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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49 comments
Marc Chambers
Marc Chambers

I was already old when this came out and still bought the cassette.

Mindi Elizabeth
Mindi Elizabeth

Rebecca Stevens Lyndsay Harris-Campbell yall bitches old

Jon Jon
Jon Jon

pop punk has always been terrible and has always been 'pop' my first girlfriend's little brother liked this stuff... i was listening to Slayer and Ministry. I have no idea why I commenting... hahaha

Natalie Emmons
Natalie Emmons

this DOES make me feel old, considering I had this on a cassette tape.

Jeremy Brooks
Jeremy Brooks

Call it whatever you want. I call it a must-own.

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Who gives a fuck? The real question is "Is it good music?" that's the real question.

Adam Sparks
Adam Sparks

It was not the sex pistols but It was, more or less punk and hinted of things to come. No matter how unimpressed I was by their later efforts. This was good record.

Cat Blade
Cat Blade

One should never malign this band with punk, anyway. StL punks are white trash. I grew up with them. They were some of the harshest, most emotionally (and at times physically) abusive hillbillies this side of the greater metro area. They were elite - and stunted - in their musical choices. They were also a strange divide between poorly educated and over-privileged hipsters. They were calculated, mean-spirited, drunk, prone to violence, cruel, irritable - basically the poster children for what a real bully is. Between bashing each other in the face over petty differences, smashing up their ex-girlfriends' cars, selling drugs to kids, and ganging up on people either via physical force or by harassing said targets online with "why-don't-you-kill-yourself's" - these people were far from the awesome/amazing punk rockers we imagine lounging alongside a rather long and prolific musical genre. After so many years, most of them formed gangs (or "crews" as they called them). They carried around baseball bats and retractable nightsticks, hoping to get into a fight and hurt another person. Due to the overwhelming network they'd built, it took me a while to cut all ties to those monsters and their mutual friends - they definitely ruined whatever "punk" was supposed to be. And they ruined a lot of other people's lives in the process.

Andrew Michael Felder
Andrew Michael Felder

It sure seemed like 'punk' to a 7 year old kid from the suburbs who had to sneak around his brothers room to listen to it. And when your parents overhead you singing about masturbation and methanphetimin when you didn't know any better it was perceived to be the raddest thing you ever heard without the context of music history. And the MTV videos...nothing else was as raw as the guys in a mental hospital bouncing off the walls. And yes, 'punk' is a mentality not a sound. CBGB is punk and nobody there sounded like NOFX.

Jason Charney
Jason Charney

If your music is in a Broadway show, it is not punk rock.

Lynn Pevey
Lynn Pevey

Labels aside....It's great music and that is all that should matter. :D

Trista DiGiuseppi
Trista DiGiuseppi

NOoooo. Egg whites. Of course one guy I knew insisted he used his own semen. Brings a whole new level to "crust punk".

Courtney Cronin
Courtney Cronin

Hairspray? Tru punx use Elmer's glue on their liberty spikes.

Tim Ogden
Tim Ogden

Why is this even still debated? Do you folks honestly give a shit? If you think it's a good record then listen to it. If you don't, continue listening to One Direction, whatever floats your tugboat. I thought punk was a community based mentality, not one that pisses and moans about a songs' beats per minute.

Joan Reeves
Joan Reeves

It doesn't have to be, I still love it.

Kyle Jones
Kyle Jones

NO. It's shit sammich and damn the fools for thinking it's punk. It could be called Pop very easily with 3 chord wonders.

Trista DiGiuseppi
Trista DiGiuseppi

I remember years' worth of listening to some asinine "punk rawkers" getting their vaginas into a tangle over Green Day. "IT IS NOT PUNK. REJECTED." Then they'd go listen to their shitty basement-music, feeling wholly superior, wondering if they should buy more hairspray for their liberty spikes. Screw them. Green Day is an amazing band, nostalgic, talented, fun, and they were obviously inspired by bands like The Ramones etc. People refer to the Ramones as punk and they are no more formulaic/upbeat/poppy than Green Day. Also - music labels ...kinda pointless now. Because - internet. Listen to whatever you want.

Elissa Peskay
Elissa Peskay

I was just thinking about Dookie yesterday! Karmic.

Travis White
Travis White

light punk pop if there is such a thing. Its not country, so that's good.

Rick Kohn
Rick Kohn

is there a reason we insist on putting lables on music?

Eammon Azizi
Eammon Azizi

RFT Music logic: Did Tommy Stinson play on it? Because if he did, it's probably shi* because he plays in Guns N' Roses.

Ryan Mackley
Ryan Mackley

That was the big question back in the day. They say they never claimed to be punk, yet played in all the same clubs with all of the same bands that claimed to be punk. That is why there was a huge backlash when then started getting bigger. The fans felt used.

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