Prepare to party like it’s 2005. With the leaked news of the upcoming Mega Hella tour, many adults who grew up with pop-punk and emo tastes and also probably entered junior high between 2004 and 2007 collectively shat our pants. The confirmation that it was real in a midday webcast was like waking up from an amazing dream and realizing that it wasn’t a dream at all. Yes, Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and Weezer (with support from The Interrupters) will indeed tour together next year.
This tour mostly makes sense on paper. Green Day and Weezer’s most celebrated works were released in 1994, but each received a resurgence in popularity in 2004-2005. (Though Green Day’s American Idiot is still a widely acclaimed record; Make Believe is often one of many black sheep in Weezer’s catalog.) If you were a youth that felt disenfranchised (or at the very least liked rock music) around that time period, there was no doubt that “Holiday”,”(We Are All) On Drugs”, “St. Jimmy”, or “Beverly Hills” were downloaded to your iPod Mini. Sandwiched in there were probably also “Dance, Dance” and “Sugar, We’re Going Down” (And “Grand Theft Autumn” if you were a real nerd) by some young up-and-coming band called Fall Out Boy. With members currently in their thirties, Fall Out Boy are the youngest of the headlining acts, and the only of the three that seem to have aspirations to remain relevant pop stars. All three are legacy acts with varying reaches. Green Day and Weezer have fans that are well into middle age. (My dad owned a CD copy of Dookie, and he’ll be 60 shortly after the Hella Mega tour wraps). While Fall Out Boy have fans that may enter into their thirties, the band aren’t shy about the fact that they’d like to remain relevant by collaborating with various producers and rappers on remixes of their more recent-pop leaning songs. Still, the band share influences with their tourmates, and even were the ones to induct Green Day into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. The release of last year’s Lake Effect Kid EP shows that Fall Out Boy don’t necessarily want to completely abandon their punk roots.
Along with the tour, each artist has a new release planned and dropped a new song to coincide with the tour announcement. Green Day will be dropping Father of All Motherfuckers and released the title track; Weezer will release Van Weezer and teased the opening song “The End of the Game”; Fall Out Boy will be releasing a new best-of comp Believers Never Die Vol. 2 and released the Wyclef Jean featuring “Dear Future Self (Hands Up).” Each song is uniquely their own, and we decided to do a short ranking of them each.
3. “Dear Future Self (Hands Up)”-Fall Out Boy
The Chicago boys admittedly have the least stake in their upcoming release. Where Green Day and Weezer are releasing new records, Fall Out Boy are just dropping a new Greatest Hits Compilation. Possibly due to this, Fall Out Boy’s new single is the weakest of the three. It’s not helped by the fact that the song features Wyclef Jean. “You can hear us comin’ with the zoom/Listen to the boom boom, we are breaking through,” Patrick Stump sings on the chorus, and the corny lyrics don’t end there. Jean sings, “She winin’ like she losin’ her mind” in the post-chorus. The track is built like a steroided up take on their American Beauty/American Psycho hit “Uma Thurman,” but it just amplifies that song’s mediocrity. Long gone are Pete Wentz’s poetic ruminations on love and fame, now the band seems more invested in “cool” lyrics and a catchy chorus. Unfortunately, the chorus is more forgettable than anything off of Mania, and the lyrics just reek of men in their 30’s trying to sound like they could hang out with Soundcloud rappers. If they wanted to make this song appeal to a younger audience, maybe they should have teamed up with someone like former tourmate Machine Gun Kelly. Alas, they’re stuck with someone who’s last hit came nine years ago.
2. “Father of All…”-Green Day
My fandom to Green Day has faced so many diminishing returns over the years. After being hooked in with American Idiot, I adored 21st Century Breakdown, but as much as I told myself I loved Uno, Dos, Tre, I couldn’t deny that those albums lacked the replay value of Green Day’s earlier work. Revolution Radio faced a similar misfortune, although “Still Breathing” is possibly Billie Joe Armstrong’s best song since “21 Guns.” While the upcoming album of the same name may face some of it’s predecessor’s similar issues, “Father of All…” is one of Green Day’s most intriguing tracks in recent memory. It barely sounds like the pop-punk trio that brought us Dookie. It certainly bares no resemblance to the operatic nature of American Idiot. Mike Dirnt’s bass is higher in the mix and has grooves more reminiscent of Yeah Yeah Yeahs than The Circle Jerks. Armstrong also sings in a falsetto throughout the whole track rendering his voice unrecognizable. This song could almost be a track from the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World soundtrack. While it’s not really anything to write home about, it is relieving to see Green Day release a song that doesn’t necessarily sound like them.
1. “The End of the Game”-Weezer
When I was in middle school trying to form bands, this is exactly the type of song I thought I’d write. While Rivers Cuomo does write some cringe-worthy lyrics (“I know that you would crank this song/Air-guitaring with your headphones on”), the power pop meets Eddie Van Halen guitar solo nature of the track is irresistible. It’s catchy like fine-tuned pop-punk, but it also has big riffs and tons of finger-tapping. Weezer have always had a soft-spot for great hard rock, and this single is the perfect marriage of that with the emo-tinged pop rock they revived with albums like Everything Will Be Alright in the End and The White Album. With their upcoming record being Van Weezer, it seems like Cuomo will futher show his chameleonic ability that he showcased on The Teal Album.