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.

Frank Micelotta, Hulton Archive

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.

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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.

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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.

Three Lions, Hulton Archive

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.

Erich Auerbach, Hulton Archive

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.

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11. The "secret track" 'All By Myself.' It's a curious acoustic coda to the whole thing and one of the more touching songs about, well, self-touching you'll ever hear.

12. The videos rule. The boys didn't bother to wash their faces before shooting 'Longview,' and 'Basket Case' is pure candy-colored lunacy.

13. It's way more fun to listen to than 'OK Computer.'

Frank Micelotta, Hulton Archive

14. The songs are timeless. Many remain staples of Green Day's live show, and last year, they played the sucker from top to bottom at the Reading Festival.

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15. Even Muppets love it. That's Ernie from 'Sesame Street' on the back cover, moshing along with the masses.


16. 'Dookie' moved mad units but never topped the charts. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, so even purist punk fans couldn't label them total money-grubbing sellouts -- you know, like this guy.

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17. Everyone owned a copy. It was the 'Frampton Comes Alive' of the mid-'90s.

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18. 'Welcome to Paradise' is destined to follow in the footsteps of Iggy Pop's 'Lust for Life' and soundtrack a wonderfully misguided Carnival Cruise ad.

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19. It ends as brilliantly as it begins, with the line "I'm taking pride in telling you to f--- off and die / Good night."

20. It's called 'Dookie,' for chrissakes, and we're still talking about it two decades later. The name is s---, but the music isn't.

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