Why is Dookie still so relatable 25 years in?
How’s Dookie still so relatable 25 years in? Because it never left – I want you to think about the Simpsons for a moment. We all have a perception or hope that we are all Bart’s because he’s the cool one. As we grow older we slowly come to realize that we were never Bart at all. Instead, it begins to dawn on you that we are all in fact Homer’s. Slovenly, gluttonous and the opposite of hip. Now, let me explain how I’ve somehow drawn a crazy correlation between Green Day’s Major Label debut and The Simpsons.
How Dookie is still relatable Green Day’s Dookie forever changed my life. I remember when I obtained my first copy of it. I felt so sneaky. My local library would allow you to check out only 3 cds at once. While this limitation obviously sucked, their catalog of relevant albums did not. In fact, if they did not own a copy the album you were requesting they would even go so far as to order you a copy. Pretty awesome library, right?
Anyway, I checked out Dookie around age 12 (when the album was only 5 years old) from the library and immediately burned it to a CD-R (Millennials in the house?). I remember listening on my Sony Walkman in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. Hiding under the covers so my parents would have no way of seeing any light emanating from the CD player. Right away I knew I had stumbled upon something special.
As a Percussionist, Tre Cool brought me into the fold first with his truly badass solo on the very first track, Burnout. That solo would end up being the catalyst for my beginning to take drumming seriously. I wanted to be able to do that. However the hell Tre was soloing so quickly, I wanted to know how I could make my hands move in a similar manner. It was the first solo I remember learning in full as a kid and to this very day it floors me every time I hear it.
Just like how we all ultimately become Homer’s, Burnout, becomes more and more relevant daily. Apathy rains on me. I’m not growing up. Dragging my feet to hit the street at night. I’m just burning out.
So, why do I keep bringing up this notion of the Simpsons and Green Day? It’s because Dookie, in 39 minutes and 38 seconds, personifies the decades long realization that you are a Homer. It took me until I was probably near 30 to realize I was definitely no Bart. Dookie tells you right away. It’s a loser. It’s no good for you. It’s literally a piece of s**t!
The Coolest Losers
Aside from Burnout, Green Day makes sure to continue to inform you what losers they are – With tracks like Chump, Longview, and Basketcase, how could one deny that they are being self deprecating?
The problem is that Green Day was trying to portray themselves as losers with this album and they fail horribly at that. I say that because Dookie (at least sonically) is truly a Bart. It’s slick and cool as hell, man. Billie-Joe in nearly each song is saying “Eat My Shorts,” in one way or another. They tried their damndest to make a lazy ‘I don’t give a f**k’ Homer album, but played it too well and too fast to deny Dookie Bart status.
Now that I’ve laid my cards on the table for how these two pop culture icons connect, what in the hell does that have to do with Dookie’s relevance? How can I make a case for cultural relevance with a show that first aired five years before this album? It’s because both were so relevant in their heyday and still are. But why? And, more importantly, how?
It’s because Dookie speaks to the loser stoner inside all of us. It’s actually a rather personal album, in my opinion. It’s introverted and downright weird at times. Definitely a Homer attribute. However, it blasts your face off in a way that only a Bart could.
So Much to Say, So Little Time
To wrap up this discussion on How Dookie is still relatable 25 years in I’d like to say that I think the fact that Green Day was able to nail down both Homer and Bart in one relatively short album speaks to it’s longevity. As explained before, you’re either one or the other. Cool or lame, with an approaching train of lame moving at you at 90 MPH. Dookie manages to be cool and lame at the same time. A quality which is all too common these days but this trio will always stand out to me for these attributes. Hell, they may not have invented the lame/cool dichotomy but I think Dookie explains it best.
What do you think? As always, please feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear your take on this oddball little article here. Keep rockin’ and rollin’!