Dookie is where being a punk rocker became a valid career choice.
This sounds a bit like an insult, I know, but as I wrote after seeing them at Lollapalooza in 1994 is that the mid-1990s success of Dookie and its fellow third (or fourth) (or fifth) generation punk rock brethren meant that — like metal before it — punk rock had achieved perpetual motion.
Part of which meant that an ambitious guy like Billie Joe Armstrong could choose punk rock as his initial form of expression, and ignore whatever limitations and restrictions that would have previously been inherent to that choice.
Of course, punk rockers had been ignoring the restrictions of punk rock since The Clash, so this was nothing new, but the ongoing success of Green Day felt like something new, because they clearly weren’t visionaries or revolutionaries but rather a super tight band that featured an ace songwriter with a keen melodic sense.
And “Longview” was where it all kicked in: exploiting the quiet loud quiet formula with a loping bassline and rolling drums dominating the verses and guitar explosions and drum rolls in the chorus.
It wasn’t anything new, but it sounded fucking amazing on the radio, which was where Green Day really made their mark. Radio loved their singles, and while the airplay saturation they got didn’t really translate into singles sales — they didn’t have an actual Billboard Charts hit single until “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” it certainly translated into album sales.
But most importantly, I think, is that Green Day provided a contemporary entry into punk for a generation of kids who otherwise might have figured that it was a dying genre.
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