Review Summary: Green Day's third studio album reaches legendary status and divides the fans between punk rock and pop punk, but there is something good here for everyone to enjoy.
Many would say that Dookie is Green Day's best album, I wouldn't agree. I heard this after American Idiot and as far as I'm concerned nothing Green Day has made beats American Idiot. But, Dookie is a stellar record in many ways. Perhaps in ways that fans will never get to hear again because of the direction Green Day has now taken.
Dookie begins with a great opener "Burnout", rapid-fire drums kick start the song into a very simple rhythm with badass bass during the bridge. A song that anyone can enjoy. This song does remind me of Minor Threat who were the punk gods really when they were around but I am not comparing Minor Threat to Green Day.
"Having A Blast" is a little slower than "Burnout" and features a belting chorus with the lines "well no-one here, is getting out alive/This time I've really lost my mind and I don't care". The chorus continues with sing-along lyrics and then drops to a slower pace guided by a good drum beat. "Chump" isn't much different from the previous two tracks but it does have a solid rhythm where again the bass steals the show throughout- especially the picking bass line during the quite lengthy bridge. The guitars sneak in with the drums and take you away on a guitar-shredding highlight.
The album highlight "Longview" is one of Green Day's most popular songs and you can see why when that creepy bass tune tickles you're ears. Tre then breaks out the chorus (which is brilliant) for about ten seconds until it goes back to the bass beat. Billy's vocals are worth mentioning here, they are quiet during the verses which is a really nice touch with the bass. In the choruses he yells in his instantly recognizable voice. The lyrics are very effective, it's all about boredom, "sit around and watch the phone and no-ones calling/Call me pathetic call me what you will" and the music video as well is astonishing.
The next big single is "Welcome To Paradise". Quite similar to the first two tracks in terms of rhythm and a bridge in the same old familiar place. It seems the Mike's talents are only shown in the bridge of every song which is a shame. The verses also feature nice backing vocals as well as the chorus. I believe there is also a breakdown before Billy chants "welcome to paradise" which I like a lot. After five solid tracks, "Pulling Teeth" brings it down somewhat. Personally, I just find it a little dreary; it's not aptly named where I would pull my own teeth out to avoid listening to it. Not at all, it's bearable, but does that mean all the stellar tracks are gone?
Ah ye of little faith. "Basket Case" brings it all back up. Instantly recognizable beginning to any Green Day fan or any rock fan in general. "Basket Case" makes one helluva song to sing to. It's intoxicating actually. Seldom does Green Day leave it out of their live shows if ever at all. There is nothing not to like about this song, it's just perfect. The perfect beat, the vocals and Tre's drumming that keeps it all playing into a symphony of gorgeousness. Sadly, "Basket Case" is wedged in between two average songs, the latter being "Pulling Teeth" and this one "She". It's nice that after the speedy pace of the first half of the album is separated with slower songs but not when it's got such a boring rhythm. Maybe what I said about the speed and rhythm doesn't make sense but I just can't pick out the good in "She". Perhaps with more listening I'll enjoy it more?
It appears Green Day is continuing with the same formula of songwriting (apart from "Longview", "She" and "Basket Case"). "Sassafras Roots" really isn't that different from the rest of the album apart from the bracketed songs, so it doesn't make much for an exciting listen. "When I Come Around" is a lot slower than most of the songs on the album and unlike "She" I do like the rhythm. This is another big single from the album and it's obvious why. It's a slow catchy track which will intoxicate you with the beats as you tap whatever's nearest to you rhythm with the music.
It appears that "Coming Clean" is nothing more than filler for the album. It's a short energetic song. This takes me back to my Minor Threat point. They wrote short songs full of punk rockness. Green Day doesn’t carry the same message of Minor Threat (or any message come to think of it) but it reminds me of the good old days of punk rock. Not sure if Dookie is a punk rock album but I like this song- guilty pleasure. "Eminius Sleepus" is nine seconds longer than "Coming Clean" and again it's quite good. I love the flurry of drums three quarters of the way into the song and I like the lyrics too.
"In The End" is practically "Burnout B-side". They start off relatively the same and carry very samey formats. "In The End" is slightly longer than "Eminius Sleepus". From the song lengths and structures it seems this and the previous two songs are nothing but filler. "In The End" is enjoyable because its simple- "Burnout" is better though. "F.O.D." is pretty good with ace instrumental work throughout.
Dookie is a hallmark in punk rock/alternative rock and remains to this day as their best work amongst the majority. It's a great album with highlights and missed opportunities. I would recommend this album just for "Longview" and "Basket Case"- must listens.