Arriving 20 years after the open political ire of American Idiot, Green Day’s 14th album sees the veteran California punk trio energized by a new wave of worrying trends. Now in his early fifties, singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong retains the snotty defiance that has always been his calling card, whether the stakes are high or low. He doesn’t mince words on opener and lead single “The American Dream Is Killing Me,” calling out the nation’s boom in conspiracy theories and reimagining the classic patriotic lyric “my country, ’tis of thee” as “my country under siege.” While less of a concept album than the rock opera turned stage musical American Idiot, Saviors still latches on to some recurring themes in the name of getting a point across, such as updating 1950s-era rock ’n’ roll tropes: “Bobby Sox” swaps the aw-shucks question “Do you wanna be my girlfriend?” with “Do you wanna be my boyfriend?” while the timeless-sounding romantic ballad “Suzie Chapstick” is timestamped with a reference to absently scrolling Instagram. And “Living in the ’20s” may flash a guitar solo ripped straight from rock’s earliest days, but it also cites the more modern markers of mass shootings and pleasure robots. Armstrong’s urgent venting is delivered within some of Green Day’s catchiest songs since the 1990s, and longtime producer Rob Cavallo proves just as crucial to the album’s punchy, uncrowded sound as bassist Mike Dirnt and drummer Tré Cool. After all, Cavallo helmed the band’s 1994 smash Dookie, and Saviors sneaks in a few nods to that ripe era too. The sheer simplicity of the chugging chords opening “Strange Days Are Here to Stay” evokes the former album’s hit single “Basket Case,” while the mortality-minded closer “Fancy Sauce” borrows Nirvana’s coupling of “stupid and contagious.” The bubblegum anthem “Look Ma, No Brains!” harks back even further to Green Day’s DIY roots (and before that, pop-punk godfathers the Ramones), further cementing the idea that righteous anger goes down easier smuggled inside a pop song.

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