Green Day

Dookie

Written by: PP on 20/05/2012 04:05:38

"Green Day is my favorite band". Whenever you hear someone utter that phrase in 2012 your thoughts are immediately drawn towards mainstream music fans in their teenage years who are generally just taking their first steps into the music scene and obviously can't be trusted for musical advice. Back in January 1994 things were very different. Green Day were that cool, unknown underground phenomenon that most people had never heard of except if you were already then known as the hopeless music nerd (today's version of a computer nerd before iPods were invented basically). They were the newcomers into a scene dominated by bands like Operation Ivy, Bad Religion, Descendents and the like, and the first ones to properly introduce (and arguably single-handedly create) the pop element into punk rock, which would eventually channel into the formation of pop punk much, much later. At this stage "39/Smooth" and "Kerplunk!" were already cult classics because of the way they re-defined the rules of how an entire style of music (punk) could also sound like, but nobody expected the band to be poised to write as a revolutionary album as "Dookie" back then. Just to put things into perspective, the band was touring European venues playing songs off the then-unreleased album in front of just a handful of fans (including Ungdomshuset in Copenhagen). Just take a moment to imagine that in contrast to their Orange Stage show at Roskilde Festival in 2005 in front of almost 80,000 fans after the release of "American Idiot".

"Dookie" is the quintessential Green Day album to anyone who grew up during the 90s. It's an album that introduced an entire genre and style of music - and inspired basically an entire scene - to a mass of people whose understanding of music basically consisted of mainstream rock at best, cliché 80s style pop at worst at the time. From the first moments of the feel-good, frat-boy vibe of "Burnout" you were introduced to an entire world of music that you simply didn't know existed before, a previously underground scene that at once exploded to the faces of the mainstream public at large with the release of this album and The Offspring's "Smash" later during the same year. It was fast-paced, yet still melodic. It was lyrically smart, while also allowing for silly moments and laid back stuff. I mean it introduced the fucking bass guitar to most people, for fuck's sake ("Long View" still has the finest bass line opening a song that I've heard aside from maybe "Bad Habit" by The Offspring), and how it could be used to portray mood, to create a feeling, to fucking lead a song as its primary ingredient.

And although the basic three-chord guitar riffs of "Welcome To Paradise" or "When I Come Around" are among the simplest you'll learn when studying guitar for the first time, they were also original riffs that basically said not all rock music needs to be as complex and guitar-driven as Iron Maiden, nor as rock'n'roll as AC/DC, nor as high tempo as Bad Religion at the time, to be good. They introduced melody and catchy elements to a genre that previously didn't have them for the mainstream public. And what's more, we all acknowledge how simplistic and straight-forward the "Dookie" songs are, but yet it's hard to find an outspoken critic of the album. Why is that? Could it be that "Dookie" represents the ideal between the pop and the punk rock culture, a perfect middle ground that briefly united both scenes in an unprecedented appreciation of melody and fast tempo?

I for one think it's because no matter which song you pick off the album, whether the more unknown "She", the chaotic feeling of "Chump", or the song literally everyone on the planet knows "Basket Case", you have a song in your hands that inspired, or more often than not, literally is the reason why one of your current favorite bands exists in the first place. I mean without "Dookie", the pop punk scene wouldn't exist at all!

Is it simple music? Absolutely. But is it the best simple, mainstream oriented punk rock that's been released to date? Which album contests that definition for "Dookie" exactly? It's the album that transformed punk from an underground basement phenomenon into one suddenly acceptable to be pushed to the mainstream public through key channels like MTV. It's a piece of music history that literally comes along once a decade, a pioneering, genre-defining album that today, 18 years after its release, has spawned tens of thousands of imitators, but more importantly, great bands who wouldn't exist if their members hadn't bought "Dookie" back in the day, as well as bands who listened to the bands who originally were inspired by Green Day, and so forth and so forth...Heck, this magazine wouldn't exist without "Dookie" - the undersigned even as late as in 2000 listened to primarily hip hop and R'n'B until a classmate handed him a copy of this album as his first ever rock record. The rest is history.

In a nutshell what I'm trying to say is this: "Dookie" is the perfect album in the genre, the landmark release that everything is and should be compared against. It set the bar so high at once that if it wasn't for "Americana" by The Offspring four years later, it would still stand as the greatest mainstream punk record released to date.

10

Download: Burnout, Long View, Welcome To Paradise, Basket Case, When I Come Around
For the fans of: The Offspring, Sum 41, foundations of pop punk
Listen: Green Day

Release date 01.02.1994
Reprise

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