Review Summary: "99 percent of all men masturbate, and the other 1 percent lie about it." - Billie Joe Armstrong
Although Green Day is deserving lots of grumbles and gripes these days, there once was a time when they were not artificial politicians. There was a time when they were morons. There was a time when they died their hair blue. There was a time when they got high. There was a time when they were punk. And while they were punk, they were basically snotty adolescents. Not necessarily to the same level as, say, blink-182, but snotty enough to call their next album the Spanish word for brown stinky stuff that comes out your butt. Oh yes. It's no joke.
But you see, Dookie is not simply another alternative rock collection of tunes, as most would agree with me. Dookie is the staple of this genre, the punk of the 21st century. With each track you grow absorbed in the imaginary concert that Billie Joe has created throughout the entire album, one that is hard to forget. The album explodes with a pure teenage-angry song "Burnout", a song that is nothing too particularly special but loads of fun to play on guitar and contains not two, nor three, but four short-but-insane little drum solos near the end of the track, which definitely will get you pumped up for the rest of the album.
But what comes next is simply a mediocre track, otherwise known as "Having A Blast". The first two thirds of the song are simply the same thing, using a chorus of "To me it's nothing" which oddly enough sounds like it's been used quite a bit in other songs, although I cannot identify those exact songs. Strange. Another thing Green Day is good at doing is turning a tune with depressing lyrics into a perky-kind-of-sounding track, this one song being a good example of that.
"Chump" is number 3 here, and although the song's core is not really anything outstanding, it's really the instrumental breakdown near the end of the track is what makes this song worthwhile. After Billie is done singing his snotty lyrics ("I don't know you / but I think I hate you"), the Mike starts to pluck a rather technical bass line by himself, with Billie and Tre playing 3 quick notes every few measures in sync. Eventually Billie goes crazy with his guitar and plays a repeated high note several times while sometimes sliding back up the neck, until all calms down a bit as Tre changes his drumming to a lazy-kind-of beat (check out "Girl" by The Beatles so you'll know what I'm talking about). This next song is the all-famous "Longview", which was the album's lead single and a definite highlight.
Once the drumming picks up more, Mike comes in with a slide down his bass' neck a begins his famous bass line, which is impossible to describe. You just need to listen to it. Unlike other tracks on the CD, there is no guitar played during the verses of this song and is only used to accompany the chorus. After Billie Joe begins with "I sit around and watch the tube but nothing's on / twiddle my thumbs just for a bit / I'm sick of all the same old ***" the tempo stays the same but switches from a tom-tom based drum beat to a loud and steady snare beat in sync with Billie's power chord, until the swingy-like chorus comes in with "Bite my lip and close my eyes / take me away to paradise / I'm so damn bored I'm going blind / and I smell like ***" in an over-the-top snotty / angry tone. Immediately after, the rhythm goes back to the lazy tom-tom and bass rhtyhm. I don't think there's any other song out there that can capture exactly what this song does, which is simply sitting around your house in the dead heat of the summer with nothing to do but... jack off? For some perhaps. In this case the answer would be YES.
Ah, the classic, "Welcome to Paradise". Although the title is something you've probably heard a million times before, it is used a bit differently here. First, the song starts quick with the same formula we've seen used a lot already: rapid power chords accompanied by powerhouse drums on top of a plucky bass line, with occasional bass break-offs. This song has all of that, period.
This is honestly where the album really gets started, right after "Longview". Excellent use of harmony is used in this next track, "Pulling Teeth", which is also the first song in the lineup to feature a guitar solo. Gotta love it. And who could forget the signature Green Day song, "Basket Case"? No one can, it is scientifically proven. The song itself is amazingly catchy and exotically written, and while nothing really stands out much here, the way that Billie sings demandingly in the beginning only accompanied by a palm-muted guitar part makes you feel like this band is the master of something they have just started. NO doubt the best song here. "She" also provides you with the album's very best chorus with a very simple-but-fitting bass line. The lyrics in this little ditty are simply ingenius, no joke.
Right after a weaker song by the name of "Sassafrass Roots" (in which "wasting your time" is sung after every single line), we have one of my personal favorites, "When I Come Around". There's nothing like having your iPod on shuffle while this song comes on. It is rhythmitically slower than the other songs, which is refreshing. Although the same chord progression is used through the whole song, it never gets old with the perfectly used palm-muting on the strings and of course you can't forget the guitar solo right after the second chorus. Simply amazing.
When I first read the lyrics for "Coming Clean", I thought that it was simply going to be song that focused way too much on the words and not so much on the music. But was I wrong. Billie Joe reaches a point in his voice here that is definitely not shown anywhere else on the CD, as well as repeating it through the song. This never gets tiresome, for the song is only under two minutes. But really makes it stand out is the lengthy guitar solo near the middle of the song, as it basically has two parts and really matches the upbeat tone of the rest of the song. Very underrated.
As you can probably tell by the title, "Emenius Sleepus" is simply filler that sounds a lot like "Chump". If you really look into the lyrics, it kinda seems like this could have been a Blink-182 song. Just saying. "In the End", however, stands out a bit as the rhythm speeds up quite a bit and Billie sort of struggles to sing in tempo with the insane beat. Not really too much here, but it is kind of entertaining to listen to. In the same league as "The Party Song" by Blink-182.
The closer is the only track with acoustic guitar, which takes up as much as two thirds of the song. The beginning section is simply Billie as he strums his grungy acoustic guitar in time with his angry lyrics with spacey singing. You'll probably love it the first few times you hear it, and suddenly the chorus EXPLODES into your speakers as Billie and Mike both sing "You're just a f**k! / I can't explain cuz I think you suck! / I'm taking pride in telling you to f**k off and die!" And that, kids, is what F.O.D. stands for.
Oh by the way, about a minute and a half after this last song ends, you hear another acoustic guitar part, but this time it's more tropical-sounding along with some bongos maybe? I don't know for sure, but then Tre (the drummer) starts to sing in a very insecure-sounding tone about being alone, along with his little guitar that he vaguely knows how to play. Just two chords is all you'll hear him play. And then it's over. It's all over!
But I guess what I love most about this whole thing is that it simply cannot get old. The songs never fail to make me feel happy and they kind of give me a purpose... As weird as that sounds, but I really think this album was meant for anyone to listen to if they want a good time. Like when you're in the dead of summer with literally nothing to do. Or when you're angry because it's always so dang cold in the winter. Or when you're just happy with your life, this CD always wins me over. Green Day, you never cease to amaze me.
-Lots of awesome tracks especially in the middle
-Billie is the best guitarist in the pop-punk industry
-Audible bass lines
-Excellent use of harmony
-Humorous and clever lyrics throughout
-The first three tracks are pretty weak
-Occasional too-fast singing by Billie
-The hidden track is retarded
Ranking of songs:
14. Having a Blast
12. Emenius Sleepus
11. Sassafras Roots
10. In the End
8. Pulling Teeth
6. Coming Clean
5. Welcome to Paradise
3. When I Come Around
1. Basket Case
One more thing: this is my first review, so go easy on me. Please?