Chances are, if you came of age in the 1990s, you're going to feel a little old today. On this day in 1994, Green Day's breakthrough album "Dookie" was unleashed upon American listeners and would travel the world selling over 20 million albums.
From the quirky music videos to the themes of onanism and boredom, "Dookie" remains a classic staple of alternative music. It was punk rock-meets-pop with gallows humor and casual swears—the accessible middle ground between the ambient earnestness and despair of early 1990s music.
Tributes to the album floated their way across the internet this week, emphasizing its outsized influence on American music:
"Blink 182’s first album materialized a year after Dookie; the group has sold 35 million records to date. The Offspring have sold more than 40 million. Rancid, New Found Glory, Sum 41, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco ... the list goes on. Sure, none of these bands ever released a record as thrilling as Dookie. But all of them tried—and because of Dookie, America paid attention."
Some of Green Day's acolytes also chimed in, heaping praise upon the "classic 1994 LP [that] can be pointed at for rekindling the mainstream's interest in anything resembling a punk song." (It warrants mentioning that the best-selling album of the year was the soundtrack to "The Lion King.") But the facsimiles were never quite as sharp as the original.
Owing to its mainstream approachability, "Dookie" was rare in that it was both critically acclaimed and commercially successful. As the Times mentioned in its review of 1994's musical offerings: "Of the year's 10 top-selling albums, only one -- "Dookie" by Green Day -- appears on the top 10 lists of the Times music critics." It was also part of a pop music sales surge that reached the unprecedented apex of $11 billion just six short years before the industry would more or less collapse.