20 Reasons Why Green Day’s ‘Dookie’ Is the Greatest Album of the ’90s
A lot has changed since Feb. 1, 1994, the day a little-known Berkley punk band called Green Day released ‘Dookie,’ the album that would make them superstars. That holds for the group — now stadium gods threatening to be for their generation what U2 were for the previous one—and for the world in general. And yet one thing remains the same: ‘Dookie’ sounds awesome. Punchy, concise and catchy, it offered an antidote to the self-serious grunge that had characterized the rock scene in the early ’90s, and it predicted the rise of more colorful and lighthearted groups like blink-182 and No Doubt later in the decade. In honor of this era-defining record’s 20th birthday, here are 20 reasons ‘Dookie’ is the greatest album of the ’90s.
1. The lyrics make sense. ‘Nevermind’ is great, but here, we know exactly what we’re bored with and who we’re pissed at. The angst is streamlined. It’s more efficient.
2. It didn’t spawn an army of over-enunciating copycat singers, like Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten’ did. Yeah, it sucks to blame Eddie Vedder for Scott Stapp, but if ‘Jeremy’ taught us anything, it’s that life’s unfair.
3. ‘Dookie’ made punk popular again and paved the way for albums like Rancid’s ‘. . . And Out Come the Wolves,’ a crossover hit no one would have expected a few years earlier.
4. The cover art is endlessly entertaining, particularly if you’re baked. “Throw?” ponders that monkey clutching a handful of his own poo. As if that’s even a question!
5. It rocks right from the start. Opener ‘Burnout’ begins with a drum roll and barrels ahead like a stolen shopping cart full of stoners careening down a steep hill.
6. In 1994, you could write a song like ‘Having a Blast’ — all about feeling disgruntled enough to blow up a bunch of strangers — and not evoke the Oklahoma City or Boston Marathon bombings. Neither had happened yet.
7. The bassline in ‘Longview.’ To this day, if you take up the four-string, it’s one of the first things you learn.
8. There are serious songs as well as silly ones, and ‘When I Come Around’ offers this bit of profundity: “You may find out that your self-doubt means nothing was ever there / You can’t go forcing something if it’s just not right.”
9. It’s over and done in a mere 39:38, so you can listen quick and get on with your busy day of sitting on the couch, watching TV, smoking dope and playing with yourself.
10. It got Green Day thinking big and set the stage for records like ‘American Idiot,’ an ambitious concept-album-turned-Broadway-show you need not love but certainly must admire.