I love those songs, but a lot of it feels half-baked…”
“Half-baked” is certainly not a criticism you could throw at these three new versions. With the sole aim to “showcase big guitars in a way these tracks have never been heard before”, the Otis Big Guitar Mix EP brings out all the best qualities in this short collection of music, making for a much richer listening experience. Lazy Bones’ opening lyrics of, ‘I’m too tired to be bored / I’m too bored to be tired,’ no longer sound as lethargic as they did in their original form, with the explosive chorus in particular benefitting from this more fired-up mix.
As for Wild One – which, along with Lazy Bones, is originally taken from ¡Dos! – its enhanced production now gives the song the feeling that it could even live on an album as sonically lush as 2004’s American Idiot or 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown, with subtle, gorgeous guitar melodies coming through that were barely audible back in 2012 (or maybe even non-existent).
It is arguably ¡Uno!’s lead single Oh Love that is most worth fans’ time, though. Most interesting is the fact that these songs have arrived following Butch Walker’s pop-leaning production on the band’s latest album Father Of All…, because Oh Love sounds nothing like Green Day’s more experimental side. Its winding guitar solo is even more emphatic here, and rather than going straight back into the minimalist power-pop riff that the single is first introduced with, it instead segues perfectly into the chorus, cutting down the song’s running time and making for a more to-the-point transition.
Ultimately, then, creating the Otis Big Guitar Mix EP was a task worth undertaking for the band. Not only does it improve the chosen three songs from Green Day’s ill-fated 2012 trilogy, it also serves as a reminder that Billie Joe, Mike and Tré continue to do whatever they please, simply because they can.
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