Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt are tripping hard down memory lane with Stop Drop And Roll, the latest Green Day album. Except it’s not Green Day. It’s the Foxboro Hot Tubs. Like The Network and Pinhead Gunpowder before them, Foxboro are another musical escape for Armstrong and Co. from the standard pop-punk format that’s made them all massive millionaires.
This time around, the artists formerly and future…ly referred to as Green Day have recruited Jason White and Jason Freese and turned the clock back a good three-plus decades to deliver a quick, bouncy sugarpop record that would fit nicely between The Kinks and The Monkees. To add to the feeling, the group recorded the album onto analog tape in an 8-track studio to give it a warmer, live sound that happens to interlace perfectly with the overall vintage feel of the songs.
Teen-rebel romanticism rages through title track Stop Drop And Roll, sounding like The Hives hit the pipe and went back in time to kick the shit out of Elvis. “Sixteen and a son of a bitch,” he sneers as the guitars counter in the pauses. “Got a gun and a strychnine twist.” See? Told you they were tripping.
The nostalgia for an era none of us are old enough to remember remains in full effect through poodle-skirt chaser Mother Mary and jitterbug dance-a-thon Ruby Room. The chorus is catchy, the riff choppy, simple and delicious, and a great idea of what Green Day might’ve actually sounded like in the late fifties/early sixties. Things take a sunny, gorgeous turn with Red Tide, which is simply one of the dreamiest little ditties Armstrong’s ever churned out. It’s formulaic, but it works so damn well…
Highway 1 gets a bit murky, but Armstrong’s voice suits the sonic atmosphere so well that it hardly matters. “Come on baby, take a chance and get your shit together,” he moans during the lead-in and hook line of Sally, a Zombies / Turtles throwback jam that makes you want to pick up a guitar. Simple as that. Ride, Sally, ride. Or, wait, is it “ride, Sally Ride,” an ode to the astronaut? Doesn’t matter. We’re still in Doc’s DeLorean, it’s still rocking, so fuck it.
Stop Drop And Roll walks a fine line between ripping off and paying homage to the styles the group’s incorporated into the album, but the Tubs cross that line with Alligator, a straight rip-off of the Kinks’ You Really Got Me. It’s not even that good, and neither are questions of authenticity.
Dark Side Of Night feels like a stoned, jazzy drive down a tropical coastline in a “Hawaii Five-O” world, and it’s a nice place to be.
The album rides a strong wave out with Pieces Of Truth, holding the energy high and mighty till the very end. “What the fuck did I get myself into?” Armstrong howls in the chorus.
It’s called a time machine, Billie Joe. And you rocked it.
Stop Drop and Roll
Jingle Town Records
1. Stop Drop And Roll
2. Mother Mary
3. Ruby Room
4. Red Tide
6. She’s A Saint Not A Celebrity
9. The Pedestrian
10. 27th Ave. Shuffle
11. Dark Side Of Night
12. Pieces Of Truth
Reviews published prior to February 23, 2015 used a 1-5 star rating system.