The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Review | Green Day misses the mark on ‘Saviors’

The rock legends have had a long and storied career, but on their newest album, they can’t grab onto the high bar they’ve set for themselves.
Green+Day+performs+at+the+Harley-Davidson+Homecoming+Festival+celebrating+the+companys+120th+anniversary+on+Friday+July+14%2C+2023+at+Veterans+Park+in+Milwaukee%2C+Wis.
© Jovanny Hernandez / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK
Green Day performs at the Harley-Davidson Homecoming Festival celebrating the company’s 120th anniversary on Friday July 14, 2023 at Veterans Park in Milwaukee, Wis.

After four long, eventful years of anticipation, pop-punk icon Green Day is back with a new album, titled “Saviors.”

Sadly, if you had told me this collection was the result of typing “make a pop-punk album” into ChatGPT, I wouldn’t have doubted you for a second.

I went into this album with a deep wariness. Green Day has a legendary discography, but nearly 40 years as the face of a genre that emphasizes simplicity but is now as brutally corrupted as pop punk — looking at you, Machine Gun Kelly — would probably leave any band drawn to producing corporate-friendly material.

Green Day has not had a strong showing in quite a while. I couldn’t write an honest review of their 2020 album, “Father of All Motherf***ers,” that would be family-friendly enough for publication.

Nonetheless, knowing the band was capable of producing a great project front-to-back at one point in their career, I tried to keep an open mind.

In return, I got the sonic equivalent of a glass of skim milk — not exactly disgusting, but far from refreshing. From a technical standpoint, the album had more or less the same attributes as the rest of their career: Power chord-driven, sarcastic, and youthful — exactly what they were doing in the best years of their career.

However, in 2024, long after pop punk’s prime, even this familiar formula can’t hit the same. When lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong proudly labeled himself a twisted, deviant rebel at 21 years old, it made a lot more sense when he was still at the beginning of his career.

But when he’s a 51-year-old millionaire with all the success anyone could dream of? Not the same sentiment.

The most striking flaw of the album was its monotony. Green Day has never been a band I turn to when I want music that’ll challenge my brain, but that used to be the best thing about them. Even with that mindset, they were able to fill any space with explosive earworm choruses, fluid basslines, and
hyperactive drums.

Now, I found the album sorely lacked a variety of tempo, an emphasis on anything but the guitar and vocals, and genuinely funny lyrics — although the line “Grandma’s on the fentanyl now” from the track “Strange Days Are Here To Stay” caught me off guard enough to get a laugh out of me.

Normally, I would go track by track and discuss any glaring highlights or flaws, but the music is so thoroughly tedious that it’s a waste of words to do so.

Even more frustrating was that the album’s existing signs of life and creativity were very momentary, vanishing like a breath in cold air. Now and then when I noted a cool bassline or fun lead riff, it almost always hit a dead end.

The few attempts to branch out and add some diversity to the sound largely fell flat. “Father to a Son,” the album’s token ballad, initially came off as heartfelt but was diminished by its cheap tropes, like the awkward strings clearly incorporated for its association with rock ballads.

At this point in their career, Green Day is running a perpetual victory lap with every album and tour. It’s safe to say they have nothing left to prove. They are a household name with multiple classic albums, smash hits, and massive influence on an entire generation. To expect a grand artistic statement or new direction from them in 2024 would be naïve, but even low expectations can only save them so much.

All love to Green Day from the eighth grader in me who loved and still loves “Dookie.” Unfortunately, this album was exactly what you would expect from a band that has had Green Day’s career trajectory. At least it’s better than the last one.

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About the Contributor
Evan Weidl, Opinions Editor
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Evan Weidl is a senior majoring in political science. He previously worked in the opinions section as a columnist.