This is one of the greatest albums of the 90’s. It may be even one of the greatest albums of all time. It’s a classic record where all the songs are awesome. It’s an energetic album filled with catchy songs about masturbation, sexuality, violent thoughts, and smoking weed. There may have been issues on Green Day’s past albums, but this is the one where they got everything right. In short, the record appears to be perfect. And since there is so much surrounding the band due to their new trilogy, I figured this was the best time to look back at their most notable record.
Every song on this album is great. This is a record that you can leave on and never rush to skip a track. Also, they’re all filled with so much energy. The opening track “Burnout” has a racing riff that gets you pumped the second it starts. It’s filled with immense energy, witty lyrics and great music. “Chump” gets you hooked with it’s opening riff and lyric “I don’t know you but I think I hate you.” There’s also a great musical break here that let’s you hear every element of the band: the smooth bass playing, the dirty guitar riff, and the powerful drums. “Pulling Teeth” on the other hand has a Beatles vibe to it regarding the vocal harmonies. It’s a light melodic song with dark undertones about domestic violence. It really does sound like a song from the 60’s.
As mentioned in previous reviews for their first two albums, there were some issues, such as not being focused in the songs, having experimental elements that just don’t work for the band and Billie playing around with his singing. But with Dookie, all of those problems are fixed. Gone are the weird spoken word samples that haunted Kerplunk. The album is just tighter in general and Billie has finally found a way to sing that works for him and sounds great for the rest of us. Green Day got everything right here. They finally found their niche and have continue to stick with it for their later albums.
Though all the songs are fantastic there are some that stand out on their own. “Having a Blast” is a pretty dark song for this album. It’s about someone going in and shooting up their school, but the subject is masked by the uptempo beat and the melodic harmonies. It’s just so damn catchy you don’t realize what’s going on when you first hear it. Though the music is upbeat, it still sounds pretty dark and intense. The song may deal with a grim subject, but basically Billie is saying what we all have thought at one point. You know those days in high school where everyone got on your bad side? This is what the song is about. It really makes you wonder if a song like this could sneak by people today after the events of Columbine.
“Longview” stands out because it’s about boredom and masturbation. It begins with the most kick ass bass riff you’ve ever heard. It’s playful and loops around itself. The bass line is what will get stuck in your head, rather than the hook. To me this seems like the perfect summer song because you’re stick in the house bored and trying to find something to watch on TV. This is the best teenage anthem, especially when Billie sings “I’ve got no motivation, where is my motivation.” It’s a classic song that never gets old.
Another great song is the last track “F.O.D.” This song probably has the best build up on the entire album. It starts out pretty mellow with Billie playing acoustic guitar (a first for this album) and he even sings softly for the beginning of this track, which is why it’s kind of unexpected when the guitars, bass and drums kick in. This song is also perfect for showcasing the band’s snotty, not backing down attitude that they are known for. For all the hate that’s in the song, I love how it ends with Billie cooing “Good night.” It sounds sweet, but really sarcastic at the same time.
There are many different themes and subjects found on the album that all lead to one message: growing up sucks. The songs deal with boredom, relationships, questioning sexuality, drugs, violent thoughts, paranoia and of course masturbation. The ever popular “Basketcase” perfectly captures the mood of paranoia. The dirty riff speeds through the song, while unstable lyrics are spat out by Billie. The way the vocals and music are presented represents this mood to a tee. “Coming Clean” deals with accepting your sexuality. What’s clever about the song is that the subject is never outright mentioned, while the catchy “Sassafras Roots” deals with boredom and wanting to share that boredom with someone else. Themes of jealously and violence can be found in the songs “In the End” and “Chump.” And “Emenius Sleepus” seems to be about reconnecting with a friend and finding out they have changed for the worse. Even though the album is mostly about being a teenager, I feel like anyone can still relate to it no matter how old they are.
Overall this album gets 10/10. It’s a great record. Every song is awesome, the album is tight, in short everything is perfect here. People like to point out how the band lost their punk sensibilities on this album, but if they actually listened to their earlier albums, they would see how Green Day has been working pop elements into their songs for years. It may just be more noticeable on this album. The songs are fun and great to sing along to. This album definitely stands the test of time. Let’s hope that the new trilogy will provide songs as memorable as these.