While we all wish for the glory days of 1994’s Dookie to return, Green Day has gradually made us accept the fact that its sound is ever-changing. The band’s new album, Father of All Motherf——, seems to completely stray from the sound Green Day made us fall in love with more than two decades ago. The single “Oh Yeah!” is one of three songs released from the new album so far, and while it has the traditional rock ’n’ roll guitar and hard-hitting drums of a standard rock song, it misses the raunchy and fast punk vibe that undertones Green Day’s previous work.
Sampling from Joan Jett’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah),” the song starts out with a driving drum beat before launching into a repeated series of “oh yeah.” Unfortunately, the drums on the song clearly underutilize Tré Cool’s skills as an extremely talented musician, luring him into a slow beat without allowing him to add in the speedy improvisations he’s become known for.
Entering next is lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong. Despite his great lyrical delivery, the auto-tuning of his voice simply detracts from the song. Without the processed-sounding vocals of Armstrong, “Oh Yeah!” would surely be more tolerable. His voice is still in excellent shape, but the mixing of “Oh Yeah!” does him no justice. Armstrong’s voice, across previous Green Day songs, makes up a significant part of the band’s signature punk-angst sound. Without his classic sound, which appears only slightly through the auto-tuning, Green Day doesn’t quite sound like Green Day.
The one good thing about “Oh Yeah!” is its meaningful lyrics and their message, touching upon the violence some American schools are experiencing amid school shootings and lack of gun control. The lyrics “I am a kid of a bad education” and “Burning books in a bulletproof backpack” evoke powerful images and thoughts about an important and pressing issue.
“Oh Yeah!” generates mixed feelings from die-hard Green Day fans. On one hand, the band’s new sound is appreciated as Green Day branches out beyond what it’s generally stuck to for more than 20 years. This expansion, however, just isn’t executed properly. While Green Day may have been trying to stray from making another punk record, the band ultimately produced a song that sounds like garage rock played by a seemingly commercialized and inexperienced group, which is certainly not what Green Day is.
A band as legendary as Green Day producing canned pop rock doesn’t sit well with those who have followed the band’s music from Kerplunk! to American Idiot. “Oh Yeah!” only makes fans long more and more for the good ol’ punk days, as the song is ultimately an unsuccessful attempt at revitalizing Green Day’s sound.
Pooja Bale covers music. Contact her at [email protected].