Joint tours can be a tricky one. When Beyoncé and Jay Z took their On The Run tour around the world last summer, they capped it off with a collaborative album that served as a reminder of their status as the President and first gentleman/lady of pop. But back in 2009, when Kanye West and Lady Gaga planned a joint tour (Fame Kills), it all went Pete Tong. There were arguments and creative differences in the run-up, and the tour eventually got canned completely – hardly surprising given the tinderbox personalities involved.
Next summer, we’re poised for one of the biggest joint tours of recent memory: Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy are uniting for a set of UK shows next summer, and to kick things off they’ve all dropped brand new songs. Green Day announced their new album ‘Father Of All…’ and shared the title track, while Weezer go metal on ‘The End Of The Game’ and Fall Out Boy team up with Wyclef Jean for ‘Dear Future Self (Hands Up)’.
Judging by the songs it’s gonna be a hella good day out, and a slightly weird one at that. Here’s how the touring buddies fared with their new tracks…
3. Fall Out Boy – ‘Dear Future Self (Hands Up)’
Over the years Fall Out Boy’s collaborations have got wilder and wilder. As the band’s sound moved away from the emo-laced pop punk into the bombastic, genre-splicing rock that’s permeated their last few records, their team-ups have got more and more implausible.
In the beginning Fall Out Boy joined forces with Chad Gilbert from New Found Glory (‘I Slept With Someone in Fall Out Boy and All I Got Was This Stupid Song Written about Me’) and label mate Brendon Urie (‘7 Minutes in Heaven (Atavan Halen)’). But over the years these collabs got weirder, and we’ve heard tunes with Elton John, Big Sean, Migos and even Azealia Banks (yes, really).
Which is why when it was announced they had released a song with rapper, Fugees member and all round legend Wyclef Jean, our only thought was: ‘Sure, why not?’
The song starts as a bombastic cut of surf rock, with the same pounding drums reminiscent of the band’s 2015 tune ‘Uma Thurman’, but this time, there are verses from Wyclef Jean! The choruses borrows from electronic singer Inna’s ‘Hand’s Up’, giving her tropical tune a pop rock makeover, while Jean’s verses feature reggae-flecked rhythms and bolshy trumpet flourishes. Basically, it’s a total mishmash of different genres, and while each section of the song may work on its own, when they’re glued together it leads to some pretty clunky gear changes
Experimentation is a grand thing, and can lead to exciting new ideas, but Fall Out Boy may have gone too far on ‘Dear Future Self’ – it’s a baffling hodgepodge of a song. Head to the bar during this one, probably. (Hannah Mylrea)
2. Weezer – ‘The End of The Game’
“‘The Blue Album’ but with more riffs,” is how Rivers Cuomo sold ‘The End Of The Game’, the first track to be taken from Weezer’s next album ‘Van Weezer’, in an interview with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe. With the LA band’s patchy form over recent years, you’d be forgiven for automatically assuming that was just hyperbole; wishful thinking from someone too close to the project to tell that, actually, it kinda sucked. In a pleasantly surprising turn of events, though, it turns out Cuomo is right.
The “more riffs” part of his tag line is dealt with immediately, the track opening with a noodling solo you’d expect of a hair metal band than geeky indie-rockers. It melts away into a stadium-sized Van Halen chug, which in turn dissipates to reveal the ‘Blue Album’ side of things – Cuomo’s catchy vocal melodies ducking and diving between the guitar theatrics like shiny pop missiles.
Lyrically, ‘The End Of The Game’ circles slightly meta subjects, deploying lines like, “I know that you would crank this song/Air guitaring with your headphones on” like an instruction manual on how to listen to it. But there are some neat moments too, like in the opening verse when the frontman references 2001 track ‘Island In The Sun’ (“No sign of you when I wake up/I’m on an island with no sun”) or, later, when he makes nods to Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull.
‘The End Of The Game’ might pale in comparison when held up against the material on ‘The Blue Album’, but, in terms of Weezer’s recent output at least, this is a stonking return to form. (Rhian Daly)
1. Green Day – ‘Father Of All…’
Look, the new Green Day song is a lot. It’s called ‘Father Of All Motherfuckers’ (though they’ve taken the swear out of the title on streaming). The artwork for that song, and the album, features a defaced version of ‘American Idiot’, with a unicorn vomiting a rainbow, and it looks like it was made on Microsoft Paint. It’s messy as fuck, and probably the weirdest and most exciting thing they’ve done in over a decade.
Fitting, then, because that’s what Billie Joe Armstrong and the gang were going for. “Rock and roll sometimes has become so tame because people are,” he tells Beats One. “A lot of rock acts are always trying to look for the feel-good song of the year or something, everything gets really watered down and wimpy, and I think rock music should make you feel bad.”
This is not watered down and wimpy, for sure. It’s a little bit freaky, actually. Billie Joe’s vocals are barely recognisable as they stop just the right side of the chipmunk filter and the chorus sounds a little bit like Iron Butterfly’s ‘Garden Of Eden’, but it’s raw, unfiltered and instinctive in all the right ways. They’ve tapped back into the paranoia of an anxious nation, too, as Billie Joe squeals: “I’m possessed from the heat of the sun/Hurry up ’cause I’m making a fuss/Fingers up ’cause there’s no one to trust”
It’s a squalid, frantic taster of the new album, which they say will be the shortest in quite some time. And judging by the urgency on single number one, that fire is still burning. Probably lose the unicorn, though. (Thomas Smith)