Album review: Green Day – Father Of All…
PUBLISHED: 09:21 04 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:21 04 March 2020
Can the Cali-punk icons recapture their relevance and sardonic bite in the Trump era?
They've already secured their place in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, been nominated for 20 Grammy awards (winning five), sold an incredible 75million records worldwide and are responsible for driving punk-rock's mainstream revival in the '90s.
With a huge - and award-winning - Broadway musical adaptation also under their belts, lead singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong's descent towards eventual rehab in 2012 felt almost inevitable to complete the jaded rock band caricature.
But, with crowning achievements as both slacker icons firing adrenalized punk-rock gems (Dookie, 1994) and arch rock-opera politicos (American Idiot, 2004), does Father Of All… finally herald a third age of excellence for the veteran Californians, after several mixed-bag records?
Their latest is purposefully, studiously apolitical - many pundits have admitted the difficulty of ridiculing the schizophrenic absurdity of Trump-era manoeuvres, and Father Of All… rails against it by simply ignoring it.
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Wise or not, listeners are left to contemplate the breathless energy of three guys in their forties trying to tap the bottomless well of teenage turmoil, unrequited love, lust, illicit substances and rebellion.
The record kicks off in typically turbo-charged fashion with the title track, Armstrong singing about drug-fuelled paranoia and "lying in a bed of blood and money" among squealing guitars, muscular bass, handclaps and convulsing drums.
Rattling through 10 tracks in well under half an hour, few get the chance to outstay their welcome except the plodding misfire of Teenage Teenager.
Hopping around stylistically now and again, Stab You In The Heart borrows very heavily from 1959 rock'n'roll hit Hippy Hippy Shake, while the lovestruck Meet Me On The Roof mixes Motown beats, handclaps and tambourine with a candy-sweet delivery from Armstrong and a pop sheen that points to producer Butch Walker's previous work with Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen.
In amongst it are plenty of brusque guitar riffs, shout-backs and dead-end lyrical couplets that collectively make for a listenable but swiftly forgettable chunk of pop-punk.
If Armstrong is capable of a truly rebellious call-to-arms record for the masses, this isn't it.