Billboard recently speculated about whether or not a new album from Green Day could go on to be a big success. The author also highlighted what they'd like to see from the band.
The band is at a career crossroads. It’s tough enough following up one underperforming album, but across 2012’s last four months, Green Day hit us with three LPs, all of which sold well below the band’s usual standard. ¡Uno! dropped that September and its punchy, back-to-basics singles “Oh Love” and “Let Yourself Go” were greeted with cautiously warm reviews and solid airplay on both rock and alternative radio. It all seemed like a polite return to form following the bombast of 2009’s 21st Century Breakdown. But it hardly seemed the masses were clamoring for 25 more Green Day songs, which is exactly what the band gave them over the rest of that calendar year. To date, ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré! have sold 667,000 copies combined, a far cry from 21st Century Breakdown’s 1.1 million. "
I'm not sure if any other place has listed album sales for the trilogy to date. I'm surprised how low they are for the three albums. We all knew they didn't do well, but still, damn.
But could the music industry in 2016 support another American Idiot? Twelve years ago, Green Day might have been flailing, but hits from Blink-182, Simple Plan and Yellowcard made sure pop-punk guitars were a frequent guest on top 40 radio. On today’s dial -- despite 5 Seconds of Summer’s best efforts -- this sound is almost completely gone. Green Day could deliver what sounds like another classic, but it’s hard to imagine mainstream culture coming up with the space to hold it.
They’ve dodged the “legacy act” burden once before and to do it again, they’ll have to craft a different sort of album. Shooting for the stars with another American Idiot is likely to land them somewhere near ¡Tré! territory, and as odious as Trump is, the Rock Against Bush look has aged about as well our memories of John Kerry’s campaign. Billie Joe could look inward, and find inspiration in his struggle for sobriety, which dogged him throughout the trilogy rollout and led to a stint in rehab. A grittier pop-punk sound that still maintains Green Day’s syrupy hooks would do them well.
Billie Joe won’t need to destroy pop-punk, but he will need to make it sound meaningful."
This is something I've thought about as well. You don't hear nearly the same amount of rock music on the radio as you did 10 years ago. At least, not alongside the largest pop hits in the mainstream. But I'm not one to write the genre off. And I do honestly believe that if anyone can make people pay attention to good rock music again it's Green Day.
One of Green Day's greatest strengths is Billie Joe's songwriting. It can be catchy but still meaningful. It can be personal and relatable. I feel like a lot of those qualities were missing in the trilogy, but just as people were willing to write Green Day off before American Idiot, it's easy for people to do that now. I'm really excited too see what direction they go in next, and I have my fingers crossed that it's something that blows the doors off expectations.