Green Day (Retrospecitve)

With this year being the 20th anniversary of Green Day’s Dookie, this is a time to look back on the great history of the band, and the difference they have made, not just to Rock Music, but to Music generally. Green Day are an integral part of my life as their music bought me together with my husband, and it was one of their gigs that first we attended together, so this piece just got personal.

In 1989 Green Day released their first EP “1,000 Hours” under Lookout! Records, who later went on to release their début studio album “39/Smooth”. In 1990 the final line-up was formed, with the former drummer leaving to attend college, Tre Cool stepped in, and the band were on their path to success. The trio got to work and released their second album “Kerplunk”, which, controversy over the cover art aside, was really well received.

After major disputes with their record label, Green Day parted ways with Lookout! Records and with Reprise Records released their third studio album “Dookie”, the album featured Green Day’s iconic energetic angsty punk sound. Dookie was the bands first of many collaborations with Producer Rob Cavallo, why change a good thing? as Dookie became a worldwide commercial success, peaking at number two in the Billboard 200. This was the start of mainstream rock, as Dookie alone started a new era of music, where Popular music and Rock crossed paths, opening the new genre: Pop-Punk. In 2003 Dookie still holds considerable acclaim, Rolling Stone ranked it 193 on the list of  “five-hundred greatest albums of all time”.

Dookie released five top hit singles, including “Long View”, “Welcome to Paradise” and the explosive “Basketcase”.  Basketcase spent five weeks at number one on the alternative billboard charts. Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day front man, said that the song was about his struggle with anxiety, and the video reflects how Armstrong felt he was going crazy- with it being shot at a real abandoned mental institution. The video was nominated for a total of nine MTV awards including Video of the year.

Post-Dookie the band released a string of good, but hard to differentiate albums: “Insomniac” in 1995, “Nimrod” 1997, “Warning” 2000, and then “American Idiot” in 2004. American Idiot was a change to Green Days usual style, with the band calling American Idiot their “Punk Rock Opera” the record was a more polished Green Day than we had heard before with the band leaning more towards Pop-Punk than straight Punk. Personally this is where Green Day began to lose me, after following them since I was seven years old this step towards stadium rock was off putting. Where had the bleached, dread-locked, jumper wearing dudes gone that had changed my life- myself? At present I still don’t know, as they went on to release similar “21st Century Breakdown” and “Uno”, “Dos”, and “Tre”. More baffling than the turn to stadium rock, is Billies recent work with Nora Jones, on folk album “Foreverly”.

Green Day and Dookie influenced a generation of new artists which have developed the wide variety of music and genres we enjoy today. Green Day fans include Fall Out Boy, Lady Gaga, My Chemical Romance, New Found Glory, Avril Lavigne, All Time Low, Paramore, Mcfly, Bowling For Soup, Trivium and many, many more. Before Green Day there was Rock Music and there was everything else. Now rock music has the ability to attain critical and commercial success. Rock can be Pop! (Pop is derivative of the word Popular!)

As of 2014 Dookie is the bands best-selling album, with more than 20 million copies sold worldwide, and songs are still played on radio and music television.

Ignoring present day Green Day, I still love Dookie, and always will.

Kimberley Bayliss