Green Day

Reprise, 1994

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


In light of what Green Day would go on to accomplish, Dookie now seems quaint and a bit immature, the work of three snots who had been turned loose in a big-time recording studio for the first time. But make no mistake: this remains a good modern punk record, and the best moments still rank alongside anything the band has done since.

For many, the concept of punk-pop began with this record, although Green Day didn't really do anything that the Ramones hadn't already done. Dookie is fast, energetic, brash, snotty and fun, but it is also smart.

Granted, that is not an adjective that comes to mind with a title like my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Dookie and some of the subject matter, but the truth is that Green Day does not pander to its audience or follow punk cliches. That spirit is something the legions of copycat bands have ignored, which is why so much of the punk-pop of the late ‘90s and early 2000s sounded so alike and disposable.

Sure, there are punk workouts like "Burnout," but they are balanced with solid rock songs like "When I Come Around" and "Welcome To Paradise," all of which combine to give the album a propulsive energy. And unlike the self-important, woe-is-me imitators that followed, there's a sense that the band never takes its self-loathing too seriously, evidenced in the lyrics to "Basket Case" and the goofy storyline of "Pulling Teeth."

Another aspect of the lack of cliches is the band's instrumental talent; rather than bashing out three or four chords, there are occasional solos, an extended pounding drum and bass solo opens "Longview" (which then turns into a pretty great song) and the bass riff carries most of "She."

The record is far from perfect, of course, as insouciant charm can only get one so far, so skipping "Sassafrass Roots," "Enemius Sleepus" or "Having A Blast" is perfectly acceptable. The closing "F.O.D." is not half bad, though most listeners skipped through it to hear the hilarious hidden track "All By Myself." At least it was funny in middle school – and for '90s kids like me, owning this album was mandatory during those critical 6th grade years – though as an adult some of that charm has worn off.

Even wtihout the prism of personal history, Dookie was nevertheless an important record; it established Green Day as a band, it restarted the punk-pop movement, it was very popular and its best songs remain touchstones of '90s rock. Despite the handful of duff tracks and the adolescent undercurrent running through it, the album's infectious energy, strong songwriting and snotty fun makes it an enjoyable listen.

Rating: B

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