I suppose if I'm going to write about all the music that I liked when I was younger, the best place to start would be the first album I ever bought. I'm always afraid to tell people that the first album I purchased was Dookie by Green Day, not because I'm embarrassed to have liked Green Day. Everyone, at one point in their lives or another, liked Green Day. I'm afraid that the moment I tell people that my first CD was Dookie, they'll know that I was born exactly at 6:21AM on May 4, 1985. Then again, I suppose the point of this blog is to date myself. It does have “high school” right in the name.
Anyhow, Dookie was released February 1, 1994, with an accompanying single and major label promotion. The album was played on every radio station in my town. By “every” I mean “the rock station AND the Top 40 station.” My tiny, nine-year-old brain was no match for this media bombardment. Advertising works on children. That, and the fact that every single person I knew who was even halfway cool owned a copy of Dookie. I didn't want to be the only kid in town who didn't know the non-radio songs. I'm not some kind of square-mo. Soon I started mowing lawns to save up and buy the record. It took a month to get the eleven dollars (plus tax), but I marched right down to the Strawberries Records on Barnstable Road and snatched it up as soon as I could. Neither the shop clerk nor my parents asked about the parental advisory sticker. Frank Zappa: 1, Tipper Gore: 0.
Dookie manifests itself in my memory as the back of a school bus. Every day, to and from Marstons Mills East Elementary. We'd all sit in the back, talking about whatever fourth graders talk about. Proust? Sure. Then a Green Day song would come on the radio, and we'd all stop and sing along. In my memory, it was everyone singing. In actuality, it was probably just six or seven of us. But that's still a lot of people, if you ask me.
The success of this album with elementary schoolers marked the end of Green Day's indie cred. You can't be cool as well as popular, you know. In hindsight, it's hilarious to think of Green Day fans being disgusted by the band's critical and commercial success. Spiritually similar to Dylan going electric, the “selling out” of Green Day was an unforgivable betrayal to the Old Guard of [folk/punk] that led to bigger and better things in the mainstream rock world. Much like how Bob Dylan's best album, Highway 61 Revisited, was a direct result of his transition to electric guitars, Green Day's best – and arguably only good album came as a result of cleaning up their instrumentation, hiring a professional producer and writing hookier songs. There's nothing wrong with pop music. Sometimes things are popular because they're good.
I've given this album a few listens over the past week. I'm fairly certain it's still good. With this particular album, I can't tell if it's good or not. I spent so much of my time listening to it as a kid, every single world and note and chord is burned into my psyche. It has to be good because it's such a part of my development as a human being. It turns out that I didn't even really need to buy the album again. It's just so etched on my auditory cortex that, despite having no musical talent whatsoever, I could probably perform this entire album through a series of doots, boops and da-bum-dums. I believe this is known as a capella.
Since I can't not like this album, let me say this: I do hate every album Dookie spawned. This album paved the way for the great pop punk boom of the 90's. Every Blink 182, Sum 41, NOFX, and Offspring. Worse yet, that paved the way for the ska punk wave. Thanks for nothing, Goldfinger. And then New Found Glory. And Fall Out Boy. And Good Charlotte. And then holy shit, if you thought the music got worse – which it did – the band names sucked even harder. “Forever the Sickest Kids.” “Cute is What We Aim For.” “Kids in Glass Houses.” “Panic! at the Disco.” “These Kids Wear Crowns.” Fuck each and every one of you bands. And the greatest plague of all, American Idiot, by *GASP* GREEN DAY. Quasi-political, fish-in-a-barrel-shooting, corporate corporate-protest rock.
You know what? I fucking hate Dookie and I fucking hate Green Day. Fucking sellouts. Rot in hell, you miserable pricks.