The Ridge Review

The Student News Site of Mountain Ridge High School | Glendale, Arizona

The Student News Site of Mountain Ridge High School | Glendale, Arizona

The Ridge Review

The Student News Site of Mountain Ridge High School | Glendale, Arizona

The Ridge Review

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Green Day’s ‘Saviors’: A Delightful Return to Form

   Few bands have been able to define a genre with their art. Green Day has been lucky enough to do it twice. The band’s smash hit albums ‘Dookie’ (1994) and ‘American Idiot’ (2004) played a major role in bringing punk music into the mainstream, rocketing the bay-area punks to global stardom. Unfortunately for them, their appeal has dwindled significantly in recent years after a streak of disappointing new releases. However, the trio of Billie Joe Armstrong (guitar and lead vocals), Mike Dirnt (bass and backing vocals), and Tre Cool (drums) still believe they’ve got something to say on their new record, ‘Saviors’. With 15 tracks ranging from the personal to the political, Green Day believes they’ve made something important that fits nicely into the rest of their discography.

   First off, the sound borrows from their two mega hits. This largely seems intentional, with Dookie’s 30th and Idiot’s 20th anniversary on the horizon this year. Armstrong confirms this intention in an interview on 102.1 The Edge, where he proclaims, “Whether it’s something from Dookie or American Idiot, I think somehow we were able to bridge the gap in making something that is like an essential record for us.” The band also decided to bring back Rob Cavallo to work on this record, who played a major role in production for the band’s earlier work–including ‘Dookie’ and ‘American Idiot’.

   The decision to bring back Cavallo was the right one. The guitars are loud and punchy, like ‘Dookie’, but the “wall of sound” style of American Idiot is very prevalent as well. The bass is also more noticeable than in other recent records, allowing Dirnt to shine with some intricate baselines. Cool on the drums is just as loud as usual, bringing a strong energy to the album. Long-time Green Day fan and Ridge student Parker Schultz agrees: “I think the best part of the album is the sound of the instruments,” Schultz says. As an amateur guitarist and a CD collector, Schultz is a fan of the band’s older music, and he sees the record as “a step in the right direction for the band.”

   Next, ‘Saviors’ is an especially personal record that discusses many of Armstrong’s own experiences and feelings. ‘Dilemma’, the album’s fifth track and third single, is a touching song about Armstrong’s struggle with sobriety. The chorus is simple and upfront, and Armstrong’s delivery lets them hit like a ton of bricks: “I was sober, now I’m drunk again/I’m in trouble and in love again/I don’t wanna be a dead man walking/I don’t wanna be a dead man walking”. The song starts slow, but quickly explodes into a catchy riff with thundering guitars to become one of the album’s highlights.

   Songs like ‘Goodnight Adeline’ and ‘Susie Chapstick’ also touch on the topics of addiction, depression, love, and longing. Keegan Bridges, a newer fan, enjoys the personal themes of the record: “I think they can definitely relate to me in some songs, and relate to a lot of people.” As an 8th-grade student trying to figure out the world, Bridges appreciates songs about personal struggles and sees them as a sort of catharsis. “I think it could be a really good outlet for a lot of people to listen to these songs to know that ‘it’s not just you that’s having these feelings.’”

   However, ‘American Idiot’ fans don’t need to be worried; the record gets into politics with several songs. ‘Coma City’ is a quick, bombastic depiction of a dystopian version of the United States, where everything is burning to the ground and all anybody can do is watch: “Coma City/Don’t call the cops/Word on the street is they all quit their jobs”. Armstrong and Dirnt share a harmony on the “Coma City” chants throughout the song, and the track ends with a long, booming instrumental.

   Surprisingly, Green Day also manages to channel their older work with some fast, fun songs. ‘1981’ is one of the shortest songs on the record, coming in at about two minutes. The song harkens back to the simpler times of the 80s, with references to the Cold War and MTV. Additionally, ‘Bobby Sox’ is a sweet love song written from the perspective of Armstrong and his wife. Armstrong shows his vocal range on this track, with soft “oohs”, whiny verses, and a growly chorus, cementing this track as another of the album’s strongest.

   Although there’s a lot to love about this record, it isn’t perfect. While the instrumentation is phenomenal, some riffs are very similar to those of other songs from their past discography. ‘Living in the 20’s’ borrows its main riff from Horseshoes and Handgrenades, a song from their 2009 rock opera, 21st Century Breakdown. The guitar on ‘Strange Days Are Here to Stay’ is also eerily similar to Dookie’s biggest hit, ‘Basket Case’, with verses that sound like the chorus of ‘Revolution Radio’ from their 2016 album by the same name. Furthermore, the lyricism can occasionally feel lackluster. The best example of this is ‘Father to a Son’, which is supposed to be a heartfelt message from Armstrong to his sons that unfortunately falls a bit flat because its chorus is repeated ten times in the song’s three verses. 

   Ultimately, did Green Day create another hit like ‘Dookie’ or ‘American Idiot’? No. But did they still manage to create something with charm and purpose? Many seem to think so. The album hasn’t been a massive commercial success, having only sold 39,000 copies in the first week after its release. However, it has an aggregate score of 73/100 on Metacritic with mostly positive reviews. Many fans who’ve reviewed the album have loved it, with ‘Saviors’ currently sitting at a 4.7/5 star rating on Google. The record is a demonstration of the best that the band has to offer, making it a valuable listen for old and new fans alike. Albeit a bit derivative at times, ‘Saviors’ is full of passion, and it shows that Green Day’s still got something up their sleeve, even after three decades of making music.

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