Let’s cut to the quick: Green Day are the greatest punk band in the world. They’ve almost kept the same members during their near 35-year history. The trio—Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool—were always the strongest of all the cultural “gateway drugs.” They have nothing to prove to anybody. This is why their 13th album, Father Of All…, is the best rock ’n’ roll dance party you’ve been to in a very long time.
Ten songs, no waiting, no filler. Right out of the box, the title track is a dance-punk party jam that the Hives forgot to write. Armstrong works a falsetto that’s part MC5 homage and part disco fever. “Fire, Ready, Aim” sounds like a forgotten classic that escaped all the compilers who put together those volumes of Nuggets garage rock. If the band recorded “Stab You In The Heart” on a mid-’60s recording console (fuck a Pro Tool), every neo-garage-rock caveman would spill PBR down the front of their Ty Segall shirts. (If you’re a boomer who’s reading, please replace that band name with “Syndicate Of Sound” or “Cheap Trick.”)
Armstrong is still making the commentaries. On the semi-psychedelic, beat-heavy “Oh Yeah!,” you can’t tell if he’s taking on snowflake culture (“Everybody is a star”) or raising a victory flag on beating his personal odds (“I am the kid of a bad education/The shooting star of a lower expectation”). The slice-of-life that is “I Was A Teenage Teenager” reflects on his roots in ways that are both self-deprecating (“Full of piss and vinegar/Living like a prisoner for haters”) and terrifying (that “who’s holding the drugs” refrain). It’s what the Dirty Nil would sound like if they rewrote their signature track, “Fuckin’ Up Young.”
Assuming you’ve read this far (and you weren’t irrevocably pissed off by the first sentence), you know what we’re talking about. “Punk” has always been making your own choices on your own terms and damn the fucking torpedos. The members of Green Day know this intimately. They’re never going to write another Dookie, because they don’t need or want to.
Father Of All… is a party album when we need it desperately. It’s propulsive (Viva Tre!) and hook-laden. It’s made by grown-ass men who know where to buy the best clothes and how to win three-card monte games in sketch neighborhoods. At their party, furniture will be broken, refrigerators raided, maybe the police will get called. Gilman Street habitues, old-school volume dealers and dance-club denizens should all link arms and get happy with this Motherfucker blasting.
Because when all of you are jumping around having a good time to the new Green Day album, it’s a reminder that you’re much stronger together than apart. When they kick in your front door, go out swinging with one clenched fist while lifting up someone who has your back.