Green Day – ‘Father of All Motherfuckers’

By Tom Walsh

Green Day have never been a band to pass up an opportunity for doing something completely unexpected. From snot-nosed Bay Area punks riffing about masturbation and methamphetamines, to eye-liner clad stadium rockers and, now, straight-up party dads. Resplendent in leopard print and creepers, with each year brings a new iteration from Billie, Mike and Tre.

It’s been four years since Green Day penned the visceral ‘Revolution Radio’, very much a record for its time, in the chaos of a previously unthinkable Donald Trump presidency. It represented an almighty return to form for a band that many had thought were about to call time on their glittering career. The intensity and cutting tone was Armstrong back at his songwriting best, and reignited both band and fan base.

If ‘Revolution Radio’ felt like the release valve of pent up fury, aimed not just at the current political climate but at the lost years Green Day spent working on an ill-fated trilogy, then ‘Father of All Motherfuckers’ is the after party. It’s the trio letting loose, trying to sing like Prince, and creating the kind of infectious songs that will be rattling around your head for days.

The opening salvo of ‘Father Of All…’ and ‘Fire Ready Aim’, is Green Day in full stadium rock mode, with enormous choruses, punchy lyrics and that trusty four-chord structure. There are hints of Joan Jett in the grooving ‘Oh Yeah!’, while the 50s rock and roll-infused ‘Stab You In The Heart’ could easily be mistaken for a ‘Foxboro Hot Tubs’ B-side.

As with all of Green Day’s post-2010 releases, there are nostalgia-laden tracks full of references to young love and chaotic parties. This record’s contribution to the narrative is delivered in the one-two of an almost Weezer-esque feel-good summer vibe track of ‘Meet Me On The Roof’, and the truly superb, angst-laden ‘I Was a Teenage Teenager’.

‘Father of All Motherfuckers’ is a record that pulls you in all different directions. It refuses to be defined by one genre – there are far too many aspects going on at the same time – and, in theory, it shouldn’t work. Yet, somehow it does. 

It’s pretty much the culmination of what Green Day are in 2020. They’ve done their era-defining record, twice, they’ve done concepts, they’ve done political statements and, in their own words, with this record they just wanted to create “a mess”. As a mascot, a unicorn vomiting a rainbow could not be more apt for their 13th album.

Is ‘Father of All Motherfuckers’ an instant classic Green Day album? No. Are those die hard fans pining for a return to a pre-American Idiot going to be happy? Probably not. What it is, however, is 26 minutes of the Oakland punks letting off steam and having a hell of a time doing so.

TOM WALSH

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