Punks not dead, but maybe it needs to grow up.

Search F News...

Album Review: Failing to Savor Greenday’s ‘Saviors’

Punks not dead, but maybe it needs to grow up.

By Entertainment, Featured

Green Day’s “Saviors” (2024)

Drag out your boom boxes, CD players, or whatever outdated and convoluted method you have for listening to music (or more likely pull out your smartphone and open up whatever streaming service you use) because Green Day’s back with yet another album. Yes, the small Bay-area punk band turned Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees have returned with their 14th studio album. 

Green Day tends to put out multiple albums that have similar sounds and messages. Recently, they’ve been on a trend of nostalgia-baiting, non-stop trying to write like they are still the scrappy band of teenagers they once were while being fifty-year-old men. The biggest flaw of “Saviors” is not breaking that cycle. Even the album art exemplifies the problem.  

Opening with the track “The American Dream Is Killing Me” the album kicks off with an energetic, yet ironically tone-deaf start. In terms of the actual music, the song is decent, though extremely guitar-heavy, which feels jarring because of the near-perfect production. The heavy emphasis on guitar feels misplaced, like a last-ditch effort to make the song feel more punk.

Ultimately, the real killer of the song is the lack of awareness in lyricism. Why would anybody want to hear multi-millionaire musicians chant about being failures of the American Dream? Unlike their previous anti-establishment tracks, this track feels less like a critique of American politics, and more like a critique of a class system that the members of Green Day inevitably won. It undercuts the anti-Americana message and makes the song feel unnecessary compared to other Green Day songs. 

The second song “Look Ma, No Brains” suffers from a roster of similar issues. This song also feels disingenuous, but not because of the band’s success and fame; instead it suffers from a lack of growth. It reads like an insincere attempt to rekindle long-gone feelings of being young and apathetic. Instead of apathy, this song makes me feel agitated, and the general sound of the song is nothing interesting. 

Amazingly, the third track “Bobby Sox” does not struggle in the same ways. Despite being a song that romanticizes young love, a feeling none of the long-married members would be currently perceiving, the song still feels genuine. It’s catchy and interesting with a mesmerizing backing vocal that combines with a mostly screamed chorus. It manages to feel charming and mirrors the feelings expressed in the lyrics quite effectively. 

“One Eyed Bastard,” song number four on the album, is nothing short of confusing. It manages to be one of the most sonically interesting songs, and yet it still finds a way to be completely disappointing. Lyrically, this song is abysmal, though its biggest vice is in its strong similarity to one of the band’s earlier well-known songs, “Holiday.”

“Dilemma” finds a way to be deceptively good. This is achieved mostly by the questionable introduction, which is immediately made up for by the chorus and next verse. Once again, this song’s strongest quality is in its ability to feel honest. This song manages to be one of the only songs on the album that gradually gets better. 

Unfortunately, the sixth track, “1981” does not keep up with the quality of “Dilemma.” Instead, “1981” manages to feel like a fraudulent attempt at recognizing the passage of time without actually moving on. “1981” is a slap in the face to anyone who ever actually grew up instead of trying to rekindle a dead fire. 

“Goodnight Adeline” is a baffling song. It manages to be charismatic, yet annoying, delightful and somehow still mentally taxing. “Goodnight Adeline” is a song I want to like, and I feel like I could love, but at the same time, I want it to evaporate and never be heard again. Maybe its biggest vice is being the seventh song in a pointless album from a band that really doesn’t know how to move on. 

Moving on, “Coma City,” “Corvette Summer,” “Suzie Chapstick,” “Strange Days Are Here To Stay,” and “Living in the ‘20s’‘ are truly songs in the middle of this album. I’m struggling to say anything about them individually, but even as a group, I’m not sure what exactly to say either.

None of them stood out as songs on their own, which I find worrying, to say the least. If you held a gun to my head and asked me to say which song was which, I would beg for a bullet. 

The thirteenth song on this album “Father to a Son” memorably bad. A genuine reflection on becoming a parent is a hard enough task, but ask a songwriter whose talents lie in never actually growing up or changing and you get “father to a Son.” A song so unable to connect to parenthood that its title is an ineloquent and weird reference to having a son. That’s about it. Billie Joe Armstrong had a son. (Didn’t he have two? Shouldn’t it be Father to Sons? Did that somehow sound more dumb than “Father to a Son”?)

“Saviors” is a questionable title track. This song is no savior, and like this album, it feels more like a butcher than anything else. 

The closing track “Fancy Sauce” is dumb. It feels like an attempt at reconciling with the life changes of growing older and changing, but it has this incessant need to make cheap jokes and even cheaper lyrics.

The disappointment with “Saviors” is not the weakness of its worst songs, but the strongest moments that make you realize this album could’ve been decent. This is the 14th studio album by a 37-year-old band. There were very few moments of honest sentiments being shared, instead, the album is filled with weak attempts at giving what they think an audience wants when that audience grew up while the band stayed the same. 

This could have been a reflection of how the band’s lives have changed. This could have been an album about how the band has been forced to change continuously just out of the changing industry. This album could have been a lot of things, instead, Green Day chose to write yet another album cosplaying as teenagers with crushes and absolutely no future — a reality any of the members of Green Day aged out of actually having to face. 

The album isn’t great, but it’s not completely terrible. I wouldn’t say it’s worth a listen, but “Bobby Sox” and “Dilemma” are definitely worth your time. If you’re just in it for the music and not the lyrics, “The American Dream Is Killing Me” and “Look Ma, No Brains” are decent enough. 

 

Album rating: 4/10

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 + 16 =