Why I Still Love Green Day's Dookie, 20 Years Later

Of course, I'm not fifteen anymore, and in the years between when Dookie was new and now, I've found I listen to music differently. It's kind of a bummer because the thrill I got from music when I was still too young to legally operate a car dissipated by the time I qualified for a good driver discount. Now it's all about tones and arrangements and picking apart this note and that, but what's amazing about Dookie is how it fires that clinical, adult part of my brain, too. Listening to it now, I get excited about its spacious, live sound, and the way the drums are panned and how the vocals on a "Basket Case" are really fucking loud. Even though the album is short, it amazes me that people were perfectly willing to stay until the end of fifteen songs, because even though you had to sit through breezy filler like "Chump," the album still had five awesome songs and another five that are almost as good.

Now, when I listen to "Longview," I hear a conversation with myself I had during the ten minutes I thought about taking a break from smoking weed. I still think "Sassafras Roots" sort of sucks, but I wonder if NOFX used the opening chords for a joke in "Fuck the Kids" or if they were just flat-out stealing. Is the place where Billie Joe goes schlepping off to in "Longview" the same one he's talking about in "Welcome to Paradise?" Because if so, a Velcro seat is better than that place of broken dreams.

Dookie is the last Green Day album I've ever owned, because once you soak in the back catalog, it's a short jump through their back catalog to bands like Operation Ivy and the Queers and feeling sheepish about ever listening to the Offspring. But even if Dookie pulled punk from the grimy fingers of BART station hoboes and popped it into the mainstream, who cares? Like Rosemarie Sandoval's hair spray, I'm glad Dookie's held on so long.

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