on 9 November 2012
To begin with let me clarify that The Offspring were the first band I ever loved. I barely had any interest in music until I heard them and through them discovered Punk Rock and the subculture that 15 years later has become an integral part of my life. I love The Offspring and I'd love to say that this album is yet another gem but I can't.
The first two tracks, The Future Is Now and Secrets From The Underground come roaring out of the gates and are everything you'd want from The Offspring. It's the perfect way for them to start the album and for a moment made me think they were back on form.
Days Go By is okay and yes, as others have pointed out, it's quite similar to Times Like These by the Foo Fighters but ultimately it's a bit ho hum and just sort of plods along a bit. It may have worked better if it hadn't been placed after two of the strongest tracks on the album but as it is I find my self either skipping it or not paying it much attention.
Turning Into You is a pacy but introspective track that seems to be channeling the spirit of an older Offspring track I can't quite seem to place but overall a good solid Offspring track if not one of their best.
Hurting As One is another very good high energy track. Even though it seems to be re-using the chorus from Something To Believe In it still feels fresh somehow.
So far so good but then we reach the middle of the album and it's not just lackluster it's rip my own ears off dreadful. Cruising California is just terrible in every respect. They seem to be trying to do something a bit like Katy Perry which is NEVER good and it's about as embarrassing as your dad trying to dance. And it's NOT A JOKE! Trust me I looked it up. All I Have Left Is You is as sickeningly sweet as it sounds. I think they're attempting to re-produce the dark maturity of Gone Away but it's about as convincing as Nickleback trying to write something intelligent and insightful rather than flogging the same bland, knuckle dragging crap for trendy middle aged yuppies and teenagers going through 6 month "Rocker" phase. It just doesn't work. OC Guns is just excrement. Some weird Latino Ragga song complete with Dexter's toe curling attempt at an accent. It's not big, it's not clever, just stop it!
After that the re-recording of Dirty Magic is pure bliss. Unfortunately it mainly serves to show how good the band USED to be. Ultimately there wasn't really a need to re-record the track but it's a welcome addition that builds on rather than sullies the original.
I Wanna Secret Family With You somehow sounds a tiny bit Bon Jovi. it's not bad and kind of fun but feels like filler to me.
The last two songs, Dividing by Zero and Slim Pickens..., Are BRILLIANT. To my mind the best two tracks here. Fast as hell and catchy in all the right ways but still ballsy. A perfect way to end an album.
There's slightly more good here than bad. The album starts and ends very strongly and proves the Offspring still have what it takes to write great songs but when it goes wrong it goes disastrously wrong. OC Guns and Cruising California are the worst songs the band have ever done. There's nothing wrong with bands experimenting but it doesn't work here. That said there's enough here for long time fans with a spare tenner lying around to take a punt.
on 7 July 2012
Disclaimer (excuse the pun): I'm a massive Offspring fan and have been for over half my life, so this review will be full of references and comparisons to other things that they've done in the past. Anyway, on with the album:
1. The Future is Now: Wow. On first listen, I was certainly not expecting the strength and speed of the opening song. It really does put you in mind of a longer version of "All I Want" in terms of the blistering pace, and there's a splash of Half-Truism's slightly more mature sound in there too. The breakdown is slightly weaker (a trend in the most recent Offspring albums), but The Future is Now does what any opening song should do - hooks you in and doesn't let go: 9/10
2. Secrets from the Underground: This works really well after The Future is Now, one fades into the other and then this explodes into life. The chorus is really powerful and the lyrics are exactly what you'd want from a punk song - rebelling against authority, hearkening back to the entirety of Smash in this respect. It's really catchy and builds the pace of the album nicely: 9/10
3. Days Go By: A lot of people have given this song stick, and I can see why - it's somewhat tamer than the punk songs that made me fall in love with this band. However, the lyrics are very relate-able, and I really like the opening riff. Think "Times like These" by the Foos, but again it's come under criticism for sounding a little too like the Foo Fighters' song. I honestly don't mind, it's a solid song, with a solid chorus and is an example of the diversity that makes the Offspring so easy to listen to: 8/10
4. Turning into You: Dear God, this is a good song. It's fast, punchy and could have come straight off Conspiracy of One. There's another instance of a slow-ish breakdown, but the sheer energy of the rest of the song means that the break is a necessary one. Definitely a highlight for those who've been pining for ye olde Offspring: 10/10
5. Hurting as One: Hello, Smash, long time no see. The chorus is beautifully similar to "Something to Believe in", the verses are great, and there's not even the slightest hint of the "Emo" that the title suggests. Not much else to say, great song: 10/10
6. Cruising California: Hmmm, I'm still not sure what to make of this one, to be honest. It's a parody of the California way of life, but that way of life is foreign to me, so I'm not sure I truly appreciate it. I think the fact that I've not really listened to this track as often as the others on the album is testament to the fact that it's the weakest song so far: 5/10
7. All I Have Left is You: This is the obligatory slow one, like "Kristy, Are You Doing Ok?", so a lot of people will dismiss it out of hand. However, it's their loss - the vocals really are splendid, I've never heard Dexter sing quite like he does in the first verse of this. It's the longest song on the album so there's also a sense of a gradual build up to a fine ending, and it's another showcase of the diversity of the album: 8/10
8: OC Guns: I pretty much categorise this with Cruising California, only slightly better. The Mexican flavours are obvious in the lyrics and the guitars, which I really like. However, on first listen, I kept on expecting the song to explode in a similar fashion to how "All I Want" blasts your eardrums after the quiet of "Intermission", but every opportunity is missed. It's a half-decent song, but the chance for a barrage of punk is passed over, and that's a disappointment: 6.5/10
9. Dirty Magic: A fan favourite (it's definitely one of mine), and a great choice to celebrate Ignition's 20-year anniversary. It's a cleaner sound that the original, as to be expected, but the really change is in the chorus. The addition of backing vocals, and a slight lyrical change (don't worry if you loved the chorus of the original, it's an addition rather than an amendment) completely alter the feel of the song. While in original, the singer didn't really feel much anger towards the girl that the song is directed at, this one does. Instead of a lament of the fact that he both loves and hates her, this version seems to make the singer's frustration with his situation powerfully obvious. Combine that with the fact that punk is an expression of frustration and you turn a great song of old into a masterpiece: 10/10
10. I Wanna Secret Family (With You): A lighter song lyrically, this is a both satirical and slightly jokey. It's a good solid song and the tone of the guitars in the intro really does remind me of Green Day. This a feel-good song and dispels any blues that the intensity of Dirty Magic may have brought on: 8/10
11. Dividing By Zero: This is the section of the album that really shines for me. The tone of the guitar just before this song really gets going is so similar to "Tehran", way back on their Self-Titled début album. It's fast and just genuinely brilliant music - this is the way punk should sound: 10/10
12. Slim Pickens: Personally, this is my favourite on the album. Lyrically, this criticises society in a way that only a punk song can, in a way that the Offspring do best. This is certainly "Not the One" to Dividing by Zero's "So Alone", the two songs are short, work well together and hit you hard. I love the neat little homage to "You're gonna go Far, Kid", but the thing that I really enjoy about this song is the structure of it. Call me slow, but took me about eight or nine listens to discern which parts were the verses and which was the chorus, and indeed where one ended and the other began. This song is just anarchy given sound form, the riff is good, the backing vocals are perfect and the ending is just superb. Other bands should listen to this to learn the best way to close out an album, it's fantastic: 10/10 (is not really high enough for this)
My general verdict then is that this is a exquisitely good album. The power and pace of the Offspring is evident right from the word go, and although it slows down a little in the middle of the album, the final two songs typify what an excellent band the Offspring are. The remake of Dirty Magic is a bonus, and speaking of bonuses, I'd go for the extended edition for the live version of "The Kids aren't Alright". To sum up, a thoroughly enjoyable album that I can't recommend enough.
on 1 September 2013
I hate to criticize a band whose music has given me so much enjoyment over the years, but I believe these guys need to make a change if they are ever going to start making decent songs again.
Days Go By has been hailed as 'a return to form' by many Offspring fans, and I can assure you . . . . it is not. When you consider this is the same band that made Ixnay on the Hombre and Smash, it makes you realise what a transition the band has made over the years.
There are some good songs on this album. 'Dividing by Zero' is the closest Dexter and co have come to sounding like their old selves again in years. 'Days go By' (despite it's rather radio friendly hook) is quite catchy. Other fairly decent tracks include; 'The Future is Now', 'Hurting as One', 'I Wanna Secret Family (With You)' and 'Slim Pickens. . . '. Despite these few acceptable tracks and a couple of very good tracks, one can not help but feel dissapointed especially when we know what these dudes are capable of.
To sumarize, I believe the Offspring need to ditch Bob Rock as a producer, sign up to a label like Fat Wreck or Epitaph (their contract with Columbia Records is over now anyway), and just stop trying to sound current. I know people say 'all bands need to develop their musical style' but that isn't always true, especially when they achieved perfection years ago.
on 30 August 2012
I first discovered the Offspring back in 1998 when I was entering the first stages of teenage life, and I have never looked back. They have always been one of my favourite artists, and alongside pennywise, afi, pitchisfter and bodyjar are perhaps one of the few bands I still have on my mp3 player regularly.
The Offspring have always been powerful, bouncy and at some point in an album deep, and this keeps the formula going. The sound is very similar to Splinter/ conspiracy of one (which isn't a bad thing) and it feels like they have settled into their place within music, and are no longer trying to drive and innovate. Which again, isn't a bad thing. It's a great album, catchy tunes, some deep messages, some bouncy fun, that same mix of musical brilliance that I fell in love with years ago.
For an Offspring fan, this is a pretty risk free purchase. For someone looking to get into The Offspring, go and get ignition or Americana first.
on 27 June 2012
Simply love this album, been a huge fan since Smash and although they have evolved since then, the raw power and passion remains. Production is simply first class, clean and crisp, just like Rise&Fall, but it has more of the aggression you found on Ixnay. 2012 has been a very poor year for music imo, I have broad tastes, from Choral/Classical through to grindcore and most things in the middle, however, this is only one of two 5* albums released this year. Only other one, ironically was released last week, Oceania by Pumpkins.
on 29 January 2016
I love all of the Offspring albums but over time I have noted a gradual rise in the commercial/mainline content of the albums which after Rise and Fall I was slowly accepting that Dexter and Noodles had finally lost their raw edge which was so brilliantly illustrated in Smash but age has it's price and we all slow down eventually.
When I purchased this album I was ready to accept defeat and be totally disappointed but this album harks back to the old days with a level of raw power that is reminiscent of Smash with all the right Offspring trade-mark noises along with some brilliant riffs and whilst it isn't as aggressive as Smash it is very definitely back to the gutsy, raw good old days.
This is probably my favourite Offspring album and considering the competition, that is a big achievement this far down the line.
on 17 May 2013
It's sometimes hard to believe that this band has been going almost 30 years; are these really the same guys who we saw performing "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" back in 1998? You bet they are. Like many people, I spend way too long on YouTube watching music videos, and I stumbled across the single "Days go by" a few weeks ago. Hugely catchy, with lots of jangly guitar and uplifting lyrics. A simple song, without question, but isn't that what popular music should be about?
So, I bought the album (from Amazon, of course) and I can't stop listening to it. It's one of those classic albums that just keep growing on you until you can't fault a single note. Starting with the high energy "The Future Is Now" it's pure Offspring all the way, with the band's characteristic sound still there to please the long term fans, but with enough tweaking to maybe pull in some new ones. The sound is altogether a bit less "Punk" for sure, but every band needs to develop, and there's still enough rage, sarcasm and irony there. Some reviewers have panned this album, saying that the band have lost their way and have been doing this stuff for too long, but I don't agree. "OC Guns" and "Cruising California (Bumpin' in My Trunk)" poke fun at the hip kids in SoCal, "I Wanna Secret Family (With You)" is hookier than an angling shop and "Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell" is a good old 'what the hell we're all finished' tune, the only track on the album with swearing in the lyrics.
So, is it dumbed down "Offspring Lite", like some reviewers say, or have the band morphed, ever so slightly, into a new existence? Well, you'll have to decide for yourselves of course, but I choose the latter.
Are Dexter and those other young punks all grown up now? Oh yes, and it sounds good to me.
on 31 January 2013
I love The offspring from being a big fan of all their work in music. I have got all their CD's and this one as got to be one of the best one's yet!!!
If you love The Offspring's old music you will not be let down as they have got some good crazy songs that will make you feeling happy and rocking your head off!
The offspring as never died they have got better over the years!!!
Some of the songs are very clever as they make you feel like your their. It's very cool!! One of the songs is very very clever as it's starts of all low and then gets very hard rock and makes you rocking your head in know time the way they did it. It Sounds so cool! "Song is Cruising California". It makes you feel like your their to. Very clever!
The Music in this CD is not like the old punk rock music like the old "Conspiracy Of One" CD's.
What sounds very cool in all their old songs! They used hard rock punk now in this CD then useing punk rock. It's got more hard rock sounds and it's very clever how they done it.
Not so crazy teen cool punk rock in this CD!! More like very hard crazy cool punk rock. Less TEEN but more old people but cool old people. Sounds crazy what i put down. But if you listen to the songs you will see what i mean and to all their old songs.
Still cool and very clever CD from one Amazing Band. :-)
Thanks Amazon.co.uk for the CD
on 27 November 2012
In the days of vinyl we used to have EPs - five or six songs released ahead of an album to promote the full release soon to come. This is what 'Days Go By' should have been. Another few months of writing, listening to how the EP was recieved, recording, then releasing the full 'Days Go By' would have been a much wiser choice than pushing out an album this broken.
Unfortunately though, this is the full album, and what we've ended up with is a record of two halves: the first half is comprised of the very start and very end of the album; the second half is everything in the middle, with one or two songs struggling to claw their way into the more respectable better half.
'Dividing by Zero', 'Slim Pickens', 'The Future is Now', and 'Secrets From the Underground' are pure punk rock gold. Aggression, energy, lyrics that are worth listening to, a hard-hitting drum track and guitars you can actually feel all combine to make these tracks the stand out Big Four of the album. Throw 'Turning into You' into the mix and you've got a good collection of songs that aren't that far removed from Smash/Ixnay but, essentially, they sound just fresh enough to warrant an album of their own. None of those songs would fit on the older albums, but still clearly come from the same band that recorded 'All I Want'.
You listen to these and you know you're listening to The Offspring. You sing along on your first listen because they're that catchy. You eagerly anticipate the band touring soon so you can go to the show, can shout along to 'Slim Pickens', can throw yourself around to 'Dividing by Zero'. You listen to these five songs and you feel good.
And then it gets weird...
God alone knows what Dexter and co were thinking when they recorded 'Cruisin' California'. I'd really love a proper explanation but they have failed to give us one. If it's meant to be satirical then it fails; if it's meant to be serious then it's just plain embarassing. They should have recorded it then put it up on the website, explaining that it's a satirical look at Cali life and NOT to be taken seriously. Fans would have listened, laughed, then forgotten all about it. As it is they released it as a single, and now the world has forever been exposed to the horror of Dexter Holland rapping. Yes, a guy in his forties with no previous skill or experience of rapping, awkwardly mumbling along to something that sounds like it was written by Pink. 'Horror' is not too strong a word.
But it gets weirder still...
'O.C. Guns' is OK I suppose, but it would have worked so much better as one of those hidden songs they used to put at the end of the album. It's totally an experimental song, mixing a hip-hop style beat with reggae and Dexter's trademark vocals to produce something that isn't entirely offensive to the ears, yet absolutely messes up the general feel of the album. Even if you've skipped past 'Cruisin' California' (and you should) you still trip over OCG and stumble, disinterestedly into 'Dirty Magic'.
This, I hasten to add, is NOT how 'Dirty Magic' should be approached. DM should follow a song like 'Takes me Nowhere' from RaFRaG, and should itself be followed by something slightly more upbeat that picks the pace back up. That is, followed by something that doesn't drown the listener in a vat of saccharine and cheese. Yes, 'Secret Family', I'm looking at you.
'Secret Family' isn't actually that bad a song. For a short while it's extremely heavy, and the kick drum smacks solidly through the two-chord opening riff with an almost distractingly hard punch. It's just a shame the lyrics are so cheesy.
I hate to admit it but I actually really like this song, purely because it's so much fun, and you can't listen to it without smiling. Well... you shouldn't be able to listen to it without smiling, but they put 'Dirty Magic' just before it, so the whole time you're listening to 'Secret Family' you're remembering the songs you used to love, and wishing DM was still playing.
DM really does deserve better than to be sandwiched between experimental reggae and a song about a man in his forties getting a stripper pregnant. If there's one part of the album people are going to skip it's this late-middle section, which means DM will be largely over-looked; completely defeating the point of having included it in the first place.
Ok, so what have I missed?
Ok, there's 'All I Have Left is You'.
It's a good song, just not a good Offspring song. It builds well, is incredibly emotional thanks once more to Dexter's voice, and lyrically is worth a listen, especially if you're of a certain age (Dexter isn't 22 any more: it's inevitable his lyrics will reflect the issues of an older person and the relationships in which he may find himself trapped). Think of this song as 'Fix You' or 'Denial, Revisited' - it's a token slow number that gives you a little break from the energy that came before.
The problem is, there IS no energy coming before this. We've just got through the face-reddeningly shameful 'Cruisin' California' and are about to have the hell confused out of us by 'O.C. Guns'. The inclusion of those two songs make the others around it seem worse by association. 'All I Have Left Is You' seemingly has no reason or place on the album because of this, which is a shame considering the emotion Dexter clearly put into the vocals.
Finally, I feel a bit sorry for 'Hurting as One'. It's unfortunately placed too close to the uncomfortable twenty minutes that stain the middle of this record, but it's not a song to be missed. I didn't much care for it at first as it sounded too similar to 'Something to Believe in' from Smash, but it's absolutely grown on me. It's one of those songs you find yourself singing along to without realising you're doing it. It's properly fast too.
Oh, and I forgot 'Days Go By'. It's a radio song, designed to promote the album. Not bad but nothing special. It's friendly enough to guarantee air-time on commercial radio and doesn't challenge the listener in any way. It's a single: it was written to be a single, was promoted as a single and has now been jammed into the album between two very good songs, which has the effect of causing it to stick out like... well... a single.
The album has a metric ton of potential but the poor treatment of the epic 'Dirty Magic', the incongruity of 'O.C Guns', and the extremely questionable decision to include 'Cruisin' California' make it an uncomfortable listen. Thankfully these days we can be very selective about the songs we choose to listen to and I wouldn't be surprised if most people's play lists do not include the middle 15-20 minutes of this album.
The frustrating thing is, we've waited four years for this album, and what we got was, essentially, an EP. They sold us a beginning and an end, then realised that wasn't enough so they ham-fistedly dumped a gaggle of studio out-takes and experimental audio into the mix as filler. The problem is that it DOESN'T fill - it jars and confuses the listener, causes the album to stutter and stumble, and offers almost no pay-off whatsoever.
If Slim Pickens hadn't donned his cowboy hat and triumphantly smashed his way in at the very last minute then we may have had another 'Splinter' on our hands.
I shudder at the thought.
on 27 July 2012
The offspring in recent years have been criticised for losing their way a little bit, but in this album they have certain recaptured some of the gritty and fast punk that they are known for. Overall the album is really good, a real mix of songs, mostly good and one or two not so good!
Starts off well with 'The Future is Now', then slides into one of my Favourites 'Secrets from the Underground'. It mellows out slightly after that, a few other decent tracks thrown in. The you hit 'Cruising California' which needs a required taste to fully appreciate, one that I don't have! 'OC Guns' is another hit and miss, but one I rather like, with the funky Bass intro.
Next up is the remake of 'Dirty Magic' to celebrate the 20th anniversay of Ignition, Its a lot cleaner with a few little tweaks, a nice new rendition of an already quality song.
As usual included is a decent and somewhat Humerous song, a signature for most of their albums, in 'I wanna secret family with you', not bad.
Finally the last two, and the two best songs on the album. 'Divided by Zero' alone is pretty damn good, but linking it into the final and by far the best song 'Slim Pickens' ends the album on a tremendous high which I tend to repeat at least twice on my drive to work. A really great final song that gives a lot.
Overall a very good album with only a few real negatives, but it shows that although they have mellowed a lot since their 'Smash' and 'Ignition' days, they still have to ability to produce some really cracking tracks, that would easily have been recorded for those two iconic albums. I personally don't think they have ever lost it, but the production of their most recent albums makes them sound too clean and soft, not the more raw sound they used to display.
A definate buy for any long term Offspring fan, even if it's only for three or four tracks.