Greenday’s breakthrough 1994 album Dookie, released through Reprise Records, turns twenty this February and in my book this calls for a dusting down of the CD and a re-listen.Times have changed, and yet for the jobless generation of twenty-something’s who teeny-bopped to these three-chord wonders during the pop-punk resurgence of the late nineties and early noughties (God I hate that word), the ‘messages’ might still be as relevant, even if the riffs aren’t fitting in with the the 2014 zeitgeist (though they’re so darn catchy they might be).
The New York Times very effectively summed up the album in early 1995 (they’d had a year to think about it): ‘Punk turns into pop in fast, funny, catchy , high-powered songs about whining and channel-surfing; apathy has rarely sounded so passionate.’
Why does that have to get old? And anyway, in people terms twenty isn’t old! Why can’t Dookie still be as cool as Tré Cool’s name might, admittedly, never have been?
A glance down the track list sees hits outweighing the misses (singles are listed in Bold):
- Having a Blast
- Welcome to Paradise
- Pulling Teeth
- Sassafras Roots
- When I come Around
- Coming Clean
- Emenius Sleepus
- In The End
- F.O.D (+ hidden track: All by Myself)
In ‘Longview’ ‘the tube’ could now be updated to YouTube, but the experience of repetitive channel-hopping and thumb-twiddling has got to be as relevant now as it was then.
And then there’s the whingeing and ultimate but not quite stoic acceptance that comes with employment and leaving home in ‘Welcome to Paradise.’ ‘Dear mother can you hear me whining?’
For those who feel as though they’re not growing up they’re just burning out, there are tracks here aplenty. This is a form of transparent whining that its really only possible to stomach in this relatively upbeat pop-punk format. This is not the sophisticated wordsmithery of well…The Smiths but Dookie‘s raw and unashamed angsty-cry still has a liberating power that you don’t have to be a basketcase to appreciate.
We all need a little more impassioned apathy, if only to break up the monotony of the other kind. And anyway, a little bit of nostalgia never hurt anyone…although a lot of it
probably definitely did.