It was the smash hit of the ’90s. Critics loved it. Christian rights groups loathed it. And of course, party-hard teenagers were irresistibly drawn toward it. Yes, it’s “Dookie,” Green Day’s hugely successful third effort to smash their way into the mainstream. Unlike most of their other efforts, this album's lyrics were primarily about the low-life, back-city lifestyle – a world of freaks, creeps, stoners, and so on. Tracks like “Long View,” “Basket Case,” and “Burnout” give the listener an unflinchingly accurate window into a life of endless boredom, bad TV, and apathy. Surprisingly, however, the album manages to convey these subjects with energy, passion, humor, and even some sweetness.
Some other groups would have probably used this hard-life subject matter as an excuse to descend into an endless array of annoying sentimentality and bland, uninspired songwriting – but not Green Day. Through it all, the group manages to keep up that fast-rockin’ party spirit with a cheeky approach to the subject matter so that it works just as well as the perfect soundtrack for a teen party as it does for a thought-provoking solo listen. The only song that veers from the predominant “slacker” theme is the tongue-in-cheek (and surprisingly tender) love song “When I Come Around,” which made the band one to remember at Woodstock ’94 and boosted the album’s sales in the process (30 million copies sold to date).
To sum it up, “Dookie” is so funny, original, and just plain good that I simply HAVE to give it 5 out of 5 stars [now the rating you see below] and recommend it to just about everybody reading this whether they’re hardcore Green Day fans or just starting to get into them. The album is as close to perfect as post-punk-pop has ever gotten, or probably ever will.
Review featured in print version of Teen Ink. Note: Yes, I know what I said here about not giving my earliest reviews number grades, but this one already said "5 out of 5 stars", so to claim I don't know what the grade would be for that particular album by now would just be stupid. End of story.