Monday, February 03, 2014

A Note on that Dookie




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The other day, Green Day’s album “Dookie” turned twenty years old. Read that sentence again. Dookie is twenty years old. Twenty years since people have been banging their heads to Basketcase (undeniably the most successful single to come out of that album). Twenty years since Billy Joe Armstrong’s signature voice broke through the mainstream (at least, here in the Philippines).

Green_Day_-_Dookie_cover

Yes. Taken from Dookie’s Wikipedia page.

Man. Twenty years. I wasn’t even listening to Green Day when Dookie came out. I was just starting to get into my Eraserheads groove at the time, freshly armed with my miniature Lumanog. I only really started listening to Green Day when I stepped into high school, and learned the magical beauty of overdriven guitars, drum and bass pumping pure adrenaline through your veins, and dischordant singing.

Basketcase was always a fun song to play since the chord progression was so simple that you can sing it while playing it on the guitar without sounding like a tool. I didn’t know much of the other songs in the album, either. Hell, I didn’t know how to play that many songs on the guitar at the time, and was better at improv than actually playing (this remains true to this day).

But I knew Basketcase because it was always on NU107, and that was the default radio station in the car ever since Campus Radio (I forget the frequency of Campus Radio) started playing too many pop songs for my taste.

It was later—much later—when I would have the time to listen to the entirety of Dookie and I’d recognize some songs through their bassline (Longview, for example, or She, both had exceptional grooves). Mike Dirnt is an underappreciated bass player, and now, as a reformed ex-bassist, I can’t help but focus on how solid the backbone of almost all the songs on Dookie are because of the tight rhythm section. In retrospect, I probably developed a good ear for dominant chords partly because of Basketcase. And to this day, I prefer playing and listening to songs with an active rhythm section.

So happy 20th birthday, Dookie. (Some) of your songs were cathartic for a teenager of the 90s, and my appreciation of music probably wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for you.

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