The punk-rocker Billie Joe Armstrong and the late Motown legend Sam Cooke? The songwriting credit in question refers to ¡Tre!’s opening salvo Brutal Love, which channels Cooke’s Bring It on Home to Me with lashes of epic guitar and -stadium-rock grandeur.
There is a new-found sensitivity in ¡Tre! – the final of a trilogy of albums released this year – that becomes particularly plaintive, considering Armstrong’s current stint in rehab. “You’re numb to your old glory / But now it’s gone,” Armstrong laments on X Kid, one of the many introspective rockers on the album.
The navel-gazing is tempered with some of the prettiest harmonies the Berkeley band have put on record. Missing You’s simple but affecting chorus glistens and A Boy Named Train has a swagger. ¡Tre! ends with the Abbey Road-inspired piano ballad The Forgotten – a summation that is as musical as it is emotional.
The trilogy found the group ticking off nearly all of rock’s genres and exorcising a lot of demons in the process. It clearly proved too much for Armstrong, but his scheduled return to the stage next June should hopefully be the real – and more joyful – conclusion to the saga.