Album Review: The Offspring

days go by (colombia)

Twenty-three years have gone by since The Offspring released their first record. Returning with their ninth studio album (the first with newest drummer, Pete Parada), they maintain their signature Californian Punk Rock sound, along with a few (not so successful) surprises.

Starting out as one of the original new wave punk rock bands, the genre's boom in the nineties was a surprisingly diverse movement, with Green Day, Bad Religion and Rancid all at the forefront. The Offspring, however, were always verging on the mainstream side of things, less afraid of commercial successes than their peers. Days Go By, on the other hand, seems to lack reinvention. All very unconvincing.

Opening track, The Future Is Now, is a classic sounding offering from Offspring; a mixture of distorted, punk power chords and palm-mute chords played at high speed, and a brief piano interlude before the guitars and drums kick into action again. This Pop-Punk formula is executed throughout most of the album with the addition of some catchy hooks and the distinctive vocals of lead singer, Dexter Holland, penetrating the wall of sound like it's always done.

Lead single and title track, Days Go By, takes the form of a slower-tempo, ballad rock number, before launching into a Foo Fighters-esque guitar solo towards the end. Quite honestly, there's nothing memorable or original about these songs, and is entirely what I would have expected. It sounds like The Offspring, so I guess their fans will be happy.

The 'unsuccessful surprises' I mentioned at the start of this post emerge in the form of a parody track titled, Cruising California (Bumpin' In My Truck). A Dr. Luke (big producer responsible for Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Rihanna etc) style spoof, it features bucket-loads of deliberately obvious auto-tune and a hook comprising of such profound lyrics as, "I know you heard that bass, bumpin' in my trunk, bu-bu-bu-bumpin' in my trunk..". It seems that The Offspring are desperate to achieve another novelty hit like their 1998 track, Pretty Fly (For A White Guy). Unfortunately, it doesn't quite have the same effect.

The Offspring have a few more surprises up their sleeve to diffuse the barrage of average Punk-Pop power chords though, including OC Guns; a Reggae/Dub-infused track reminiscent of the likes of 90's Californian band, Sublime, complete with Spanish/Portuguese lyrics and 'scratching' vinyl sounds.

The problem with this album is that I'm just not sure what is meant to be taken as a joke, and what is a serious track. I have no qualms with novelty/parody songs, but the aim has to be clear in order to work. So, the verdict: a confused album with no indication of progression or new direction from the band. Sorry guys! But if it's a blast from the 90's Punk Pop scene that you're after, then step right up.

Track List:

  • The Future Is Now
  • Secrets From The Underground
  • Days Go By
  • Hurting As One
  • Cruising California (Bumpin' In My Truck)
  • All I Have Left Is You
  • OC Guns
  • Dirty Magic
  • I Wanna Secret Family (With You)
  • Dividing By Zero
  • Slim Pickens Does The Right Thing And Rides The Bomb To Hell