I love Green Day. I think all three are enourmously talented and they're one of the few live bands actually worth seeing these days. And up until now I've always really like Mike Dirnt's sounds as well. They've been different and distinctive and clear and interesting. But, although on the whole I really like the new record (I predict it's going to win the album of the year Grammy, and deservedly so) and think it sounds great (again, on the whole) I'm really disappointed in the bass guitar. It's like, for the first time on their records, he's just "there" without standing out or being a distinct part of the sound at all. You can tell there's bass guitar, but it's more just 'bottom'... not anything special. I found it interesting that along with the release of the record he made the magazine rounds talking about his new Fender model and the new Fender amps he had switched to... and frankly I have to wonder how much THIS has to do with his new found lack of clarity. This is NOT a sound I would want to seek out. It's rather characterless and generic at best. Which considering how much he has to offer as a player is very disappointing. I wonder if the economics of the endorsement deal trumped sonic taste. Or if it's only a coincidence and he didn't really use the new gear on the record. Thoughts?