Label: Warner Records
Released: 7th February 2020
Clumsy title aside, Green Day’s thirteenth (count ‘em) full-length ‘Father Of All Motherfuckers’ is a refreshingly light breeze of retro rock songs that whizzes by in barely half an hour.
Eschewing the grandiosity of their punk-operas and flabby excess of their recent trilogy, the album finds Billie, Mike and Tre in the rehearsal room having pure fun. The title-track features falsetto vocals and 60s handclaps in a rollicking garage jam, the romance of ‘Meet Me on the Roof’ rides on a new-wave shuffle and ‘I Was a Teenage Teenager’ is chugging booze-fuelled punk.
The guitars find a nice niche between the crunching distortion of ‘American Idiot’ and squeaky-clean polish of the doomed trilogy, and Mike Dirnt’s basslines are more adventurous than they have been in a decade. Freeing themselves from scale and expectation, this will never top ‘American Idiot’ and nor is it pretending to.
The artwork for ‘Father of All…’ itself is a goofy graffiti over that totemic album’s cover which seems to reinforce that message of a band done trying to best themselves and simply enjoying their time together. Closing track ‘Graffitia’ is proof that even when they’re goofing around Green Day can produce timeless anthems.
Channelling guitar stabs from The Clash and chiming organs from Elvis Costello, it’s an essential addition to the trio’s canon and lingers in the mind long after its cute coda. All of which is perfectly fine. The decision to sample a cover version of a Gary Glitter song on ‘Oh Yeah’ really isn’t though – there’s nothing punk about supporting abusers.
That aside, is it a weighty album? No. Going to revolutionise the scene? Absolutely not. Three friends cutting loose, loving their band and adding some belters to their stadium setlist? There’s (almost) nothing wrong with that.