Green Day – “Father of All” Album Review

Story posted February 12, 2020 in

One of the most influential bands of the 1990s, Green Day still holds their place in punk and alternative rock. Billie Joe Armstrong, guitarist and lead singer for the band, holds his own place in the media’s eye as well. Smashing his guitar and creating controversy at the 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival, he criticized the show’s promoters for cutting their set short. Since then, the band regrouped and released an album in 2016 that debuted strong with fans and critics. Green Day’s latest album, “Father of All…” is short but fun. Fueled by the energy of the band that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, “Father of All…” rocks. 

The album begins with the title track “Father of All…” and it starts with a chord progression that sounds familiar but once the vocals come in, it becomes fresh. “I'm impressed with the presence of none/I'm possessed from the heat of the sun.” These are the lyrics of a punk/rock band that wants to do their own thing. They want to still prove to the music industry that they are still relevant and will not succumb to whatever type of music is popular these days.

It works.

As the album progresses into “Oh Yeah!” the sample Joan Jett’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me” used in the background vocals on the chorus are not overbearing nor do they become the main focus of the song. But using the perfect blend of meaningful lyrics and a catchy hook, the sample keeps the listener entertained rather than feeling preached at. “Everybody is a star/Got my money and I'm feeling kinda low/Everybody got a scar/Ain't it funny how we're running out of hope?” It’s Green Day trying to bring up the message of social media’s impact on anyone from teenagers to adults; everyone wants to feel important and noticed in their best times and worst times

“Meet Me on the Roof” just sounds like a radio hit. Running at a little under three minutes, it doesn’t try too hard. It’s fun, light, and a song fans can dance to. “Come meet me on the roof tonight, girl/ How high is your low gonna go, girl?” Backed by a drum beat and simple chords, the lyrics are about getting together with your friends and having a good time. The style of “Meet Me on the Roof” is popular in all forms of music, but with Green Day’s style and flair, Armstrong makes the listener hear the message and instrumentations as if they are hearing something that has never been done before.

Sticking with the same upbeat and fun vibe, “I Was a Teenage Teenager” is exactly what  audiences can assume it’s about: being young. Sounding like something that might come out in the 90s or early 2000s, fans can tell that Green Day had fun creating this album. “My life's a mess and school is just for suckers” is the good ole fashion angst music needs these days, which has been missing since Green Day arrived on the music scene. This track in particular is not talking about politics but instead have distorted guitars talking about disliking high school.

The next two songs stick to the same vibe that the whole album brings: punk rock and fun. “Stab You in the Heart” and “Sugar Youth” are both either a little under two minutes long or just over two minutes. Fast paced, catchy choruses, and tasty guitar licks and solos make these two songs perfect for being right next to each other. With “Stab You in the Heart” and its’ standout guitar riff remind listeners of not only Green Day’s lyrics, but their skillful instrumentals that fit the tone of their songs perfectly. “Sugar Youth” is similar in that aspect as where the lyrics are meaningful but light, it’s their instrumentals and guitars that stand out in particular on these songs. The hard hitting chords and drum beats fit perfectly with Armstrong’s still strong voice.

“Junkies on a High” is a slower pace than the songs prior to it, where the listener can focus on the lyrics: “Rock 'n' roll tragedy, I think the next one could be me/ Heaven's my rival.” Armstrong has dealt with his demons in the past and still struggles with them, and here he is thinking about the rock stars who have gone before him and reflecting on his own self as to what his future would be after death. One of the more self- reflective songs on the album, it blends perfectly with the tone of youth and growing older while still having a youthful mind.

With the last two songs on the album, “Take the Money and Crawl” and “Graffitia,” Green day reminds the listener of their presence. On “Take the Money and Crawl,” Armstrong sings, “Do I dare say "please" when I'm on my knees? / Take the money and crawl.” Juxtaposing those lyrics with lyrics off of “Graffitia,” Green Day stands their ground and expresses that they will still be making music regardless of contracts or conflicts: “This city isn't big enough for dreamers/ We were all believers/ It's the perfect crime.” Green Day are believers that, despite their age and conflicts with labels, they are still relevant.

While short, this album simply works. Green Day doesn’t try too hard, and no songs seem forced or “fillers” but rather, each one holds its own place in the tracklist to make it a fun and catchy album that reminds us that Green Day still makes music that fans originally fell in love with.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewers Favorite Tracks: “Oh Yeah!,” “Meet Me on the Roof,” and “I Was a Teenage Teenager”

Reviewers Least Favorite Track: n/a

 

William Roche is a junior majoring in film/video. To contact him, email wtr5043@psu.edu.