Ooops...they're at it again. Two years ago the Northern California punk-rock trio shocked the pop world with their spare, curiously affecting anthem "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)." While none of these dozen tracks are likely to get the airplay that "Time" did, they all signal the blossoming pop sensibilities of lead singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and the endearingly named drummer Tre Cool. Airy melodies, sing-along choruses and big, jovial beats power songs that are more ironic than rancorous. Where Green Day's punk lyrics dripped with vitriol, here, on "Minority," they are—Johnny Rotten, close your ears!—lyrical: "One light, one mind/Flashing in the dark/Blinded by silence of a thousand broken hearts." Strongest evidence yet that punk is dead: Acoustic guitars—and can that be a banjo?—figure in the mix.
Bottom Line: Frogs fly, and Dad gets a Mohawk—a tuneful punk album