Dookie is now 20 years old, yet it sounds like it was recorded only a few years ago. Looking back on it, it doesn’t seem like that long. Of course, I wasn’t a part of the initial pandemonium that happened when it first came out; I was too young and concerned with Disney songs. But when I discovered the album on my own shortly after I got into the band in 2004, I was blown away. Something about the fast music and the sweet melodies spoke to me and I fell in love with every song. I even tried to learn them all on guitar just so I could say I knew how to play them. I listened to each song on repeat, trying to catch every snide, sniveling remark from Billie Joe Armstrong. Even now I can’t but sing along to it whenever its songs come on,
Since I was in high school at the time, I related to a lot of the tracks: walking around despising my peers, being bored with life, and trying to figure out who I was were all on my mind when I heard songs like “Longview,” “When I Come Around,” and “Chump.” The album spoke to me the way it spoke to many teens back in 1994. Though the album was already 10 years old by the time I got my hands on it, it still sounded fresh and new. It was just so relatable. I felt like I could hang out with these guys and just complain about our stupid problems. It’s an album you manage to fall in love with over and over again. And whether you’ve been a fan of the album for 20 years or only two, it holds a special place in many people’s hearts.
Green Day and this album mean so much to me because they were one of the first bands I found saying it’s okay to be weird. Songs like “Basketcase,” “She” “Emenius Sleepus,” and “Having A Blast” told me it was okay to not be normal. I didn’t have to work to fit in and I shouldn’t try to change my attitude just because it was cynical instead of happy-go-lucky. To Green Day, questioning yourself and others is something you should do and I learned it all from them and this release. It showed me I wasn’t the only one with these feelings; I wasn’t alone in feeling like an outcast. This album showed me that I wasn’t the only one that didn’t have my life figured out. After this record, I didn’t feel alone in my journey through life anymore. The one song that will always stick out for me is “Coming Clean.” I think it’s s groundbreaking because not many mainstream artists were addressing issues of sexuality at the time. It showed that the guys weren’t afraid to push boundaries either.
Flipping through the booklet even now, I see all the folded flaps and the crinkles on each page, showing how I fawned over the photos and cartoons every time I heard the album. I tried to absorb everything I could. I studied the liner notes, memorized the lyrics, and obsessed over the pictures. I was looking for anything that would give me insight into these guys. Though it’s a good contender for my high school soundtrack, I still find it’s relatable even now. Who doesn’t have a day when everything goes wrong and you feel like you’re 16 again? The album is so important not because it made a lot of money or sold a lot of records, but because everyone has certain memories attached to it. So many bands like, Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, and Sum 41 wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for Green Day. Even now these same bands give the guys their props by talking about how much the album inspired them.
I’ll never forget when I met Cage the Elephant and how they all started reminiscing about the album when they saw my phone case. Even though I didn’t know them personally, I felt we all bonded over our love of the record. And since so many young Green Day fans keep discovering the album for themselves, it keeps this bond alive between old and new Green Day lovers. We might differ in age and some may not even listen to the band anymore, but if there’s one thing everyone can bond over is the awesomeness of Dookie; it gives fans everywhere a somewhat related experience.
On the surface, Dookie is a stellar album with catchy songs and awesome melodies, but dig deeper and you see how important it is for hundreds of people around the world. It’s also a landmark in music history. It’s the one album where people remember where they were when it first came out. So let’s celebrate this classic album by playing it and getting lost in the songs that introduced the world to the quirky and loveable Green Day.