In-keeping with music from across the Atlantic, we're moving to the USA and punk rockers Green Day with their latest album, Father Of All....
As a standalone record, Father Of All... got absolutely slated by critics and fans alike, with its short duration at just over 26 minutes, making it the the shortest Green Day release to date. To anyone from the outside looking in, it seemed like Armstrong, Cool and Dirnt had just released an album for the sake of it, although in reality, it couldn't be further from the truth.
Lead single and title track Father Of All... is one of the album's best, also featuring some great falsettos from Billie Joe Armstrong and a thoroughly underrated bassline courtesy of Mike Dirnt. At just over two and a half minutes in length, it's actually one of the record's longer songs, but still short enough to remain infectiously catchy with every listen. The following Fire, Ready, Aim clocks in at just under two minutes, featuring a more classic Green Day sound with straight-talking lyrics and simple guitar riff, as well as a smattering of distortion to give it a bit of a garage rock vibe. It's the blunt nature of this track that makes it particularly appealing with a sound so harsh it could knock you down to the ground. There's no question that even though it's one of Father Of All...'s shortest songs that Fire, Ready, Aim is also one of the best.
Oh Yeah! is the album's first slower point, marking the first time that Green Day have delved into something a little more anthemic and with lyrics centred around celebrity culture and social media, it's also one of the more relevant tracks here in modern society. There's a nice contrast between the contemporary lyrics and the glam-filled backing with some great synth sounds and coarse-sounding percussion and guitar work. Meet Me On The Roof returns to something a bit more like typical Green Day, although at a bit of a slower pace. It's a lot cleaner and less messy-sounding than some of the album's previous tracks, which allows for a nice contrast in all seriousness. The actual track itself is filled to the brim with a swaying vocal, rhythmic drums from Tre Cool and a classy guitar solo that sets it apart from the kick-in-the-teeth punk that opens the record.
The grittiness continues on the following I Was A Teenage Teenager, slowing it down again for a thumping anthem about the past in a track that wouldn't have sounded out of the place on their magnum opus American Idiot. It's a partially autobiographical tune, marking the second time frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has delved into the topic of his education. After all, he dropped out of high school on the day of his eighteenth birthday. Musically speaking, it's got that shouting, declarative chorus that you can see crowds singing along to extensively when the Green Day circus rolls into town once touring resumes, and with smatterings of a synthesiser and a rugged and purposeful backing, you can see this one morphing into a fan-favourite soon enough. When Green Day said they wanted to go back to basics with this new release, the likes of Stab You In The Heart certainly prove they have done. It’s a proper rock n roll romp with a timeless melody that harks back to the late fifties and early sixties, drawing similarities to The Swinging Blue Jeans’ Hippy Hippy Shake, and there’s a certain soulful quality to this particular track, but that explosive pace is where it really stands out.
Sugar Youth continues this back to basics approach with a properly inescapable energy across the whole two minutes that this track lasts for. It’s gloriously simple with repetitive guitar riffs and only a slight change of pace for the chorus compared to the verses. There’s a certain similarity in melody to one of the tracks from seminal record American Idiot, namely She’s A Rebel, but that’s no bad thing as this fast-paced romp makes for excellent listening. Things become a little slower and take on a little more attitude with Junkies On A High opting to modernise an otherwise retro psychedelic rock sound. There’s something bitter about the sound to this particular track which makes it instantly recognisable as a Green Day song with those deep electric guitar, Armstrong’s dry yet melodic vocal and high piano notes. It’s easy to see this becoming a fan favourite with the obligatory closing of eyes and head-swaying at gigs timed perfectly to this one.
The back-end of Father Of All… is much the same as the front with it being brimmed with both grit and attitude. Take The Money And Crawl exemplifies this perfectly with a distorted vocal and guitar track, smashing drums and a balls-to-the-wall change from that moody and bluesy intro to something altogether more violent. It certainly shows that the East Bay rockers haven’t lost it and attack those signature melodies with even more grunt than in their youth. It’s almost as if the band have got a point to prove. Closing track Graffitia draws instant similarity to The Clash’s I Fought The Law with its melody, but it makes for a positive-sounding end to a great record. With some echoing drums and a simple riff and bassline, there’s a nice purity to this final track and something nostalgic with its questioning of “Are we the last forgotten?”. With that nostalgia comes a reminder of a sound last seen on Green Day’s 2000 record Warning. That album had a certain charm to it and Graffitia just reminds you of that twenty-year-old charm once again.
Father Of All... might just be one of Green Day’s most fun and best albums to date. It’s a case of forgetting your rock operas and heavily politicised lyrics - here in 2020, the California rockers have taken it back to basics like The Beatles intended for something punchy, rocking, and overall an album to soundtrack your summer.
If you want to pick up a copy, I’ll leave an Amazon link here: https://amzn.to/30OsLoQ
Or, if you’d prefer, here’s a Spotify link:
More musical magnificence to come next week!
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