Dookie and the Peak of Profitable Cheap Plastic, Not Music or Culture
One of the things I like most about New Times Music Editor Martin Cizmar is disagreeing with him. We've had some fun arguments and discussions on music, culture, the role of the press and even Eazy E.
Which is why I felt compelled to write this post completely and unequivocally disagreeing with his latest column "An Ode To 1994: Green Day's Dookie and the Peak of Western Civilization."
Dookie, while a milestone, was not in any way the peak of Western Civilization. It was the peak of one specific physical product: the CD. It was the right record in the right place and right time. To understand why it was a huge success one has to look at the context. It came out as the CD format was finally becoming the universal standard music format, after slowly building for over a decade. It was not until the early 90s that this was cemented as the standard. Before that, there had been a long and confusing transition from record to cassette tape to CD.
Its now hard, if not impossible, for the media to measure the successes of one record against the next. Nine Inch Nails can release an album for free on their website and be the number on one seller on Amazon for the year and yet not be anywhere near the top of Billboard. Radiohead had one of the most culturally significant albums of the year (if not the decade) last year, but looking at the same charts that tell us how important Dookie was and you will not find it anywhere to be seen.