As I was sitting down on my couch, watching the Video Game Awards Show last night, I felt like I had been transported into some weird alternate-dimension. Vin Diesel was there. Steph Curry was there. Elon Musk was there. Final Fantasy 7 got a trailer for its twelfth remake/port. The new Xbox looks like they flipped the Xbox One 90 degrees, onto its side. There was no announcement of a new Smash Bros. character, despite the expectation. But the weirdest thing of all was Green Day’s performance…
Green Day’s story is one I probably don’t have to tell. They’re maybe the biggest name in modern rock, they’ve been around for 30 years now, they’re coming up on their 13th studio album, and they’ve created an actual Broadway show. With all of that in the background, I was shocked to hear they’d be performing at a Video Game Awards Show. Turns out, they were promoting a new Green Day pack for the game “Beat Saber,” as well as advertising their new album, Father of All… (which I may have forgot about entirely). But I still couldn’t shake the reality that the group who made Dookie was about to play for a crowd of, honestly, nerds.
Green Day performing “Father of All…” at the VGAs.
When the performance started, the night got weirder. They opened up with “Welcome to Paradise,” a very classic, well-known, and pretty killer track of theirs. Aside from Billie Joe’s voice sounding unlike his 25-years-younger self, it was good, it was fun, and the video behind them was even interesting. Thinking that was the end of the set, I was pleased. But after a tiny break, Billie Joe put on his favorite sunglasses, said something to pump up the crowd, and went back up there. And that’s when I would first be exposed to this track.
If you’ve listened to any Green Day before, the opening instrumental should already startle you. The short, powerful guitar chords and tight drum beat at the beginning remind me of something Kiss or another 80’s rock band would use. And then, Billie Joe erupts with a voice unlike his own. With a rough distortion, and an unusual falsetto, no one in this world would be able to identify who it came from. For someone who has had such a staple-voice for almost 30 years, that’s slightly concerning. Both of these trends continue throughout the track, only adding on a few more interesting guitar riffs, and an ever-repeating clap noise that blows my mind, and not in a good way.
The combination of all of these traits, when put together, create possibly the most bland, uninteresting song that someone could come up with. Lyrically, there’s not much going on. Most of the song ends up being a collection of “Huh uhs,” and “Uh huhs,” as Billie Joe sounds like the only thing he cares about is sparking a crowd. The collective instrumental, while loud, fast, and rough, sounds like any generic indie rock band from the early 2000’s. My initial thoughts, as I said earlier, were to relate them to an 80’s band, however most groups like Van Halen, Kiss, or ACDC, will use pretty creative, and memorable guitar or bass riffs. But with this track, it’s like you took a power-pop or pop-rock band from 1985, and neutered it; which turns it into something that sounds like an old Jet song.
Green Day’s new Father of All… album cover.
After listening to the track for some time, I don’t think it’s the worst thing they could write, but I do think it’s them playing it as safe as possible. For Green Day, that is incredibly weird, and makes no sense, considering they have the word “motherf***er” in their album title. But the only thing this could ever be good for is maybe a soundtrack to a racing movie or cartoon. I find myself constantly thinking this, and all songs like it, could be put into a category called “Hot-rod Rock,” where the only requirements are fast, loud, fuzzy, and guitar-heavy. At the end of the day, this is just my opinion, but I do find it hard to believe their fans will be on-board with this new take on punk/rock.