Sound — 8
So! It's finally here! After nearly 5 years of waiting, all of us fans of The Offspring can rejoice in what is a simply stunning work of art. One thing many fans will probably notice is that there is somewhat of a different sound to this album. It still has the good old kick of The Offspring, but something, to me anyways, just sounds a bit different. I can't really explain what it is, but it could just be that they switched producers and that could've influenced it. One thing that shows throughout the entire album is the theme of Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace. Each of the songs on the album seem to fall into one of those descriptions. I'll start by running down the list and tell you which category a song falls into in my opinion. 01. Half-truism - this song lands in the category of falling gracefully. It's a great way to start off the album. It starts off with a really slow clean picking part then you get punched in the face with a blast of good old Offspring power chord action. The mildy hard hitting continues until the bridge where we hear a redux of the intro almost and then it picks up once again to finish out strong. 02. Trust In You - this song is purely falling into the Rage category. For any old fans, just think the title track "Smash". It's very similar sounding to that and has an amazing break that mixes fast palm muting with quick sliding power chords. The solo is just completely amazing and I get goosebumps just listening to it. The only complaint here is that is almost a rehash of Smash. But it's a very good punk sounding song. 03. You're Gonna Go Far, Kid - here we have what I'd like to think of a Rising song. Once again though, we're going back to the Smash album. The chorus chord progression is a replication of Self Esteem, just a bit different strumming pattern. From the verse, it slowly builds up energy until the chorus and then repeats again. Then the solo comes and it's more pure energy. Just not too good rehasing the Smash album again. 04. Hammerhead - the first single from the album, and it's very Rage-like. From the very start we're handed some hard hitting chords, and it only persists throughout the song. The 2nd half of the song almost completely changes in rhythm and is still very energetic. Great energy, great tone, great sound. Amazing song. 05. A Lot Like Me - this is a graceful song. It starts with something we've never seen from The Offspring: piano. The piano continues throughout the song, and some cleaner toned guitars compliment the piano all the way to the end. It's a very nice twist from a band you really wouldn't expect it from. They pull off this attempt quite well. I wouldn't recommend a lot more like it, but it's a very good result of trying to mix things up. 06. Takes Me Nowhere - I'm gonna have to place this song's music under the rising category. The lyrics however, I feel differently about, but I'll get to that later. Throughout the verses were presented with a slightly distorted guitar that has a very good flow to it. Then the chorus and distortion kicks in and really works well together. Little solos are placed here and there and fill in spots nicely. Nothing too major, but they're a very nice touch. 07. Kristy, Are You Doing Okay? - the music is here is acoustic. So, of course, we're gonna have to come into Graceful. Many people complained that they ripped off Green Day with this song, however I don't feel the same. The chorus has some electric guitar in it, but it's not distorted much at all and works well. It's another something new from these guys. It works, but not as well as A Lot Like Me did. 08. Nothingtown - unfortunately, we have another small rehash here. Remember Want You Bad from Conspiracy of One? Well, when you listen to the beginning of this song you will for sure. It's a rising song with quite the upbeat tone for what you'd think would be a sad sounding song with a title like Nothingtown. It has a great solo in it along with a good bass solo. I'm not quite sure how to classify the solo, I wanna say kind of bluesy, jazzy, swing sounding with an electric kick. I could be wrong, but I love it. It redeems itself from taking parts from an old song with that. 09. Stuff Is Messed Up - pure rage here. It's a really simple progression, but it fits the rhythm and hits hard during the chorus and bridge, which is just insane lyrically. This is definitely The Offspring's style and sound that we've all come to love. I really recommend this song. 10. Fix You - we've got another graceful tone on our hands. Once again, another Green Day accusation ripoff that failed. It's a clean tone single note picking song that really just stays the same throughout. This is their attempt at a slower song once again. I like it, but it's just not their style so much. Good attempt though. Definitely worth listening. 11. Let's Hear It For Rock Bottom - I can't really decide how I wanna classify this song. During the verse, we have a sadder, ska-like tone, but during the chorus it's definitely a rising feeling. Once again, the verse parts aren't the usual Offspring style, but they do a good job. The chorus is definitely them though. 12. Rise And Fall - I'll have to say this song is a Rising Rage-like tone. Some people like to say they ripped off American Idiot on this one. So what, it's got a 3 chord chorus progression. Get over it and stop trying to undermine their work. I like it and it's a good way to end the album. It leaves you wanting more and is quite upbeat. So overall, the sound is something new, fresh and experimental. I like the things they tried, although I do prefer their traditional sound. I love the music on this album though and I've gotten goosebumps on my occasions listening. The only problem is the unfortunate, obvious rehashes of other songs. Add the slower songs ontop of that which don't entirely work out for them, but do a good job and you've got yourself an 8 out of 10.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are amazing, as expected from Dexter. I won't go into a great amount of detail, but I will point out a few key parts that really stick out to me. Half-truism - the song hits hard and has a good subject matter. It talks about how throughout life, we can only try for so long until it just seems to be to no avail. The chorus is very sing along with lyrics, "If we don't make it alive, it's a hell of a good day to die." Trust In You - this is obviously a personal song that is dealing with trying to give trust that's been lost back to a person that you care about. It's an obvious inward struggle and really does a good job. A Lot Like Me - talks of how Dexter is singing to someone who doesn't realize it, but is slowly digging themself into a way that Dexter knows too well himself. It's a very somber sounding theme and really has a gloomy tone to match the piano. Takes Me Nowhere - all I can say is this: "When the day begins/All the guilt sinks in/I look on the wreckage of the night./Though I try to break free/The cycle breaks me/Am I ever gonna see the light?" Kristy, Are You Doing Okay? - this song is said to be about a girl Dexter knew who was abused. It's a really sad theme and might hit a little to close to home for some people. It's a really sensitive subject and is something knew from Dexter. Stuff Is Messed Up - I'll finish my summation of the lyrics with this song. It's the good old sarcastic, smartassness we've come to love from Dexter. It's basically talking about how the world is messed up and all of the things that are overtaking our lives that are becoming more important. "Stuff Is Messed Up" is a much cleaner version of what the song was meant to be titled. These lyrics are all simply stunning. Dexter has done it again. I love it.
Overall Impression — 9
A lot of fans wanted The Offspring to convert back to their Smash era sound. A lot of fans complained about Splinter being no good. I don't think anyone is going to be able to complain about this album. It has a great mix of sounds and themes and I'm sure there's something to fit everyone's needs. It's good to see these guys have spent the last 5 years doing something productive. I personally adore this album and it is definitely one of my favorite out of the eight. I can't really say if it's the best or not because I've only had it for 2 days now. Some of the best tracks are Half-Truism, Trust In You, Takes Me Nowhere, A Lot Like Me and Stuff Is Messed Up. If this was stolen, whoever did it would die. that's no exaggeration. Great job and many props to Dexter, Noodles, Greg and Josh. The only problem is the few reusings of old progressions.