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music reviewmusic reviewmusic review  out of 4 Music Review: Dookie

Artist: Green Day
Genre: Rock/Pop, Punk
Release Date: February 1994

Review by LarryG
3 stars out of 4

Thanks to Time of Your Life from 1997's Nimrod CD, Green Day and their singer/guitarist/writer Billie Joe Armstrong have belatedly gotten some respect. Billie Joe has matured a little but he has been making good music since the band broke through with Dookie. It was easy to dismiss Green Day as just ripping off the Clash, Ramones and Sex Pistols. Billie Joe is clearly a fan of late 70's punk, as he shows by sometimes slipping into an English accent on songs like Long View, but he has established his own identity. His ability to make music that appeals to punk and pop fans is truly a gift.

The songs on Dookie aren't cerebral but eight million Dookie buyers weren't wrong. Dookie is filled with tight, exciting adrenaline filled rock. Billie Joe's guitar playing is pretty basic but strong and the band keeps the music moving at a great, energized pace. The lyrics are juvenile but Billie Joe simply expressed his audience's confusion about growing up and not knowing where you're going. Long before Columbine, Billie Joe sang Having a Blast about feeling such confusion and loneliness that he fantasized about blowing himself up and taking a bunch of people with him. Long View always seemed a little gimmicky to me but the kids clearly connected with that slacker anthem about having no motivation, sitting around watching the tube, so bored that even masturbation's lost its fun. While it's simplistic, Long View sounds like a hit. The music grabs you right from the start with Mike Dirnt's bass line before exploding into its chorus with Billie Joe's invigorating power chords. The appeal of Basket Case, is also undeniable. Billie Joe's self described melodramatic whine about feeling like he's cracking up actually has a fun, self deprecating side and the music is fast and exhilarating.

The main draw of Dookie is the energy of the music. Dookie has a lot of excellent rockers. Welcome to Paradise, a song about a runaway finding a home on the streets that was also on the band's Kerplunk CD, is great juiced up three chord rock that cops a little from the Yardbirds' For Your Love. The lightning quick She is very good fun. Most of the songs on Nimrod are fast punky pop but Billie Joe successfully mixed in a few slower songs. When I Come Around has a great guitar riff and a little more sophistication than most of Dookie. On Pulling Teeth, about staying with a girl out of her fear of her violence, the band winningly pulls up, like on Nimrod's Redundant, and emphasizes good harmonies. Dookie was a real sounding depiction of the torments of a troubled youth. More importantly, the music is exciting rock. The lyrics aren't sophisticated but Billie Joe showed a definite talent for making likeable, fast music. There were also a few signs that the band would be interesting performers if they ever grew up.



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