Green Day has a knack for kicking off records in a riveting fashion, but the band often has a problem wrapping them up as strongly. For album closers, the trio typically opts for an unremarkable rocker (“Walking Contradiction”, “Prosthetic Head”) or a decent understated number that lacks the punch and passion of preceding tracks (“Macy’s Day Parade”, “Whatshername”). And the less said about the ghastly AOR sheen of “See the Light” from last year’s 21st Century Breakdown, the better. Consequently, “F.O.D.”—the final listed track on Dookie—stands as the band’s best official album closer by virtue of the process of elimination more than for being a great tune.
Green Day aims to conclude its third full-length record in climactic fashion, building from understated verses and choruses (featuring only Billie Joe Armstrong’s voice and an acoustic guitar) to an anthemic crash of amplifiers and drum rolls as Armstrong profanely explains the meaning behind the song’s acronym title. It doesn’t quite work, though. The main reason is because the acoustic preamble is meant to set listeners up for the sudden sucker punch of the full band onslaught, but it’s severely undermined by the fact that Armstrong plays his acoustic guitar exactly as he would an electric—strumming power chords aggressively with a precise rhythmic thrust (it must be noted though that this does provide listeners with a glimpse of Armstrong’s rhythm guitar prowess shorn of amplifier distortion). Really, the only major difference in tone between the two parts of the song is that one half is noisier than the other.