today we’re checking out Green Day’s major label debut, Dookie, released in 1994:

the opener of this record, Burnout, is now forever burned into my brain. this is a perfect song. everything works for me here, the dynamic bass, the frantic drumming, armstrong’s vocals, its all so good. this made me start a volume 2 of a playlist i had put down and finished working on. Having a Blast doesnt quite have the same effect on me. the refrain here is great, i really enjoy Armstrong’s voice as he sings “it’s nothing” and theres that little flair on the cymbals, thats good, but the message of the song keeps it in the “just aight” territory. Chump has a fun little twist at the end before the interlude where he flips the script as says he’s the chump. i like that a lot. the long outro/intro to Longview uh…. is cool in the context if the album but kinda undercuts this track since its really the only place this happens. Longview has a really fun sense of humor to it. i’m kinda mixed on it overall but the intro to this track (and throughout on the verses) is extremely fun, with the floor toms matching the same quality of the heavy plucking of the bass, thats extremely fun. ah yeah Welcome To Paradise again. the mix here is vastly improved. this one kinda… kinda pops better than the Kerplunk! version does. it also kicks off a string of tracks on the record that flashed me back to The Killers’ Hot Fuss in that there were 4 tracks i went “oh wait i do know this” in a 6 track run (i feel like this will def happen to me again on American Idiot). Pulling Teeth is aight. its got some components i like, its p catchy. Basket Case is def a classic. a certified earworm. i am pre-familiar with She from the Mad Caddies, who did a cover of it on Punk Rocksteady, and while that cover’s good i think its one of the few records that doesnt quite beat its original – there’s a kind of desperation, or a spiralling anxiety, in the original that helps the song in a very core way. Sassafras Roots is really fun. im enjoying all the lazy songs on this record. When I Come Around closes out the run of classics here. Coming Clean is Armstrong coming out as bi, thats extremely cool. p fun track. i really like Emenius Sleepus – its an extremely fun track musically and lyrically its p biting in a neat way. In the End is good – not the best the album has to offer but solid this close to the end. F.O.D. is… well i think it’s a little underwhelming. i like the premise, and the breakdown in the transition is good, but i feel like the band goes harder and faster than the closing bits of the song in other parts of the record, and i dunno if its just spotify’s recordings but its mixed quite a bit lower than the songs around it. just doesnt swell the way i’d expect it to. All By Myself is exactly the type of track that like, cant really exist anymore. thematically it fits right in with some of the other tracks but musically its a joke, which is perfect for a hidden track at the end of the record! its a shame that streaming kills the concept of hidden tracks and now stuff like this just undercuts the closing track, because as much as F.O.D. doesnt quite do what i want it to its a fantastic closer.

faves – Burnout, Longview, Welcome To Paradise, Basket Case, She, When I Come Around, Emenius Sleepus
dislikes –

alright, cards on the table, i probably shouldve been a bit more upfront about my experience with this band. you see, back in Kerplunk!, Green Day’s lineup had solidified with drummer Tré Cool taking John Kiffmeyer’s place, but there is a component of the well-known Green Day sound that hadnt joined the band, and wouldnt until they had signed to Reprise Records off the underground success of Kerplunk! – their producer, Rob Cavallo, who would go on to produce all but one of their records until 2012. normally im not one to look much into production staff unless it’s notable for a different reason, and i mention it here because i know Rob Cavallo for producing my favorite LP from my favorite ska band, Less Than Jake, Anthem, and it’s companion record B Is For B-Sides. i hadnt at any point before this record really looked into what large punk band he’d worked with prior, just that he had.

all that to say, damn being intimately familiar with Anthem, i can see a bit of what theyre working with here on Dookie that will reflect in that record almost a decade later. Having A Blast and In the End both could fit with Less Than Jake’s sound around that time, and even down to structure F.O.D. fills a similar role to The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out / Screws Fall Out. obv, Anthem was aping a bit of this record for sure, and how could you not? this record’s a blast!

musically this record is fast and frenetic, managing to keep catchy choruses and hooks balanced with incredible performances down most of these tracks. lyrically, i think this is kind of a great capstone to what Green Day’s been working with thus far – there’s introspection on tracks like Basket Case and Emenius Sleepus, personal growth on tracks like She and Coming Clean, juvenile humor and a youthful alienation that are as relevant as ever on Longview and Burnout, and Armstrong is even still working on his issues with his family on tracks like Chump. i wouldnt be surprised if they continue to explore these themes, musically or lyrically, in the next few records but i think this is a really solid place to bring that sound to and it wouldnt surprise me to hear them pivot on the next record.

overall, i had a great time and am taking away quite a few tracks for my favorites pile.

Dookie – 9/10

next time we’ll be checking out their 1995 record, Insomniac.

first: 1,000 Hours | previous: Kerplunk! | next: Insomniac

all my reviews for Green Day