Green Day – Saviors album review: the ageing rockers are still an enjoyably prickly thorn in America's side

 (PR Handout)
(PR Handout)

“We are the last of the rockers making a commotion,” Billie Joe Armstrong sings on the title track of Green Day’s 14th album – though youngsters might scoff at the 51-year-old making such a claim.

Armstrong also takes a curmudgeonly pop at TikTok here, on The American Dream is Killing Me, and it’s quite some time since the Californian punk-pop trio could claim to be central to the cultural conversation.

This summer, their latest stadium tour will celebrate 30 years since their diamond-selling breakthrough album Dookie, and 20 since their politically raging concept album and sometime Broadway musical, American Idiot.

Yet it turns out these spiky, snotty rock stars can still get up people’s noses. On New Year’s Day, Elon Musk was moved to tweet against them when, during a televised concert, they updated a lyric in the song American Idiot to say: “I'm not a part of the MAGA agenda.”

"Green Day goes from raging against the machine to milquetoastedly raging for it," Musk fumed. But in an American election year, it’s satisfying to hear the band getting some fire in their bellies again.

Perhaps feeling he was too easy a target, their only release of the Trump presidency was Father of All Motherf***ers, a 26-minute collection of immature garage rock.

Saviors feels much bigger and more impactful, with Rob Cavallo, producer of their most successful albums, returning to collaborate for the first time in 11 years.

Much of the album is spent with Armstrong sounding nihilistic and disillusioned about the world today, his bitter pill sugared with euphoric melodies and mountainous guitar riffs.

Living in the ‘20s begins with brutal electric chords and “Another shooting in asupermarket.” Coma City, a frenetic highlight, has another line that Musk mighttake issue with: “Coma City, mask on your face/Bankrupt the planet for assholesin space.”

At the same time as they’re watching the news in horror, there’s a nostalgia to some of the songs that can’t help but summon a cozy glow. Corvette Summer could be a Beach Boys hit if the guitars weren’t significantly louder.

Strange Days are Here to Stay begins with an unaccompanied, chugging guitar that bears a strong resemblance to the opening of their biggest song, Basket Case.

Here he’s longing for a world pre-2016, the year of Trump’s election, the Brexit vote and some grim music news too: “Ever since Bowie died, it hasn’t been the same,” Armstrong hollers.

Some things rarely change, though: Green Day remain an enjoyably prickly thorn in America’s side.