Study: Green Day’s ‘Father of All’ Among Worst Reviewed Albums of the Century
Everyone's a critic! But some reviews really tend to dwell on the negative. U.K. site Top Rated Casinos recently decided to try to quantify some of the harshest reviewed musical works of the 21st Century, using the site Metacritic that compiles critical reviews to determine which were the worst of the 2000s so far.
Metacritic is a composite site for reviews, and as part of this deep dive the site was scraped for all albums by year, artist, genre and user reviews. The list of negative words was obtained from the most common bad reviews and the tally was derived from the amount of times those words were used in reviews. The proportion of user reviews that were negative were calculated using the formula of (number of negative reviews + 0.5 * number of mixed reviews) / total number of reviews, per Top Rated Casinos methodology.
While there are several pop albums that lead the way, Green Day's 2020 effort, Father of All Motherfuckers, was the highest ranked rock album to make the list, earning a score of 4.8, which was good enough to land it as the sixth worst of the century so far. That placed it only behind Justin Bieber, who took the top two spots with My World and My World 2.0, Chance the Rapper's The Big Day at No. 3, Logic's Confessions of a Dangerous Mind at No. 4 and Drake's Scorpion album at No. 5.
It should be noted that Green Day's Father of All ... received at 68 "Metascore" on the site, which is a "generally favorable" review. Users of the site also offered their own reviews, giving it a 4.8, which is a mixed or average review. That said, there were a wide range of reviews that included some glowing responses. Classic Rock cited the album's "Invigorating results," while Rolling Stone added, "[It's] a bountiful act of recovered rock memory, an effortlessly affirming argument that the first mosh pit or car radio contact high you get when you’re 13 years old can be enough to sustain you long into life. It’s a deep, deep thing, and, in a sense, a defiant and subtly political statement, too."
But many of the reviews were middling to negative. Variety offered, "The effort feels more like a sidestep than a leap forward." Spin stated at the time, "Green Day’s 13th studio album set sees them step outside of their comfort zone, experimenting with a range of new sounds and styles. However, this leads to mixed results." Entertainment Weekly weren't nearly as kind, stating, "A derivative party foul, a spirited genre game that plays like a copy of a copy."
Some of the harsher commentaries came from Under the Radar, who called the album "fundamentally toothless and lacking in wit, originality, and invention." Sputnikmusic stating, "Even the staunchest fan would have an aneurysm trying to figure out what the hell these guys were thinking on this one." And MusicOHM dropping the stinging, "Green Day have become the very thing they once despised: buck-chasin’ mild boys of mayonnaise corporate rock."
Though pop and rap dominated the Top 10 of worst reviewed albums, rock and metal were not completely unscathed. Weezer's Pacific Daydream placed eleventh on the list, with Nickelback's The Long Road at No. 16. Metallica's St. Anger came in at No. 23, Green Day's Tre! surfaced at No. 29, Weezer's self-titled red album was No. 32, Green Day's Dos! was No. 37, Thirty Seconds to Mars' Love Lust Faith + Dreams at No. 44 and Smashing Pumpkins' Cyr at No. 47.
Green Day appeared to be not so beloved by critics overall as well as the band placed fifth amongst all acts as part of this deep dive. They were two spots ahead of "Hella Mega" tourmates Fall Out Boy, who landed at No. 7, while Weezer, the third band from that tour, placed twelfth. Other acts of note included Panic! at the Disco at No. 19, Muse at No. 24, Foo Fighters at No. 25, Slipknot at No. 26, Linkin Park at No. 28, Smashing Pumpkins at No. 29, Korn at No. 32, Marilyn Manson at No. 33, A Perfect Circle at No. 36, Avril Lavigne at No. 40, The Killers at No. 41 and Thirty Seconds to Mars at No. 44.
With rock so unfortunately well represented amongst the worst reviewed artists, it should come as no surprise that rock placed third as the worst genre, falling only behind pop/rock and rap. Grunge was fifth, while alternative/indie rock bowed at No. 11, rap-metal at No. 14, emo at No. 15, heavy metal at No. 16 and alternative at No. 18.
If you're curious about which year failed to live up to the hopes of critics, 2012 sits atop the list, while 2007, 2013, 2011 and 2006 round out the Top 5. Get a closer look at the specifics for each segment of the study here.