GREEN DAY – FATHER OF ALL… album review


Reprise, 2020

Alternative rock/Some approximation of garage rock

Did… didn’t Green Day already do this? Didn’t they already attempt to do some kind of garage rock revival album back in 2008 with the Foxboro Hot Tubs? Did they forget they made that entire album? Actually, sometimes I feel like I’m the only person who remembers it, so maybe they did forget. Anyway, Father of All… is Green Day’s thirteenth studio album and the driving idea is that the band is tired of making thematically heavy and political music. They just wanted to make a pretty straight forward rock album. And I get that, especially in today’s political climate. The expectation to make the American Idiot of Trump’s America can weigh heavy on you and be exhausting. But I feel like maybe they went a little too far.

There’s no easy way around it, this isn’t very good. Now, Green Day hasn’t released a great album in quite some time, so the bar is already low, but this just stomps it into the dirt. Like I mentioned before, the sound they’re going for is reminiscent of the garage rock revival of the early ’00s. There’s hints of glam, rock ‘n’ roll, and Motown, and it’s fun for the first listen. But this album sounds like the worst parts of a Jet album, but lacks the charm that makes you sing along when “Cold Hard Bitch” comes on the radio; like what little soul was there has been sucked out.

There is one vaguely bright spot in “Sugar Youth” that sounds the closest to an actual pop-punk song. But it’s one of the shortest songs on the album and it’s still not immune to hand claps and garage band riffs. Another that comes close is “Stab You in the Heart” that approaches horror punk with a ’60s rock feel. But then you realize that it would have been better if it was done by an actual horror punk band like The Cramps. The title track sounds like it’s ripping off Eagles of Death Metal, “I Was a Teenage Teenager” sounds like it’s ripping off a bad Weezer song, and “Junkies on a High” sounds like they’re badly ripping off themselves.

The lyrics aren’t very good either, but that’s to be expected when they’re trying to get away from being political. There are some hint’s a current events, but overall this is just the dumb album that they wanted it to be. “I Was a Teenage Teenager” is particularly light on the lyrics despite being the longest song on the album. And I normally don’t criticize album covers, but this one is just awful. We get it, you’re trying to make the opposite of American Idiot. Why don’t you beat it into our heads a little harder?

Overall, Father of All Motherfuckers (it’s the end of the review, I don’t have to censor it anymore) is probably the biggest misstep of Green Day’s career. I can understand wanting to free yourself from certain expectations, but I feel like pushing the “Fuck, go back!” button from that one meme. They’re trying so hard to not do something that they forgot to make the songs actually good. You end up with a slog of an album that’s less than 30 minutes long. And I’m going to remind everyone again that they already did this better with the Foxboro Hot Tubs album, Stop Drop And Roll!!! in 2008, in the midst of their most political era. I guess a good thing about this is they can only go up from here, right?