Following a chaotic sprawl of messy concept albums in 2012, Green Day returned to form in 2016 with the serviceable Revolution Radio. Hearing the band get back to their three-chord punk roots was refreshing, if the songs sometimes leaned generic. With their 13th studio album, Father of All..., the trio take an aggressive about-face into high-energy glam punk with the most danceable songs they've produced in their 30-plus-year run. Kicking off with the stomping title track (both the song and album also known as "Father of All Motherfuckers" in their uncensored form), Green Day inject a plethora of unfamiliar elements into their sound. Falsetto vocals, handclaps, and a chorus full of grimy hooks land the song somewhere between a speedy reworking of the two-chord riff from Jimi Hendrix's "Fire" and the most club-ready bands of the early-2000s rock revival. "Oh Yeah" calls on the chunky beat and snotty chorus of the Gary Glitter-penned Joan Jett hit "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)," amping up the song's already glammy swagger. This style continues on the shuffling "Stab You in the Heart," the Clash-modeled "Graffitia," and the bouncy dance-pop of "Meet Me on the Roof." For all the power balladry, rock opera dabbling, and other sidebars of their long career, much of Father of All... is new territory for the group. Even moments that draw closer to past material like the slow-moving angst of "Junkies on a High" are enhanced by production experiments with vocal samples, piano parts, and electronic touches. Reveling in a sense of abandon, the album is a different kind of fun than we're used to from Green Day. It's also their most streamlined album to date, with ten songs clocking in at an economic 26 minutes and 16 seconds. Light years away from their slap-happy pop-punk beginnings, Green Day are watching the world burn from an air-conditioned dance floor on Father of All.... While the album doesn't deliver their most memorable songs, its wild glam experimentation and attitude-heavy performances show a band still seeking new thrills even decades in.
Father of All... Review
by Fred Thomas