- Released: 2020
- Origin: East Bay, California, USA
- Label: Reprise
- Best Track: Oh, Yeah!
There was a sizeable period of time in my life where I would have called Green Day my favourite band. We’re talking from about 1999 to 2001, after the release of Nimrod and before, during and after Warning.
The latter being a bit of a hit-and-miss album probably put them a bit down the pecking order, and then American Idiot came along in 2004, seeing the band venture into rock opera. It was, and is, a very good album, but the stadium rock direction they went towards after that made me think the band were no longer really talking to people of my generation or mindset, so I’ve not listened to much of what they’ve done since.
Still, I read a really good article once (can’t find it now) arguing that far from being sell-outs, Green Day are actually a lot more in the spirit of punk than some of their more underground contemporaries like NOFX and Bad Religion, who are sticking to much the same sound and formula with every album. Green Day do something significantly different every time they release a new record, not caring whether it’s what critics or punk circles want or expect.
When I saw that the band’s 13th album, Father of All Motherfuckers, clocked in at less than half an hour, I was hopeful it might be along the lines of Insomniac – the 1995 album that followed Dookie and saw the band take a surprisingly raw and radio-unfriendly turn away from the mainstream, with two-minute-or-under songs about difficulty sleeping, drug addiction and anxiety.
Unfortunately, the main reason I’m pleased with this album’s short playing time is because it is, in my opinion, pretty dire, and 26 minutes is more than enough of it!
There are a few peaks. I like the single ‘Oh, Yeah!’ with its ’80s aura, and it’s unlike anything I’ve heard from them before, so I’m not against them branching out a bit. ‘Sugar Youth’ is decent too, with a great riff on the verse.
But for the main part, this album really drags for me despite it’s short length. Overproduced and uninspired, it has the feeling of a band going through the motions. ‘Stab You in the Heart’, for example, seems like an unsubtle borrowing of The Beatles’/Chan Romero’s ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’. Billie Joe Armstrong’s vocals sound computer-aided on several of the tracks in a way that I just can’t stand, especially on “Junkies On a High”.
Plus, there are some seriously tired and puerile lyrics on this record. I know I’m talking about a band who have written several songs about masturbation, but at least the likes of Longview were delivered with humour and self-reflection. On ‘Take the Money and Crawl’, Armstrong comes out with “So you can take a walk or you can suck my cock… Oh yeah, it’s just my luck, but I don’t give a fuck”. Come on, lads, you’re nearly 50!
So, this is one to avoid for me, and confirmation that me and the band have grown apart. Perhaps just now and again, it wouldn’t do any harm if Green Day did as we expected.