Sound: It has been four years since the release of The Offspring's last release, "Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace", and it is coming out none too soon. "Days Go By" was originally supposed to come out in 2010, but due to several factors the release date was bumped. Originally, the recording for "Days Go By" started in 2009 using songs that didn't make it on to their last release but then they left the studio in 2010 to tour with 311 with the album not completed. After completing their tour they returned to the studio, but somewhere in this time they went to reviewing a lot of older demos that never made it onto an album as well as looking at new material. The end result of all of this is a summer 2012 release with 12 tracks, a total run-time of just under 43 minutes and one of the songs, "Dirty Magic" a re-recorded version of a song from their 1992 album, "Ignition".
Their overall sound is recognizable as The Offspring, but there are definitely a few songs on "Days Go By" that don't sound like the punk rock that I am used to from them. My take on the album is the "stand out" tracks are exceptionally good and the filler tracks range from pretty damn good to kind of bland. The Offspring has always seemed a little unusual in the punk rock genre for being fairly good musicians; though they still write fairly straightforward songs for the most part you will occasionally hear a really genius guitar lick. The album is mixed really well, which is unusual for a lot of punk acts but not for The Offspring. The drums on the album, which from my understanding were partially recorded by studio musician Josh Freese and partially by new drummer Pete Parada (joined in 2007), has some of the best tone I've heard in a punk or grunge album in a while. // 9
Lyrics: Dexter has the ideal voice for The Offspring, and he is backed by the rest of the band with their customary choruses of "oh", "yeah" and "whoa", which has become an integral part of their sound as a band. The lyrics on "Days Go By" are well delivered and the subject matter fits the music well. As a sample of the lyrics, some of the lyrics from "Slim Pickens Does The Right Thing And Rides The Bomb To Hell" follow: "Take me for a ride/ I'm the one you pushed aside/ but it's coming back to you/ yeah, it's coming back to you/ a world to the sound/ take it back and double down/ 'cause it's coming back to you/ yeah, it's coming back to you/ I will pour the gasoline/ so dance around the fire that we once believed in/ I will never be the same now/ cause there's nothing left for us to be/ give it up to the champions of greed/ so come on out and have another round on me". You'll have to excuse any lyrics I got wrong trying to get the lyrics without looking them up online.
My favorite song on the album is "Dividing By Zero", and the lyrics on this track start out: "Oh take me higher/ all the way to the sun/ down to the wire/ fighting's only begun/ closing in on you/ closing in on you/ run from the fire raining down on you/ closing in on you/ closing in on you/ no way out." To me, the lyrics have an urgency to them that are absolutely awesome for punk rock, not to mention the "solo" that sounds vaguely eastern and kind of ties the song to some of The Offspring's earlier work where eastern elements were kind of randomly included in their music. // 8
Overall Impression: The track "All I Have Left Is You" is by FAR my least favorite track on the album, and doesn't even seem like it belongs on the album. It almost single-handedly soured me on the entire album. On the more positive side, I really enjoyed "Days Go By", "Turning Into You", and "SLim Pickens Does The Right Thing And Rides The Bomb To Hell". My absolute favorite track on the album is "Dividing By Zero", which could be a metal song if you just listen to the first 10 seconds or so. The most interesting track on the album would have to be "Cruisin California (Bumpin' In My Trunk)" which is more of a comedic song, similar to "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)" in a lot of ways.
The Offspring have played a large part in the culture of the mid and late 90's, and to a lesser degree into the 2000's. Their songs have been used in countless movie soundtracks, on video games and even sports broadcasts. They've reached a much wider audience than many of the grunge acts of the 90's have (even though when you think of the 90's you can't help but think grunge). The Offspring absolutely deserve this place in American culture they've provided commentary on the nature of personal relationships, government and society as a whole in a way that was consumable for a very large audience and they aren't really given credit for this. They almost single-handedly revitalized interest in punk rock in the 90's, as well. And today, 23 years after their initial release, they are still releasing good music that is still vital, doesn't sound dated and comes across as sincere. // 8
- Brandon East (c) 2012