Album of the Week: Green Day, 'Father of All...'


Green Day, 'Father Of All...'
Green Day, 'Father Of All...' (Courtesy of Artist)
Jim McGuinn - Album of the Week: Green Day, 'Father Of All...'
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It must be weird to be Green Day. Talk about uncharted territory. Coming from the late '80s DIY scene playing house shows and then selling over 10 million copies of their major label debut, 1994's Dookie. In pursuit of more success they repeat and soften and it's starting to look like they might fade away, when they drop 2005's American Idiot, a punk-rock-opera concept album. It's another massive success, #1 in 19 countries, 16 million sold worldwide, and eventually, it's turned into a Broadway musical. Albums follow to declining sales and reviews, lead singer Billy Joe Armstrong goes into rehab, but the band fills arenas, not much with punk rockers but kids and moms, dudes and bros. All this stuff isn't supposed to happen to a punk rock band from the '80s.

So what do you do now, nearing 50 and with over 200 songs released in the past 30 years? If you're Green Day, you put out Father of All..., with 10 songs clocking in at a mere 26 minutes - it's a breathless burst of adrenaline, like guzzling Mountain Dew on top of your morning coffee. The word is that Billie Joe spent a lot of time immersed in Motown classics, and has said of the album, "The New! soul, Motown, glam and manic anthemic. Punks, freaks and punishers!" Whatever that means! He's also re-invented his vocal sound as both "Father of All" and "Fire, Ready, Aim" resemble The Hives as much as Green Day. "Oh Yeah" has a troubled past - built on a sample of Joan Jett's cover of "Do You Wanna Touch Me," originally by convicted pedophile Garry Glitter, which has led to the band donating the song's royalties to International Justice Mission and Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. Later in the album the band inserts The Hippy Hippy Shake guitar riff into "Stab You In The Heart," and evoke their love of the Everly Brothers with the melody (but not lyrics) of "I Was a Teenage Teenager."

What I like the most about this album is that it doesn't just rock, it rolls with a swagger and playfulness that's been missing. In the end, Father of All feels more like an EP than an full album, but after the weight of American Idiot or 2016's Revolution Radio, maybe that's just what we need from Green Day. It's also a nice tour set up, as the band is set to embark on the Hella Mega Tour in March 2020 with Fall Out Boy and Weezer, packing football stadiums across America throughout 2020. It must be weird to be Green Day...

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