From start to finish, Green Day's third studio album, Dookie, is the definition of punk. You can hear the pain and anger in Billie Joe's voice as he sings melodic choruses of teen angst, violence, and boredom. Few times has a punk album become quite as popular and as well known as Dookie. It sold an impressive 10 million copies, and to some of their early fans, it seemed that they were selling out, but to every one else, they were just showing the world what they were capable of and making their voices heard. Dookie put this pop punk trio on top of the world and became one of the biggest albums of the decade. Green Day took what teenagers all across America were feeling, and put it in to words. They were saying what every one was thinking, but was too afraid to say. Kids could relate to what they were saying in Dookie, which made the three misfits from the bay area in California the voice of a generation.
Dookie starts with a fast-paced, wall of sound, "Burnout," which gets you hooked from the very first line. It's two minutes of pure teen angst, expressed with an angry chord progression and a series of superb drum fills performed by the incredible, ball of energy, Tre Cool. The second track on the album, "Having a Blast," is probably the most underrated song on Dookie. It has a very dark message, and controversial lyrics disguised by a poppy, melodic chorus and incredible musical performance by all three of them. Their talents are truly showcased on this track. Dookie is probably a career high for Mike Dirnt who has some catchy, grooving bass lines on the album, most notably on "Longview," one of the album's singles. The bass and drum pattern match perfectly in "Longview" and make for an incredibly bi-polar sounding track, alternating from the chilled out bass riff and tom-tom drum pattern, to the intense power chords creating that similar wall of sound as heard in "Burnout." Both lyrically and musically it is the greatest on the album. It's become an anthem of laziness and loneliness, two themes often quite relevant in nearly all teenager's lives, making it the most relatable song. "Basket Case," sounds like a cry for help from Billie Joe, singing about paranoia, and mental instability with the music video featuring the trio playing in a hospital. It even depicts Tre in a wheelchair getting pushed right up to the drum set where he pounds on them for some wicked fast and hard to copy drum fills featured near the beginning. To this day, it still receives regular airplay and truly became one of the biggest punk rock songs of all time.
Few songs on any album by Green Day have managed to be even close to as catchy as "When I Come Around," and "Welcome to Paradise," both rather high points on the album. "Welcome to Paradise," is an incredible song that is written in the style of a letter to his mother, about living on his own away from home as Billy Joe had done when he was only seventeen along with Mike. The song's meaning is that they find beauty in what other would find to be ugly, and that for them, being alone in the streets is paradise. It is one of the better written Green Day song with a radio ready guitar riff and catchy hook and chorus. It's songs like this where they get the "pop punk" label from. Nonetheless it still has a very punk meaning behind it as mentioned previously. One downside to the album that does take away from it, is that the second half of it doesn't have quite as good of songs as the first half, but regardless they still are all incredible. F.O.D. starts off with muted notes and you can feel the gradual build up in the music and in his voice as he sings catchy phrases that speak of rather gruesome things, until it explodes into a full blown intense arrangement. It definitely ends the album in one punk rock, in your face, violent, mosh pit ready song and it certainly ends it in a bang. But if you listen long enough, there is one hidden bonus track at the end which is almost more of a humorous mock song called "All By Myself."
Dookie is right up there with Nevermind for the sound of the 90s and it is one of the most definitive albums ever, making numerous lists by Rolling Stone and other magazines for very clear reasons. It was what put Green Day into mainstream and what separated them from every other band on the planet. No matter how great they become and no matter how many more hits they make, Dookie will always be a timeless classic in the punk rock and alternative rock scene which anyone can enjoy. They took the style and attitude of The Sex Pistols and The Dead Kennedys and threw a modern twist to it and brought it to a whole new audience who never would have been exposed to this type of music without them.