Green Day’s Father of all motherfuckers is a tight, modern pop-punk record destined to become a cult classic rather than a commercial juggernaut. While its sound and the band’s image is certain to alienate some long-time fans, its numerous, undeniable hooks make it a distinct entry in the band’s discography.
The brief, rapid-fire, anti-American Idiot album
Father of all… was always bound to be one of 2020s most anticipated albums. Early singles hinted at the modern sound Green Day would be embracing. From the artwork to the effects found on Billie Joe Armstrong’s voice, longtime fans of the group prepared themselves for a dramatic change in the band’s direction. Such changes rarely are greeted well.
However, now that the entire album is out and the picture is clear, fans can once again unwind. On Father of all…Green Day prove that older bands need not worry about their age or legacy, as long as they are able to live up to their best attributes with consistency.
The title song begins the record. Father of all…was also the first single and a warning shot. It’s dance, punk music caught under studio trickery that camouflages the band at every turn. The hooks lie in the vocal lines, the powerful chorus, Mike Dirnt’s bass and the cartoonishness of it all. The production sheen may be a bit heavy for some hoping for a traditional punk record, but this is a loose, confident release. This is rock in spirit, if not in sound.
Green Day mimicking bads like the Ramones in song speed and length
Clocking at under 2 minutes, Ready, Fire, Aim is just as ridiculous, fast and confident. While it may be a caricature of old-time rock n’ roll, Green Day do this assuredly, like only a band with numerous classic under their belt can. On this album, Green Day toss off simple, good songs, left, right and center.
In fact, throughout the album, the band never seems lost. Experimentation may be in here, but it never moves past the production layerings, hanging heavy in the background. The songs are short. The majority are under 3 minutes. Almost all songs are fast, filled with hooks, like a garage band charged with writing the soundtrack to a children’s program and ending up getting every kid on sugar-crazy.
If there’s a theme to this record, it’s teenage effervescency. But, it is something that has to be shown, not suggested. This is what Green Day are able to do on songs like Meet me on the roof, Stab you in the heart, Junkies in a high. It could have been pathetic, older men acting like kids, if not for the energy levels kept sharp throughout.
Not the post-21st Century Breakdown, but the older follow-up to Basket Case
In a way, the speed, comedic violence of many of the lyrics and ear-pleasing qualities make this a Ramones album for 2020. Yes, it attempts to sound modern in a bid to enter playlists and win young fans. But, then again, shouldn’t rock be putting up a fight in an ever-increasingly pop-centric world?
Father of all…is an album that can be appreciated as a whole, rather than through the sum of its parts. This is because the ten songs show what the band was hoping to achieve. Green Day delivered a deliberately short, hooky record that can afford to sound preposterous as long as delivers the good: expertly written, danceable pop-punk songs that are both silly and great, just as like the best of rock music.