Green Day’s “Father of All…” Fumbles


Green Day’s latest album “Father of All...” which was released on Feb. 7 takes a variety of midly successful risks. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Noah Osborne, Staff Writer

I thought that Green Day was going to continue the momentum of their “Revolution Radio” album heading into the new decade. However, the difference between what I expected versus what I actually received was disappointing. Green Day’s newest outing left me ambivalent.

The maxim that one should never judge a book by its cover is hard to follow. With “Father of All…” Green Day lazily recycled the album cover from “American Idiot,” sloppily added a stripped down version of their logo and added a disorienting unicorn that looks like it was drawn by a preschooler. My first impression was that Green Day got lazy with the album, and it shows with the quality of their songs.

Clocking in at approximately 26 minutes, the punk veterans do nothing to contribute to the legacy they have built from the ’90s into the 2000s and the new decade. Almost every song concludes at about two or three minutes, enough time to make some listeners beg for a track to be over while leaving others wanting more.

“Father of All…” opens with a track named after the album. Upon listening to the song, it became apparent that this would not be the Green Day album fans have become accustomed to, but rather something new. Green Day takes a risk here with distorted vocals and almost pop-like tunes which would make anyone want to dance in a frenzy. The sound is almost classic, and it works here for Green Day, as they execute the sound well. It was a risk for the band, and it paid dividends because it is catchy.

However, not all risks on this album result in rewards. “Fire, Ready, Aim” sounds sloppily constructed, as the riffs are uninspired, uncoordinated and messy. Green Day is known for sounding messy, but this form of messy lacks the energy it is known for.

What truly ruined this song for me were the cringe inducing, autotuned background vocals which make lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong sound like a squeaky-voiced teenager. Green Day is still a young band, and even at 47, Armstrong hasn’t aged a bit. However, here and in songs like “Meet Me on The Roof” and “Graffitia,” it comes across as if Green Day is trying to be young.

Anyone who listens to Green Day should know that this isn’t something the band consciously needs to endeavor, as they already succeed at sounding timeless. Between the exasperating background vocals, lethargic playing on songs like “Junkies on a High,” and overall teen pop sound, Green Day sounds less like a band of 21st century rebels, and more like music industry sell-outs.

However, things get complicated, because the album has moments where it does shine. What is disappointing is how those moments seem fleeting. Arguably the best song on the album is “Sugar Youth.”

Formulaically, it has everything that made Green Day appealing to its fanbase: rapid-fire riffs, thundering drums and Armstrong proclaiming, “I don’t wanna be a Romeo.” It sounds aggressive and messy with the energy Green Day is known for, and maybe even anti-hero-esque.

They sound like rebels, and that is where the band excels. They are in their element when they play with this style, and it will make listeners want to jump for joy to see that Green Day has not lost that energy.

The track “I Was a Teenage Teenager” excels in the same caliber, as what starts off with a disconcerting bass riff evolves into string-tearing shredding by Armstong and Mike Dirnt. The song sounds like something right out of “American Idiot,” and fans are sure to love it. Tracks “Oh Yeah!” and “Stab You in the Heart” are an especially interesting dichotomy of sounds.

“Oh Yeah!” embraces the sound of modern rock/alternative with effective results, while “Stab You in The Heart” takes a page out of the rock n’ roll playbook of the ’60s with cheesy guitar riffs galore. Nevertheless, it is catchy and ultimately fun to listen to.

In sum, Green Day fumbles with maintaining their fidelity and trying something new. Some of their risks benefit the album, but not enough of them benefit their legacy as a band.

However, one thing is clear: Green Day has not lost the energy of what makes them so fun to listen to. After listening to “Father of All…” it’s unclear where the band plans to go from here. Let’s just hope they don’t make like the ninth track on their album and “Take the Money and Crawl.”