When Green Day released their 12th album Revolution Radio in 2016, many saw it as a return to form. The band went back to their roots after the grand experiment of the Uno, Dos, Tre trilogy. Naturally, logic would suggest their 13th album Father of All… would be similar.
But that’s just not Green Day.
Instead, they took the father of all left turns with this 26 minute album.
Dunking on the Haters
This album will make a lot of people angry. But isn’t that who Green Day is at their core? Doing whatever they want to do and almost reveling in the thought of making people mad. Look no further than their performance at the NHL All Star Game where Billie Joe dropped multiple f-bombs on live TV. (Video is NSFW)
It’s a different sound, but there’s still classic Green Day melodies and choruses if you pay close enough attention. There is, however, a lot more Prince-esque falsettos, glam inspired rhythms, and garage rock guitars.
The album opens with the title track where Billie Joe hits the highest notes he quite frankly ever has. It then leads into the catchy “Fire, Ready, Aim” before venturing into perhaps the most ambitious song on the album in “Oh Yeah!”
“Oh Yeah!” centers on the world of social media and even touches on the U.S.’s gun control debate, all while sampling Joan Jett’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me?”. This was the third single from the album, and when it was released, the band announced they were donating the royalties from the track to two sexual assault charities. They decided to do this because the original song that was covered by John Jett was written by Gary Glitter who is currently serving a 16 year prison sentence for pedophilia.
One of the song’s opening lyrics is “Nobody move and nobody gonna get hurt. Reach for the sky with your face in the dirt” and then follows that up with “Everybody is a star.” The most poignant line is “Dirty looks and I’m looking for a payback, burning books in a bulletproof backpack.” An accompanying video depicts the social media culture we see every day and just how distracting it is. If we match that up with the lyrics, we can get the not so subtle hint that these distractions are causing us to ignore major issues.
The highlights of the album are the four straight songs near the end of the ten song album. “Stab you in the heart” has a real 1950’s rock vibe, and even some early Beatles feels with Billie’s McCartney-esque screams.
“Sugar youth” is the closest to classic Green Day you’ll get on this album. It’s a fast paced song full of anxiety (“I got the shakes, and I’m on fire”) and up-tempo power chords. “Junkies on a High” is the third longest song on the album, clocking in at 3 minutes and 6 seconds. This tune is essentially Billie Joe giving us a look into his own mind and his worldview. It also has a sense of soul searching to it, almost searching for who one is supposed to be. The lyric “Rock n’ roll tragedy, I think the next one could be me” strikes a chord, especially as we sit almost three years removed from the deaths of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington.
“Take the Money and Crawl” is like one huge shot of adrenaline. The song starts slow but picks up with a vengeance. We see the theme of anxiety creep up again with the line “We’ll I’m a nervous wreck, enough to make you sick.” It’s a real in-your-face type song full of energy.
This album will not be for everyone. Father of All… will probably even divide the Green Day fanbase. It isn’t the pop-punk masterpiece of Dookie. It isn’t the sprawling rock opera of American Idiot. This album is in its own category. One that is very simple yet something that gets overlooked way too much today:
It’s just plain fun.