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Green Day - Father of All... (Album Review)

Tuesday, 18 February 2020 Written by Jacob Brookman

Back in the days when you could (just about) get away with using the phrase ‘pussy punk’ Green Day were kings of it, serving up shouty puerile guitar pop for teenagers. Then they redefined themselves as outlaw poets, releasing ‘American Idiot’ and becoming some of the most surprisingly effective critics of President George W. Bush.

Since then, the band has reined in their politics with a degree of success, and new album ‘Father of All Motherfuckers’ mostly succeeds in avoiding talking about the tangerine tyrant in the White House. This is nihilist escapism in the tradition of their early releases, and tracks like Sugar Youth and Fire, Ready, Aim land exactly where they need to. At 26 minutes, this album is not hanging around.

Indeed, from the opening title track onwards, we are greeted by thrashy power chords, smashed drums and frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s familiar double-tracked vocals.

The silent partner in Green Day’s success has often been the production. Their records are engineered to fit into mainstream radio playlists seamlessly, despite edgy titles like Stab You in the Heart and Junkies on a High. 

Such production nous continues here, with updated vocal filters and percussion that has a strangely synthetic quality; the snare in particular sounds like a laser shot. Maybe it’s an attempt to crowbar the tracks into playlists between the synthesizers of Billie Eillish and the Weeknd, and if so it kind of works. 

But the most dominant emotional response to this LP is one of nostalgia. This is largely unavoidable for bands of a certain vintage and needn’t be a problem. Indeed, Green Day lean into it on tracks such as I Was a Teenage Teenager and the excellent Oh Yeah!.

One must be very careful in overstating the legacies of groups like Green Day. Despite their shameless commercialism, they are still punks with nihilism and existentialism at their core. Seeing less professional practitioners of this area of music try to recreate their early energy can be an unedifying spectacle. ‘Father of All Motherfuckers’ doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does demonstrate that the band still very much have it. It could have been way, way worse.

Green Day Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed June 24 2020 - GLASGOW Glasgow Green
Fri June 26 2020 - LONDON Stadium Olympic Park
Sat June 27 2020 - HUDDERSFIELD John Smiths Stadium
Mon June 29 2020 - DUBLIN RDS Arena

Click here to compare & buy Green Day Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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