Record Company: Columbia Records
Release Date: June 17, 2008
Producer: Bob Rock
Web Site: http://www.offspring.com/
Dexter Holland ~ Vocals, Guitar
Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman ~ Guitar, Vocals
Greg K. (Kreisel) ~ Bass, Vocals
Josh Freese ~ Drums
Dexter, Noodles, Higgins (X-13) ~ Backing Vocals
1.) Half-Truism [3:26] (The Offspring): The album starts off with one of Dexter's classic machine gun riffs, and the song has all the trademarks of The Offspring formula... powerful, infectious riffs and catchy choruses. Dexter has his patented screaming/singing in top-notch form here, and the band lays down a solid foundation, just like they've been doing since the Epitaph days. A solid entry for the boys. Rating: 8/10
2.) Trust In You [3:09] (The Offspring): This song is a near-carbon copy of their hit, All I Want. The song structure and riff are nearly identical. Can a band get in trouble for plagiarizing thier own song? If so, they're screwed... without a doubt. Since I love All I want, obviously, I love this one too... Rating: 9/10
3.) You're Gonna Go Far, Kid [2:58] (The Offspring): This is The Offspring's version of a disco song, sporting cymbal-rides and lyrical tidbits like "Dance fucker, dance... He never had a chance..." This one is catchy, infectious and grooving... while still managing to retain its status as a kick-ass rocker of the First Order. One of my new favorites... Great jam! Rating: 10/10
4.) Hammerhead [4:38] (The Offspring): This song is a bit darker-sounding than much of their material, but it's still instantly-recognizable as an Offspring tune. With lyrics about soldiers and war, this one sounds like The Offspring doing their impression of Metallica's Disposable Heroes. Session drummer Josh Freese turns in an outstanding performance on the kit, while Greg plays a sweet little bass riff during the break. Overall, the band really "hammers" it out here. Rating: 8/10
5.) A Lot Like Me [4:28] (The Offspring): Dexter and the boys were obviously going for a different vibe here on this dramatic, mid-tempo tune. It features piano-backed, introspective verse lyrics and intense, driving choruses. A definite change of pace for the band, which happens to work very well. If I didn't know any better, I'd think they were trying to expand their musical horizons yet again... Rating: 8/10
6.) Takes Me Nowhere [2:59] (The Offspring): Old-school punk meets Dexter & Co., this track is another example of why The Offspring are so good. The song is short and to the point... it beats on your skull for 3 minutes... and leaves you moshing when it's over. Not too shabby... Rating: 8/10
7.) Kristy, Are You Doing Okay? [3:42] (The Offspring): Alt-punk band + some random chick's name in the title = corny. Yep... the equation still works after all these years.
This is the story of a poor, wayward waif by the name of Kristy (obviously ) and her apparently endless trials and tribulations. It seems that for some reason, every normally self-respecting alt-punk band these days feels the need to churn out at least one candidate for "MTV-ready prom theme of the year." I can just see old Dexter giving his speech at the VMA's now... Well, it's not really all that bad, but I always expect something great from these guys, and to be honest, this one just didn't grab me. Rating: 6/10
8.) Nothingtown [3:29] (The Offspring): Wow! This one sounds like the bastard kid of The Offspring and Green Day! Dexter's distinctive vocals make it obvious who's driving, but I think Billie Joe Dookie-dude should definitely get credit as the copilot. Not a bad tune at all... but I think it's pretty apparent that they were listening to "American Idiot" while recording this one. Rating: 7/10
9.) Stuff Is Messed Up [3:32] (The Offspring): A shuffling beat and an overdriven guitar swells into a screaming ode to all that is wrong with modern society. TV, cell phones, politics... you name it, they hate it. The song features full-on, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and classic alt-punk sound. "I don't know too much... but I know this... Shit is fucked up!" Now there's a man who knows what I like... Rating: 8/10
10.) Fix You [4:19] (The Offspring): Another semi-power ballad, but a bit more well done and original this time. Building on sparse verse arrangements and droning vocals, the choruses explode in a flurry of heartfelt sadness. In fact, this tune has an almost Nirvana-like vibe to it, employing a similar swelling arrangement. This is the song that should be voted in for the prom theme, but we all know sappy Kristy... is a shoe-in, mainly because like the man said... "Shit is fucked up!" Rating: 7/10
11.) Let's Hear It For Rock Bottom [4:05] (The Offspring): This jam is a bit of a return to the band's shuffling rhythms heard on some of their earlier album cuts. The music varies from a Police-inspired sound on the verses to a Clash vibe during the choruses. All-in-all, I'd call it a filler track, but it's still a pretty good song... it just doesn't stand out much to me. Rating: 6/10
12.) Rise And Fall [2:59] (The Offspring): This is a classic-sounding Offspring jam. Heavy and frantic, the tune takes off and never slows down for a minute. The band tears out on this track and Dexter belts 'em out with attitude and authority... like a musical drive-by. A nice way to close the disc off with a "bang!" Rating: 8/10
The Last Word:
NOTE: For all parents out there, this one is not for the kiddies due to the liberal use and abuse of the f-bomb.
Here ya go, Mikey! Enjoy...
Well, if you've gotten this far into the review, it's reasonable to assume that you either already know the band, or are at least willing to give these guys a listen (or maybe you just love my awesome reviews ). That's a smart move, because dismissing The Offspring as just another band among the endless waves of ska and punk clones that seemed to come out of nowhere in the mid-90's would be a terrible mistake on your part.
The Offspring have actually been around since the early 80's ('84 to be exact), banging their way through the California club scene around their hometown of Huntington Beach... and almost 25 years later, the same core gang of misfits (Dexter, Noodles and Greg) are still out there doing their thing. Ironically, I just learned that Noodles was recruited into the band while the original members were still in high school. He was the school's janitor... and old enough to buy them beer. You gotta love that!
Since their first full-length album ("The Offspring") was released on Nemesis Records (a small indy label), they have been expanding their horizons beyond the standard politically-aware punk they grew up on. After recording the "Baghdad" EP, they attracted the attention of Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz, who signed them to his own independent label, Epitaph Records. Their second album, "Ignition" sold much better than anticipated, but it was the follow-up album, "Smash" that really sent their careers into the stratosphere. Since it's release in 1994, it has become the best-selling independent release of all-time, surpassing 16 million units sold to date. After that, they signed with Columbia Records and never looked back, releasing album after album of killer tunes, ranging from ska to punk to rock to metal... and all points in between. Their most recent release prior to this album ("Splinter") met with marginal success.
After an extended layoff, the band began work on this album in November of '06. During the hiatus, drummer Atom Willard took on a side project with Angels & Airwaves. Due to contract conflicts with Geffen over his status, he was not allowed to perform on the album and ultimately decided to leave the band permanently in July of '07. For the recording sessions, he was replaced by session drummer Josh Freese (who also handled the drum duties on "Splinter"), and the band recruited Pete Parada to handle the kit duties on the current tour.
The album's release marks the longest stretch between studio albums for the band (over 4 years), but it was well-worth the wait, in my opinion. Lyrically and musically, the album is classic Offspring, but still sounds fresh and current. As always, the band is on top of their game and the songwriting is clever and catchy. These guys have always had a knack for having a couple of songs that will instantly hook you with their infectious groove and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. This one is no exception... with songs like the sarcastic, PG-13 Stuff Is Messed Up and You're Gonna Go Far, Kid, this album has several songs that will haunt you for days, running through your head over and over until you get another fix.
Personally, I enjoyed quite a bit of the alternative music that was released in the 90's... and particularly bands like this. However, even if you weren't a fan of the grunge years, I think The Offspring will manage to make believers of many of you. I think what sets this band apart from most of their contemporaries (Green Day, Rancid, etc.) is that they aren't afraid to venture out into new territory, experimenting with elements of other types of music. It's obvious that this band never took the ska-punk-alt genre labels too seriously. They don't follow the current musical trends, opting instead to put out what they like to hear themselves. The other thing that makes them stand out from the crowd is their songwriting. Their horizons are constantly expanding, and nothing seems to be safe from their cynical eye. They write scathing, satirical jams, political tirades, and sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek social commentaries with equal ease... and you never know where they are going to strike next.
Suffice to say, I'd be willing to bet that you'll get a good chuckle or two when they launch into one of their classic jab-fests.
Since they have received a bit of airplay on mainstream radio (which is a rarity among the bands I usually review), I would imagine that most of you have heard at least a few of their songs. That makes my job much easier in this case... because this album definitely hits all the highlights in the band's repertoire. In short, if you didn't like songs like Self-Esteem, Come Out And Play, The Kids Aren't Alright, All I want and Gone Away... this album probably won't change your mind about them. However, if you liked at least some of their radio hits, I think you'll find this one to be another quality release from a quality band.
Give 'em a try... you know you want to.
If you don't, all I can say is... that "shit is fucked up!"
The Bottom Line (AKA - The Six-Pack Scale):