It’s hard to believe that has been nearly 18 years since this album was released, has it really been that long since 1994?! It must have been a great year for music because this is the 9th of 13 albums from that year to make it on my Top 200 blog. Let me say this right off the bat…..Green Day is NOT a punk band. It is one of my biggest pet peeves with this band. While their roots were in the punk scene by the time “Dookie” was released they were obviously a post-grunge hard rock band. A post-grunge hard rock band with punk sensibilities and somewhat sophomoric lyrical content…sure I’ll give you that.
“Dookie” is the only Green Day record I own. It is still their arguably their best effort and remains the bands best-selling album having moved over 15 million units. The disc is a classic masterpiece that captures the experience of a mid nineties slacker and all the nuances of his self-absorbed existence.
My first exposure to Green Day was the song “Longview” which shot to #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock charts and surprisingly reached #13 on the main Billboard charts. I say surprisingly because one of the main themes of the tune is how the protagonist uses masturbation to avoid the boredom of his slacker lifestyle. I love the start that is bare, just with the drums and bass thru the first verse with the band kicking in full force for the first chorus. While Billie Joe Armstrong will never be confused with Bob Dylan, his crude lyrics paint a perfect verbal picture of the songs subject and his complete lack of motivation (Peel me off this Velcro seat and get me moving,I sure as hell can’t do it by myself ) and apathy (Sit around and watch the phone, but no one’s calling, call me pathetic, call me what you will) and lack of desire to find employment (my mother says to get a job,but she don’t like the one she’s got). This song quickly became a staple on alt-rock radio and was the inspiration for me to go out and buy this disc.
The band was still young and raw and Billie Joe’s heavy guitar riffs accompanied the desperation of his lyrics like a hand in a glove. Although “Longview” would be the album’s signature cut, both “Basket Case” and “When I Come Around” would be #1 Modern Rock cuts and be Top 10 Mainstream hits actually charting higher than “Longview”. “Dookie” produced 5 Top 10 Billboard Modern Rock chart hits, the 3 aforementioned songs and “She” and “Welcome To Paradise”. It has become a hard rock classic. It took the band several years to once again reach the success that “Dookie” promised and they muddled through 3 records before 2004’s “American Idiot” thrust Green Day back towards the upper echelon of rock.