Updated: Mar 4
Green Day! The band that sang the hits of the ‘90s and early 2000’s with songs like “Basket Case,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” and “American Idiot.” Where are they now and what’s their relevance today?
Green Day, originally Sweet Children, started out in the Bay Area of California in the early ‘90s inspired by and playing punk rock. The frontman of the band, Billie Joe Armstrong, guitarist and vocalist is known for his outspoken attitude and vulgar vocabulary. Mike Dirnt, childhood best friend of Armstrong, plays bass, and Trè Cool is on drums. Their sound might have been inspired by punk, but so was their wardrobe. Armstrong is notorious for his jet black hair and eyeliner, Trè Cool often sports eyeliner in addition to dying his hair an array of colors, and lastly Mike Dirnt skipped the eyeliner and just goes for bold bleached hair. While Green Day has been around for 32 years, they have been recognized for their art, being nominated for 20 Grammys, and winning five. One of their biggest accomplishments is their 2004 punk-rock opera album and Platinum Grammy winner, American Idiot. The album was also later turned into a Broadway show. American Idiot follows the character Jesus of Suburbia and his coming of age story, as a teen living in the post 9/11 world. Green Day has never stopped releasing music, and even was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
But what’s with Father of All Motherfuckers? Better known as Father of All…, Green Day’s thirteenth studio album was released on February 7, 2020. It’s been awhile since Green Day had public success on a grand scale since 2009, although they continued to release albums every couple of years. After their four year break, they released something that I think resonates with the current state of our society.
The first track of the album is also titled ‘Father of All…’ starts out with loud bass, drums and guitar but then immediately the listener can be thrown off by the pop-sounding vocals that enter. Are they Armstrong? Is this his falsetto? Apparently, yes. This falsetto, along with high backing vocals and vocal harmonies are carried throughout the entire album. Another element that is found in nearly, if not every song on the record, is clapping. I also found an unusual abundance of tambourine. With that being said, there is a sense of continuity in the album especially in the instrumentation and production. Although evolution is vital for an artist, thinking of a diehard fan’s perspective, I could see how this album would disappoint them as they stray from their classic three chord, punk form, and often smells like Arctic Monkeys (band). In ‘Stab You in the Heart’ Armstrong returns to his familiar singing, in a more rock song, weaved with blues influences and a killer guitar solo. In USA Today, Billie Joe Armstrong was interviewed on the purpose of Father of All… “We went into it wanting to make a sort of old-timey rock 'n' roll record that traces the history of rock 'n' roll.” I think this sentiment is an interesting point, as he then goes on to describe how they wanted to stray away from the idea of politics, to make something that can distract you from what’s going on in the country. Thinking of the purpose of the album, it almost seems like this album was orchestrated for this time in our era, being only ten songs, just under thirty minutes total. The short length in both album and songs, is appropriate for the instant gratification culture we are currently in. On top of what they did musically, they came out with a marketing plan that spoke on social media; a unicorn throwing up a rainbow. This image was on their album, in addition to Instagram filters and stickers.
LONG STORY SHORT: Green Day knows the current social climate and capitalized on that. After resurrecting themselves after four years of silence, Father of all Motherfuckers is an album made up of short rock-esque songs, memorable hooks, coated in pop. A record of easy listening, to blast during a (short) car ride.