Zachary Hertz (ZH): It’s the final edition of your favorite dairy-based review of decade-old music, the Cheeses of Suburbia! This week it’s just your hosts, two seniors who listen to pop punk and eat junk food because it’s cheaper than therapy. Before we get into Green Day’s “Dookie” (1994), I’ve prepared homemade mozzarella sticks! It’ll be hard to stay impartial here, but Brady, what are your thoughts?
BS: They’re so flavorful. I can taste Parmesan, and it’s not greasy — definitely better than most of the places we’ve had. The cheese could’ve been more melted, probably by cooking it at a lower temperature. I’ll go with an 8/10 because the cheese could’ve been better and the sticks are small, but the breading is good.
ZH: I’m flattered. Maybe I can make this into a career? I was skeptical about the Parmesan, but it adds much-needed flavor to the crunch. Good thing this album is short because it’s late.
BS: Also, my cold medicine is kicking in.
ZH: Then the first song probably describes us, right?
BS: “Burnout”? I’ve been burnt out since sophomore year. So many songs on this album are so stupid in concept, but I love it. I think it gives it a kind of charm. The guitar riffs are simple but the bass riffs are super intricate, and this album is one of the reasons I’m a stan for the bass.
ZH: “Chump” fascinates me — at the end, when he [Billy Armstrong] says, “I’m a chump,” it’s unclear if it’s a self-aware admission or a bitter, ironic statement. It’s driven by a manic energy that really characterizes this album and Green Day in general.
BS: I love the way everything explodes at the end until only the drums are left, transitioning smoothly into “Longview.” Mike Dirnt wrote this while tripping, wrote most of it down and pieced together the rest. “Welcome to Paradise” is about Green Day’s move to California. It starts with them hating it, then turns into “Some call it slums, some call it nice,” then ends on “For some strange reason it’s now / Feeling like my home / And I’m never gonna go.” Seeing this song live was one of the highlights of my life.
ZH: That “Basket Case” and “She” are iconic singles with staying power, and in an already well-produced album, makes for 10 insane minutes.
BS: “F.O.D.” is so aggressive. It stands for “Fuck off and die.” I don’t know who they were angry at or why they were angry, but it’s really funny.
ZH: I can’t say anything new about this album, but it’s a well-produced classic that’s a standout for a major label debut. 8.5/10.
BS: This is the first album I ever owned — my dad got it for me. Even today, I listen to this music, and it’s pretty cool to be able to say I knew Green Day before “American Idiot” (2004). It’s immature at times, which hasn’t aged too well, but in terms of influence and personal enjoyment, I can’t give it any lower than a 9.
ZH: To take your own cheesy tour through a selection of pop punk, check out our playlist of highlights.