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Green Day ‘Father Of All…’ – Review

The punk band’s fifteenth record is a hollow, dated affair that says a whole bunch of nothing in its brief run time.

You have to feel sorry for Green Day.

It’s been sixteen years since they dropped American Idiot, a politically charged rock opera that transformed them from a chill out trio to the voice of a jaded and disenfranchised youth confused at their own government. Since that album it’s clear that they’ve not really known how best to approach this dramatic image shift.

They’ve tried to reproduce that spark with 21st Century Breakdown and Revolution Radio in the years since, with mixed results. In between these records they also took a stab at a lighter, more tongue-in-cheek style with Uno!, Dos!, and Tre!, which received less than positive reviews.

Unfortunately their latest effort Father Of All… winds up being a pretty dull and generic listen, plagued with hollow lyricism and bland power chords. It takes the stylistic tendencies of American Idiot and funnels them into a lighter, less creative and substantial project, leaving Green Day sounding a bit washed up and past their prime. It’s repetitive and mundane, inoffensive at best and forgettable at its worst.

For many of us it’s hard to remember a time when Green Day weren’t just three middle aged dudes singing vaguely about revolution and charging hundreds of pounds for VIP tickets.

My first introduction to the band was in 2004 with American Idiot, which as an eight year old I thoroughly enjoyed – it had clever lyrics, a surprisingly eclectic pallet of instrumentation, and struck a chord with a socio-political landscape that was hanging on the thread of post 9-11 nervousness. It was a huge success and rightfully so.

Green Day has been unable to recreate the same magic since, having fallen short of the mark time and time again. 21st Century Breakdown took itself very seriously, while Revolution Radio felt like marketing disguised as activism, featuring cringy ambiguous war cries such as ‘legalize the truth’, whatever that means. I think it’s a nod to fake news, but I’m not certain.

In the 1990s they had a very different persona, one that was more occupied with smoking weed and hanging out with mates than it was addressing the American establishment. That laidback style remains their most popular – Dookie! is consistently voted by fans as their best work, but this century has seen them slowly degrade in relevance and expectation, becoming as corporate and commercial as the capitalist system they criticise. Mother Of All… continues this trend in spades.

The album starts off strong enough. Its opener is an enjoyable, fun power chord fest that’s simple but digestible, while ‘Sugar Youth’ is a pop-punk anthem that younger fans will lap up. Things fall apart quite quickly outside of these songs, though, with most of the album consisting of generic guitar chords and forgettable lyrics.

As Vice puts it, this album obviously isn’t meant to be taken extremely seriously, but that still doesn’t make it good. It also recycles several sounds and ideas from previous works. Even the cover is a rehash of American Idiot’s artwork, albeit with a colourful unicorn graffitiing all over it. The album’s sound is somewhere between bluesy rock and pop, with flavours of Royal Blood, The Black Keys, and old school guitar music thrown in for good measure.

Its biggest issue is the pointless of it all. None of the lyrics stand out, neither do the choruses or rifts. The album passes by with little to come back to, and Billie’s voice is as nasally as ever here. The ‘Meet Me On The Roof’ single treads similar waters to previous track ‘Stray Heart’ from Dos!, and the latter tracks remind me of the ballads from Tre!.

Overall, Mother Of All… is one big album of pop rock filler, and I highly doubt any track on here will go down as one of the band’s best. This project fulfils the band’s ten record long deal with Warner Bros, which could be why it even exists in the first place, and things might get a little more interesting from here on out.

For now, this is a thoroughly mundane experience. How a band that created Dookie! and American Idiot got to this strange, commercial place of irrelevance is beyond me, but this is one you’ll probably want to skip this time round.

out of 5

The punk band’s fifteenth record is a hollow, dated affair that says a whole bunch of nothing in its brief run time.

The punk band’s fifteenth record is a hollow, dated affair that says a whole bunch of nothing in its brief run time.