Over the course of their 30-year career, the members of Green Day have gone from singing about masturbation to producing raging political commentary at the height of the Iraq war, and back again. “Father of All…” is a far cry from 2004’s hard hitting “American Idiot” in a refreshingly cheerful way. While it certainly has a different sound than Green Day’s earliest material, this album stands out for its short, experimental tracks and its (mostly) light subject matter.
Green Day has released five albums since their 2004 success, none of which managed to resonate with their fan base the way classics such as “Dookie” did in the 1990s. “Father of All…” shows that the band has grown up, albeit in a somewhat ironic way. The songs pack a youthful, upbeat energy that doesn’t feel fake or forced. However, the band shows maturity in their risk taking, which makes this album difficult to put into any box.
Some tracks sound right out of another decade, such as the opener “Father or All..:” and the guitar-heavy “Stab You in the Heart,” which sounds like something from the 60s with a unique Green Day twist. Throughout the album, the band plays with hand-claps, different vocal styles and samples.
For example, the album’s third track “Oh Yeah, “ a poppy feel good tune, takes its chorus from Joan Jett’s version of “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah).” However, when the group found out one original writers was a convicted sex offender, they promptly denounced singer Gary Glitter as an “asshole” on Twitter and pledged to donate all profits from the song to victim advocacy group RAINN.
— Green Day (@GreenDay) January 16, 2020
“Father of All…” is a fast album, marked with high-energy songs from start to finish. It is Green Day’s shortest album to date, with a runtime of just over 26 minutes and longest song clocking in at 3 minutes, 8 seconds.
The notable exception to the album’s happy tone is the drum heavy “Junkies on a High,” which features cryptic lyrics like “rock and roll tragedy / I think the next one could be me” and sings of getting high and watching the world burn. Whether it was meant as political commentary on the dangers facing global citizens today or simply an experiment in writing is hard to tell, but it definitely stands alone as a dreary and hopeless track.
While much of this album doesn’t sounds like “typical” Green Day, angsty tracks such as “I Was A Teenage Teenager,” “Sugar Youth” and “Graffitia” won’t disappoint long-term fans. Each one features classic pop-punk guitar riffs, fast-paced vocals and the type of lyrics one might expect from a punk band that got famous making songs about boredom. “I was a teenage teenager / full of piss and vinegar,” lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong sings on the track of the same name, “my life’s a mess and school is just for suckers.”
Tracks like “Fire, Ready, Aim” and “Meet Me on the Roof” also pack a bright and youthful punch and almost sound like a punk take on One Direction-style hits. The latter includes lyrics about escaping a house party to meet a girl on the roof, and, despite its high school subject matter, somehow doesn’t sound weird coming from 47-year-old Armstrong.
From its content to its production to its somewhat preposterous cover art, this album is as fun and carefree as it gets. Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool did whatever they wanted on this album and it shows, but that’s not a bad thing.
After 30 years in the industry and 13 studio albums, Green Day has made its mark, toured the globe, inspired a broadway musical and earned the right to put out the exact album is members wanted to, which they did with “Father of All…”