Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature a song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.
They have been surrounded by controversy from the very beginning. When Green Day brought punk back into the mainstream scene after the 1994 success of Dookie, their debut album, many criticized them for not being punk enough. Actually, Johnny Rotten himself stated that these kids from California did not have enough street cred to claim punk’s heritage, a heritage he had fought hard to create back in the day. But Green Day have stood their ground, surviving fame, a few unsuccessful records, a ban of American Idiot in Walmart, and even Broadway. Yes: they survived Broadway and now they’re back with a new triple album, to be released between September of this year and January 2013.
Green Day originally consisted of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and John Kiffmeyer, who left the band and was replaced by Tre Cool. Since then, this power trio has been riding the wave of international fame. They have a huge following in Latin America, where there are even a few tribute bands singing Green Day en español. The titles of their new trilogy of records, ¡Uno!, ¡Dos! and ¡Tré!, are a clear indication that they believe Spanish is cool. They even bothered to use the opening exclamation mark, something even Spanish speakers often forget to do! As a writer, I appreciate that.
They’re like the American version of one of those classic rock en español bands who were never really, really that big, but are really not bad either. Really. They’re definitely borderline: not entirely punk, not pop either; not commercial nor underground; not hard rock, nor alternative. And now, in ¡Uno!, they experiment with dance music. Listen to it in their newest single, “Kill the DJ” (Available in iTunes).