I did NOT expect this shit.
For the uninformed The Network is the UNOFFICIAL (hint hint, nudge nudge, snap snap, wink wink, say no more) side project of Green Day. A side project that I love way more than any of Green Day’s albums in the last 20+ years.
But, I’ll be honest. I haven’t thought about this project in a long time. The day-job band has been churning out such mediocre pablum for a while that I figured the night-time band would never come back again.
Didn’t see the track releases. Didn’t see the band on Fallon. Just fucking missed it.
This week, I was looking up a track from The Network, and fuckin this popped up.
And I can’t express my joy. Just from the fact they even touched the thing again.
How did it turn out? Well, it is an overstuffed mixed bag. There is totally some strong ass 4/4 tracks here, but the album is 25 tracks long. And thats…..far too many.
But, I digress. Lets attack it directly.
A primary concern when it takes you 20 years to do a sequel to a much loved (even if its a cult status) project is “can they still do it?” They address that on track one:
Just fucking straight into it. Big beats. Got that New Wave attitude. Nice little synth lead to go with the drums. All the components are there.
The first track leads you to believe that they really wanted to do it, after all these years. They want to make a fucking record that is as good as Money Money 2020.
And all the best tracks on the album achieve that goal. Lets cover one of my favorites.
You know what this sounds like? A fucking The Network song. It has that driving early-DEVO beat. The stilted vocal execution. Covering things topical and overly digital.
It’s like picking up where they left off. Leaning into that really jangling, frantic sound. I love this kind of shit. Tre Cool does a good job keeping the drumming straight forward and minimalist. Don’t need a million fills. Keep it clean. Classic new wave shit.
They are making some changes to push the project forward. The biggest change from this album to the previous record is the addressing of things topical. Some of it really fucking works.
The Network does alot of shamelessly ripping off DEVO. And I don’t think they have ever done it better than this. This is the pinnacle of DEVO mountain. Its so DEVO, they should cover it.
This song is actually a good transition to what doesn’t work. Ok, so we got some really fuckin kick ass tracks. Some new ventures for The Network. What doesn’t work. I’ll put it in two categories.
First, all the fucking singles.
They just are kind of meh….
Aren’t as compelling as the other tracks on the record. They feel, less creative somehow. Like they were bringing less to the table. I just think that doesn’t work well.
I kind of think they wanted some fucking singles. So they shit out some. It feels lazy and half thought out.
My other issue is worse though…
I would say right around half of the album doesn’t sound like The fucking Network. They sound like Green Day b-sides. There are a fucking ton of them. And the sound is all over the place. Some of it sounds like Queens of the Stone Age. Some of it sounds like Grinderman. Hell, some of it sounds like the “NOT GOOD”-era of DEVO.
And all of it half baked. Some of them aren’t bad, per se, they just are…better versions of the same fucking songs the bands they are ripping off did. They don’t bring the same creativity or energy that they do to the core The Network tracks.
Oh and almost all of those tracks cover something super topical (like the above). Now don’t get me wrong, sometimes it totally works, but when it doesn’t, it REALLY makes the song worse.
It’s very apparent that half of this record are tracks from Green Day that didn’t fit anywhere else, so they shoved it on The Network record…it feels disappointing.
I feel like alot of those songs will turn people away, when in fact there is some really good shit in there.
As the record stands right now…
2/4 – If you cut out the crap, there is a 3.5 star record here, but it is just so heavily weighted down by all the fucking filler. But, don’t run away from it. It is totally worth digging through it for the gems.
Luckily for you, dear congregation, I took care of that. Here is just the fucking good tracks from Part II. Enjoy.