Review Summary: Where's the monkey pissing in its own mouth when you need it
One would have hoped that Green Day learned their lessons from the utter disaster that was The Trilogy, given that Revolution Radio
was the first album of theirs without any gimmick in over 15 years. It still wasn’t very good, but plain ol’ mediocrity was a step up from the neutered, lazy glorified triple album and yet another rock opera about politically star-crossed lovers. At well past 30 years into their career, there’s not much that Green Day can do without some form of blowback, but it doesn’t take a savant to realize that whatever the fuck this is was a bad idea.
The warning signs should have flashed immediately with the release of the lead single/title track, as well as the absolutely hideous artwork. Unicorn puke? Self-referential American Idiot
nod? Ketchup-looking red font? The ‘edgy’ attempt at profanity in the title? The music quickly proves itself to be deserving of its packaging - ten seconds in and Billie Joe Armstrong hits with a wretched falsetto before the track’s limp garage rock revival reveals itself in an oversanitized mess featuring goddamn handclaps in the chorus.
The jury’s still out on whether or not Father of All Motherfuckers
has worse production than The Trilogy. Sure, the latter had some of the most toothless guitar sound ever put to tape, but everything here is so slicked-up and clean-cut with the vocals buried in the background or modified unnecessarily. Given some of Billie’s performances here, they might have known what they were doing. I’ve never gotten the hype around Butch Walker as a producer, and this certainly won’t convince me otherwise. There’s no excusing how godawful the drums sound on “Oh Yeah!”, for instance.
Lousy lyricism has been Green Day’s M.O. for the last 10 years, but Billie Joe is pushing 50 and the best he can come up with in 2020 is such zany quips as “You can take a walk or you can suck my cock”, “Life’s a mess and school is just for suckers”, and “My pride is my pornography, Kool-Aid is my motto”. The lack of emphasis on politics is unusual for his 21st century output, yet the vapid party-hard mantra in its place is just awkward from a man well past his dog days. He may have tapped into that teenage teenager inside of him, but I’m sure Billie was putting better words on paper when he actually was in high school.
Comparisons to The White Stripes, The Hives and the like will be the first ones thrown away because of their ubiquity in the garage rock revival world, but Father of All Motherfuckers
is reminiscent most of Pitchfork darlings Jet, and even the majority of Jet’s songs weren’t this horrible. All this album offers is stale retreads of a long-forgotten fad – the garage rock revival revival, if you will. There are zero interesting ideas, nary the chipmunk vocals, the Weezer wannabe track, the one that sounds like a Verizon commercial, or the half-written song that literally is an NHL advertisement. This is Green Day for the new decade: somehow even more insipid than before.