It’s been a long time coming, but here it is. The review for one of my favourite albums of all-time, and one of the few that I actually consider perfect.
was released in 1994 and helped catapult Green Day from indie-credited melodi-core band to punk-pop superstardom. In fact, for many people this was the album that invented punk-pop, well, those people must never have heard of the Ramones or Generation X. Still, the fact remains that without Green Day and Dookie
there would be no Blink-182, Sum 41 or My Chemical Romance (a good thing? Probably…) This California three-piece had a huge impact on the power-pop scene, and the main culprit was this, their third album.
is, in a word, perfect. If you don’t like punk-pop, you won’t like it, but if you do…oh man, is this the album for you. From the moment Tre Cool kicks in Burnout
to the last sustained chord in F.O.D.
, you’re in for the ride of your life. Along the way you will find some familiar-sounding singles, such as When I Come Around
or Basket Case
, but don’t let them distract you on your way – they may sound tired and stale from overplaying, but they are mere pebbles on the road to something great.
And that something great is, of course, the songs that nobody knows. Particular standouts are opener Burnout
(which is to punk pop what Debaser
was to indie-pop), the furious, in-your-face blast of In The End
and the catchy choruses of both Sassafras Roots
and Emenius Sleepus
. Musicianship remains solid throughout, although the loss of Billie Joe’s scorching guitar solos is sorely missed by anyone who has ever heard 1.039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours
. Lyrically, he remains a keen observer of human relationships, particularly those between male and female. Whether he’s venting his frustration at an ex-girlfriend (on In The End
, a lyric that I would really
like some girls I know to read), perfectly capturing rite-of-passage confusion (on Coming Clean
, probably the only filler track on here) or reflecting the utter boredom of being young (on Longview
), Billie Joe’s lyrics ring true to most, if not all, of his young audience.
But the true stars here are the rhythm section. Mike Dirnt made the list of best contemporary bassists after this album, and deservedly so: not only does he carry Longview
almost by himself, but he also excels on songs such as Sassafras Roots
or the re-recording of the Kerplunk
hit, Welcome To Paradise
. This same song also reveals another star: Tre Cool. He shines on every song on this album, but this is probably his tour de force – his pre-chorus and chorus breaks are famous among rock fans. Other songs in which he excels are Burnout
and When I Come Around
. However, in songs like Pulling Teeth
, he also shows that he can be a team player when needed.
And speaking of Pulling Teeth
, this is another standout. It’s a slower track (to all effects, a ballad), reminiscent of some of the Ramones’ slower songs. Stylistically, it’s a direct cousin of Christie Road
. It also features one of Billie Joe’s rare solos, that (perhaps because of their scarcity) are absolutely delicious. The only other solo is When I Come Around
, and it sounds pretty good as well.
All in all, this is a record in which Green Day try to expand their sound, and succeed. Unlike American Idiot
, where the band strayed a bit far from their roots, on Dookie
they stay true to their sound while taking it to new lengths. They do a good job, and this album fully justifies its huge chart success. Sure, the singles are tiredsome, but the rest fully makes up for that small perk. In a word: marvellous. In a few more: essential, seminal, unmissable, unsurmountable. Perfect.
When I Come Around
In The End
…and pretty much every other track apart from Basket Case
and Coming Clean