All Time Classic: Green Day – Dookie

Green Day Dookie album cover
Soundtrack to a coffee high

Released: 1994
Label: Reprise
Top Tracks: ‘Burnout’, ‘Chump’, ‘Longview’, ‘Welcome to Paradise’

Before Green Day became the eyeliner-wearing, rock opera-writing, conceited douchebags they are today and disappeared up their own collective asshole they were actually a really good band who wrote some really catchy pop punk music. Nowhere is this more prevalent than on their 1994 major label debut ‘Dookie’.

Green Day Dookie era
Then: Three friends just hanging out
Green Day Uno Dos Tres era
Now: Three douchebags trying way too hard

Some would argue that ‘Insomniac’, the album that followed, was far superior. While I do agree that it’s a more polished album with some very catchy songs, in my opinion there’s something about ‘Dookie’ that ‘Insomniac’ just doesn’t have. A certain candidness and DIY “punk rock” feel to it. You just know that they recorded the album they wanted to hear with no pressure of bowing to the trends or what the record buying public wanted to hear from them – just three friends making a record. By the release of ‘Insomniac’ they had seen a massive rise in popularity after receiving heavy rotation of not one, not two but THREE music videos on MTV. Having all eyes of mainstream-alternative America on them must have made it hard to capture that same “don’t give a fuck” attitude with complete sincerity and I think it shows. Where ‘Dookie’ feels like three friends just making a record, ‘Insomniac’ feels more like three friends trying to see if they can pull it off a 2nd time.

From the get-go ‘Dookie’ bursts from the gate with a barrage of high octane, catchy, snot-nosed pop punk. They’re not entirely a one trick pony though, tracks like ‘When I come Around’ shows they can slow things down a bit and mix it up a little – if just ever so slightly. While the speed might let up in parts though, the sheer brattishness does not. It’s hard to be objective about a song like ‘Basket Case’ just because of how overplayed it is but I think the music video sums up the vibe of the album quite nicely – a fun, energetic, colourful affair with a slightly dark sense of humour. All in all I would call it a perfectly rounded slab of pop punk.

This is not the same band that released those 3 turds ‘Uno’, ‘Dos’ and ‘Tre’ in 2012. Sure they share the same name and the same 3 band members but that’s where the commonalities end. No matter how lame they might have become though, ‘Dookie’ will always be an all time classic.

If you’d like to know more about the story behind this legendary album that was integral in igniting the pop punk fad of the 90s then you can check out this documentary about it.

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