It may have been expected that my least favorite Green Day album, what with all the recent hullabaloo about it, would be Father of All…, but after a few weeks of listening, I’ve come to like it more than I dislike it.
If you remember “The Trilogy” from 2012, it was Green Day’s attempt at exiting the political sphere and going back to just writing songs for the sake of writing songs and having fun. I believe I remember Billie Joe advertising the three albums, ¡UNO!, ¡DOS!, and ¡TRÉ! as pre-gaming for the party, being at the party, and the hangover of the party respectively. It came at a perfect time for that in my life; the fall of 2012 was when I was nearing turning 20 and had just recently discovered how fun alcohol and college parties could be. So weird, then, that the album representing the party itself ends up being the least interesting.
The album opens with a slow ballad called “See You Tonight,” a nice little ditty which is among the shortest and softest Green Day songs to date. There’s not much to say. For being perhaps not-very-Green Day, it’s fine. The highlight: The simple, catchy chorus melody.
From here we go into the party with a track that wastes no time in telling you what it’s about: “Fuck Time.” And Billie Joe isn’t just mad at chronology. It’s just sex. It’s Billie Joe singing “Oh baby baby it’s fuck time.” It’s pretty obvious that this song was originally meant for the Green Day project called Foxboro Hot Tubs, which was a neat lo-fi old school rock and roll outfit. It sounds just like a more cleanly produced version of a song off of that album. It features an old guitar hook that’s a staple of 1950s rock and roll. The album comes out stumbling, in my opinion. The highlight: The guitar solo is pretty fun. I suppose.
“Stop When the Red Lights Flash” feels a bit more like traditional Green Day, but not by much. This song is still dominated by an old school rock and roll feel, but it feels more interesting than the last track. There’s not really a whole lot to digest here, though, which is kind of a running theme on this album. The highlight: Near the end when the solo stops and Billie Joe quietly brings you back into the chorus hook above a palm-muted guitar.
“Lazy Bones” I believe is one of the better songs from the entire trilogy. It doesn’t feel entirely dissimilar to something from American Idiot. High guitar chords bring you over in over a snappy drum beat, and Mike waits a few bars to join in with his punchy bass. The whole song is really just about depression sucking the energy from you, so everything is difficult, lifeless, and sucks. It’s an enjoyable and memorable song, which is welcome at this point. The highlight: The intro I believe is the song’s strongest point.
“Wild One” starts with this sort of drunken, pounding beat and guitar riff. The song is a slower paced one. It’s not bad, but I wouldn’t say it stands out too much. The highlight: The verse progression and melody are catchy, especially with the background vocals.
The title of the next song, “Makeout Party,” starts entering cringe territory for me. It’s a faster romp, with a simple old-school guitar riff and singing above just drum beats pretty often. There’s not much depth to the lyrics, as Billie Joe just sings “Oh, kiss me there” repeatedly in the chorus. It’s about what you asked for. The highlight: the basswork in the bridge is pretty solid, and has really good tone.
Speaking of good bass, the next song, “Stray Heart,” starts right off with a jumpy bass riff with drums that was basically made to dance to. It’s an upbeat song that’s about wanting an old lover back. It’s easy listening, and inoffensive, but again not really memorable outside of the intro. The highlight: the drums and bass in the intro and verse segments.
The next three songs are all angrier, more energetic, almost Nimrod-like jams. “Ashley” starts off with a bang, is a faster and angrier sounding song. The verses are good, but the choruses feel really forced and the hook isn’t great. The next two, “Baby Eyes” and “Lady Cobra,” are both faster-paced, angsty songs. There’s not really a whole lot to be said about the lot of them. They’re more or less uninteresting and forgettable. But the next track is anything but forgettable, and not for the right reasons.
“Nightlife” is one of the most, and at the time probably was the most, divisive Green Day songs. It starts with some haunting vocals and sparse guitar before coming into a groovy trot of a verse. Things get weird after a few bars, when rapper Lady Cobra takes the track over. Tre’s drums take on an electric vibe, sounding more like a dance club beat than a rock and roll band. Billie Joe really just handles the choruses and bridges in this song for the most part while Lady Cobra raps the verses, with Billie Joe occasionally chiming in. The bridge brings in a guitar solo in the lower registers expanding on the main riff. Truth be told, this is not a good song. It goes without saying that that is just my opinion, and I appreciate Green Day trying to experiment, but this isn’t a good dive; this is a belly flop. The highlight: definitely the guitar solo section. Specifically when there are no vocals going on.
“Wow! That’s Loud” is a faster, Foxboro Hot Tubs styled track that is fun and one of the more memorable tracks. I like that the “loud” in the name is actually referring to the dress the girl that is the subject is wearing, issued as a compliment. It’s an enjoyable song in my opinion. I generally like the whole thing. The highlight: the bridge section where the main guitar riff repeats with some background vocals.
The album ends much how it started: with a quiet, lonely track that’s just Billie Joe and a guitar. “Amy”, unlike the wondrous campfire feel of “See You Tonight,” feels sadder. The reverbed plucking of the strings sounds more like a ’40s film soundtrack. Billie pleads for Amy not to go, that he wants her around. It feels like an album that was supposed to be full of energy just sort of dies off with a whimper. The highlight: The guitar work is pretty interesting and fun.
So, sandwiched between a solid album in ¡UNO! and an album with quite a few bright spots in ¡TRÉ! we have this: a more or less soulless love affair between Foxboro Hot Tubs, Green Day, and the occasional rap or acoustic guitar. Admittedly, Green Day was really just fucking around with these three albums. Between the three of them, I think they wrote probably one good album’s worth of music. The least amount of that came from ¡DOS!. That doesn’t mean that it’s not without enjoyable moments, the only problem is that they’re sprinkled in-between so many uninspired ones. Do yourself a favor and listen to Demolicious for better versions of any of the songs on this.