Declaring that a song, an album or a band changed your life is insanely cliche, but when music takes up great importance in your life it’s inevitable. Green Day is one of those bands for me. Viewings of the “Basket Case” music video on MTV’s morning block of music videos in 1993 brought me into punk rock. Prior to that I was familiar with the Ramones or Billy Idol, but I was largely into more alternative college rock, such as R.E.M. or They Might Be Giants. Green Day’s awkward, relatable and catchy music made me a fan for life and opened me up to dive further into the genre that has defined my own works since.
All of that is to say that I am unapologetically a Green Day fan, and will even say that after their horrid most recent effort, Father of All Motherfuckers. I won’t waste any time tearing down that album. It’s enough to point out that in the same year that album was released the band did a stadium tour in which they didn’t even play one track off of their newest album.
Onward to better things, and “Saviors” is a better thing. Saviors is their 14th studio album and first with their most prolific collaborative producer Rob Cavallo (Dookie, Insomniac, Nimrod, American Idiot, Bullet in a Bible) in 11 years. This album is probably a successor to each of these albums in some way, while not quite touching any of them in terms of being a really cohesive full flowing album. That being said, it did feel like an album that you could sit all the way through, as opposed to many modern albums that are clearly a collection of singles.
I did intend to write a review of the album, but honestly I don’t think it’s fair to review it based on a single listen in a record store where I listened with a few dozen awkward music fans trying in earnest to avoid eye contact with each other.
A couple highlights from the album that stood out were the first single that dropped last October, “The American Dream is Killing Me.” The politics of the piece are pretty on the nose, but some of the lyrics ring so true in today’s political clown show that it feels notable. Particularly the second line “When it’s all double talk of conspiracy” hits the nail squarely on the head and right into the coffin.
Another track that was previously released that really got me during the listen was “Dilemma.” The song has a boost of adrenaline that I really enjoy, and the story of this man’s struggle with alcoholism is just so fucking honest. “I was sober, now I’m drunk again. I don’t want to be a dead man walking.” Recalling the very public drunken episode that Billy Joe Armstrong had about a decade ago, leading to his stint in rehab gave this one a certain authenticity.
Maybe in contrast there’s the song “Bobby Sox” that had Billy, a man in his 50’s, asking “Do you wanna be my girlfriend” and the like. It may have been a fun song a couple decades ago, but it honestly felt weird. Maybe it’ll grow on me. It wasn’t a bad song.
The album ends with “Fancy Sauce” and I really quite liked that one. The line “We all die young someday” struck me. Having an aging family that never seems to get older in spirit, but have been leaving anyways has been eye-opening and I think the song captures that well. Again, thirty years later Green Day is still relatable.
So, what is a listening event? It’s just that. The events all took place on January 13th at a variety of record stores across the world. I’d put in a plug for the store that I visited, but honestly their practice of price gouging left a bad taste in my mouth and I couldn’t recommend them, but also won’t disparage them.
The listening parties were coordinated by the collective behind the wildly successful annual Record Store Days and featured some pretty great giveaways and prizes for patrons. I’d absolutely do it again. The early listen was fun and the exclusive lyric book, pin, and poster were a nice perk.
Look how fucking cool this lyric book is!
Stay tuned and maybe I’ll do a proper review. In the meantime, chime in if you attended an event as well. What did you think of the album?