Going back to Green Day Dookie for its 30th anniversary, I can sum up my feelings in one sentence: I was wrong. And dumb.

 

OK, that was two sentences. Sorry. And I suppose I could just end my 30th anniversary look-back there. But what fun would that be? Let’s dive into how wrong and dumb I was back on February 1, 1994, when Green Day dropped their third studio album–their major label debut–and proceeded to take over the country and then the world in a pop punk tidal wave straight out of the East Bay.

 

For context, I was 16 going on 17 in February of ’94. A junior in high school. That means I was a freshman in fall of ’91: a 14-year-old with a front row seat to the alternative rock explosion, with the Seattle grunge scene as ground zero. Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains. I loved them all. They became gateway drugs, taking me on a downward spiral further and further into the world of alternative.

 

Revisiting Green Day Dookie For Its 30th Anniversary

That’s the problem with drugs, right? They mess with your head. Somewhere along the line, I became the typical Gen X gatekeeping elitist of the day. These bands were OK to like, but those bands were not. This band sold out, and I’ll tell you why. I realize that’s all bullshit now. But indulging in that mindset back in the day put me off of one of the era’s greatest works of rock.

 

Dookie is a masterpiece. The scene politics and peer pressure of the day told me it wasn’t. Dan Ozzi gets into why that was in his essential 2021 book Sellout. 30 years on, I’m able to see all of this clearly now. Seeing the band live for the first time with my youngest at Fenway a few years ago helped, too. So scroll with me through a handful of standouts in appreciation of Green Day’s finest work turning 30.

  • "Burnout"

    “I declare I don’t care no more / I’m burning up and out and growing bored.” What an opening salvo for an opening track. Sums up the entire Gen X ’90s experience in a two-line lyric.

  • "Longview"

    I remember seeing the music video for lead single “Longview” all over MTV in the winter of ’94. I remember loving it, and feeling like I shouldn’t. Again, I was wrong. And dumb. And 16. And confused.

  • "Welcome To Paradise"

    *Simpsons Comic Book Guy voice* I actually prefer the original version of this song…from Kerplunk. Hahaha just kidding. I remember seeing footage of this one from Woodstock ’94 and being blown away.

  • "Basket Case"

    This song I legit did not like back in ’94. I feel like it got waaay more airtime and MTV time than the other singles from Dookie and I got burned out on it. Now, in ’24? I’ve had enough of a break, so I’m into it.

  • "She"

    I think Green Day are at their best when they’re channeling the spirit of the Ramones. Two minutes and change. “She” ticks that box for me, so it’s a favorite Green Day tune of mine and one I play often on my radio show.

  • "When I Come Around"

    This is the Green Day song that got my youngest into the band. They became so obsessed they even learned how to play it on drums. So yeah, 30 years ago this was just another single from Dookie. Now, it’s a bit of a treasure to me.

  • "All By Myself"

    Hidden track were all the rage in the CD-forward days of the ’90s. Of course Green Day buried one on Dookie. And of course it was funny and silly. A Tre Cool production.

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