Well it’s been another crazy week. I promise you, I have a list of suggestions on my phone, and I plan on getting to each and every one of them at some point in time. However, this week was another one of those “Crap! It’s Monday and I still don’t know what I’m writing about this week” weeks and so I picked something easy by one of my favorite bands. And so I begin to impose this week’s music on you.
Album: Dookie Artist: Green Day
Boy, do I love Green Day. I love Green Day for a lot of reasons. For one, their frontman’s anniversary is on my birthday (so that basically makes me his family’s new best friend, even if they don’t know that), they have a side project called Foxboro Hot Tubs which they play secret shows under, they’re great with fans, and their bass player supposedly has the best Instagram account ever, according to the Huffington Post. Really, I can go on all day with fun facts about Green Day just as a band, but I guess my job is to post about an album, right?
I chose Dookie as my first Green Day post because (besides the obvious “it’s awesome”) it was their first studio album released by a major record label. Now Dookie wasn’t their first album; 39/Smooth and Kerplunk! came first, but neither of those albums were produced with Reprise Records. In fact, it’s pretty common knowledge that Green Day took a lot of heat from the punk scene for “selling out” by signing with such a major label.
It was a good move, if you ask me.
Dookie was released in 1994 and produced by Rob Cavallo, who later went on to produce a lot of really good albums including a few more by Green Day, and even some by bands such as Dave Matthews Band (Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King), Fleetwood Mac (Say You Will), and The Goo Goo Dolls. I must like this guy or something, cause he’s produced a lot of my favorite artists.
But on to the music. To the average listener, the lyrics may not seem overly important and the sound might seem like a lot of guitars and drums and punk, but really. Dookie is so much more than that. You see, a lot of really good things came out of the 90’s. Musically, I mean. We can leave the overalls back in the 90’s. But what I’m getting at is you know that rock was the top genre when you watch a show like Buffy and the theme song is good old fashioned rock n’ roll. Or rather, grunge, if you want to get technical. I’ve gotten way off track, but basically my point to all of that was Dookie was one of those really good things. The album did a lot for the punk genre, despite the “purists” that accused the band of selling out. And that’s pretty common. Green Day still faces those “punk” criticisms from people who call Green Day a terrible band purely because they’ve embraced their own punk-pop sound. Seriously, go check YouTube for some evidence. But Green Day is actually very talented.
I think one of the reasons I like Green Day so much is because everyone in the band is very good at what they do. Armstrong is an excellent vocalist (which honestly might not be your first impression if you’re new to the band), and Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool are very good at what they play. I think the best demonstration of each members’ talent from this album would be the single “Longview,” which might have one of the best baselines ever written (fun fact: Mike Dirnt wrote the walking bass while tripping on acid). Between that and Tre Cool’s drumming, you’ve got one awesome song.
Now upon first listen, Dookie seems a little crazy. Or at least it might to people of my generation who were more familiar with tracks like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” but that’s what I like about it. It’s got a lot of catchy hooks and tight melodies, and Billie Joe sings his lines in a way that I personally find to be unique. The rough punk sound is what makes the album. There’s never an unexciting or down-beat moment.
And while listening to someone whine about how bored they are might sound like a terrible experience, Green Day actually makes it quite fun, and Billie Joe gets pretty clever with his lyrics. His opening “I declare I don’t care no more,” is certainly a slap in the face to the “purists” and the album closes with a great track called “F.O.D.,” which basically was a pretty way of telling the haters to go to hell (the track stands for f*** off and die). There’s contrast, too, as Armstrong sings about his panic disorder and bisexuality.
And the best part about the album? Green Day has always been a band to go over the top and manage to not take themselves too seriously. This amazing quality is perfectly demonstrated in the album’s hidden track “All By Myself” (written and sung by drummer Tre Cool). If you can manage to make it through the minute and a half or so of silence after “F.O.D.,” then you’ll come across this wonderfully creepy and ultimately hilarious track, which you can hear the band members giggle all the way through.
To close, I will admit that while I really enjoy listening to Dookie, it isn’t my favorite album from the band (don’t hate me for it). I’m not saying that it was the defining moment for the 90s either. However, you can’t deny the effect the album had on the genre. That’s probably why it made #30 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Albums of the 90’s. If you’re looking for a good rock music from a band that brings a lot to the table, Dookie is your album.
Because this album has so many singles and I feel quite strongly about 90s music, my “Honorable Song Mentions” is going to be a bit different this week. As always, comments, suggestions, and even snide remarks can be left here, Facebook, or Twitter!
Songs You Should Recognize: Longview, Welcome To Paradise, Basket Case, When I Come Around (listen to some of these if you don’t — they’re like staples to a proper music diet)
Songs You Should Listen To That Aren’t On The Above List: Having A Blast, Pulling Teeth, She, F.O.D. (and All By Myself)