Album review: Green Day’s “Saviors”

Everyone knows the American rock band Green Day. And if you don’t, you actually do. Consisting of Billie Joe Armstrong (vocalist, guitarist), Mike Dirnt (backing vocalist, bassist) and Trés Cool (drummer), Green Day popularized punk rock in the United States, releasing hit songs such as “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “American Idiot,” “When I Come Around” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends” during the ‘90s and early 2000s. As of 2024, they’ve sold 75 million records worldwide, which is comparable to the bands Imagine Dragons and Nirvana, making them one of the highest-selling artists of all time.  

On Jan. 16, 2024, Green Day released their fourteenth studio album, titled “Saviors.” It consists of 15 tracks and is wrapped up in 46 minutes and two seconds. The album starts off with the track “The American Dream is Killing Me,” which is a political anthem describing the band’s distaste in modern American life, concepts especially drawn out from the 2020s. It points out feelings of displacement, whitewashing, conspiracy theories and insanity, the unemployment and housing crises — ideologies and social issues that the United States is currently teeming with, making it an unpleasant country to live in.  

“Look Ma, No Brains!” is the second track and may be described as the polar opposite of Panic! At The Disco’s “Hey Look Ma, I Made It.” The song, from a first-person perspective, describes a self-deprecating author, calling himself stupid, saying he never learned how to read and declaring himself a dropout. Maybe there is a deeper meaning. With troubling lines such as, “Cause I’m special and I don’t need your help,” and “Well now it’s too late for my suicide,” perhaps there is an underlying commentary. After all, why would a band of now 50-year-olds be declaring that they don’t need their mothers’ help? And what might they mean by it being too late for their suicide? I find this song a little baffling! 

“Bobby Sox” is a sweet little love song from the point of view of a bisexual – switching between the lines, “Do you want to be my girlfriend?” and “Do you want to be my boyfriend?” Its name comes from a subculture of women in the 1940s who enjoyed Frank Sinatra and wearing loose clothing (and apparently, bobby socks, which are ankle-length socks that are adorned with lace).  

“One-Eyed Bastard” is merely an upbeat punk rock song about revenge. Its name references the term “one-eyed snake.” Look up the meaning of that on your own time, if you must. “Dilemma” has already been on the radio for ages (released as a single before the album), but it’s also the normal catchy, upbeat Green Day sound and it depicts Billie’s struggles with addiction rehab. 

“1981” is completely incomprehensible to me. It’s possible that it’s describing MTV’s launch with the line, “She’s gonna bang her head like 1981,” but I do not see it. It’s not a favorite of mine from the album, but maybe it’s just the age difference. 

“Goodnight Adeline” reminds me vaguely of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” It’s a quiet song for Green Day, but progressively gets more upbeat and encapsulates an ineffable amount of pain and feeling. This song, specifically, describes alcoholism, affliction and longing, though it is unclear where the name “Adeline” is derived from. “Coma City” is another political take from the band, describing elements of pollution and gun violence. I like “The American Dream Is Killing Me” better, personally, as it has more of an anthemic vibe.  

“Corvette Summer” might be my favorite track.  It’s so, so catchy and would be sublime to blare while driving with your windows down during the summer; I can imagine the crowd chanting this one at a concert. “Corvette Summer” celebrates rock ‘n roll and making music while rejecting the sought-after money and fame.

Track 10, “Suzie Chapstick,” seems to describe a longing for a past friendship or relationship. It has a melancholic sound, describing regret and drug use as a result.  

“Strange Days Are Here to Stay” and “Living in the ‘20s” both describe distaste for current American culture. “Strange Days,” funnily enough, sounds like a complaint from a different generation, which would be accurate, as the band members were born in the ‘70s. “Living in the ‘20s” especially calls out the degradation of the world with the new decade. I’m not a huge fan of either song; we know that there’s a lot of current cultural turmoil, and I don’t particularly want to be reminded of such in a song.  

“Father to a Son” is a song dedicated to Billie Joe Armstrong’s two sons. According to Armstrong, it’s a partial continuation of “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” which he wrote for his dad, who passed away when Armstrong was 10. The penultimate (and title) track “Saviors” seems to be a plea for someone to come save this broken world we live in. Maybe. It is unclear what needs saving, but based on the previous songs, this theory seems valid.  

The album ends with the fifteenth track, “Fancy Sauce,” which, funnily enough, is a condiment that combines the flavors of mayonnaise and ketchup (other spices and herbs optional). “Fancy Sauce” feels almost hysterical, describing placement in a “loony bin” and eliciting lines on craziness: “I’m not crazy / You’re the one who’s crazy / Everybody’s crazy.” It also repeats the line “We all die young someday,” which may supply a deeper conceptualization of death, depending on the artist’s intended meaning. I like this song, though it is an interesting way to end an album.  

Overall, I’m surprised that Green Day is still producing bangers! They’re so old, but I shouldn’t be surprised; when I saw them a couple of years ago at SummerFest, they were full of energy and passion. I declare that all readers should listen to “Saviors” by Green Day. If you weren’t interested in it, you wouldn’t have read this far!