Sound — 8
The Offspring are back at it again with 2008's release of Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace. Bob Rock (Metallica, Motley Crue) was signed on to produce the record. So a gritty, edgy record wasn't necessarily expected. Splinter wasn't received insanely well by hardcore Offspring fans. The album was without theme and was more like a collection of eclectic rock songs. RFRG shows some of that prime offspring energy that many felt has been missing since Americana. The music has more flow on this record compared to the last couple of releases. Although still varying from punk, to pop punk, into rock, the album doesn't feel as if it some sort of collection of songs, but more as a full cohesive album. The Offspring have never been scared to try something new and a nice amount of experimentation was exhibited on the album. Keyboard/Piano was featured in a couple of songs. Musically they are as strong as ever and have always been great at writing good catchy songs.
Lyrics — 8
There is a nice mix of statement, fictional ranting, and socio political views featured on the album. Songs like Half-Truism features the reality of everyday being your last. Nothingtown talks about modern suburbia's downfalls. Hammerhead goes into the situation of war. Stuff is Messed Up shows off an adamant Dexter Holland and his views on society. Most of the lyrics on the album are very solid. The music and lyrics go great hand in hand. Bob Rock is known to stress on vocal "perfection" and Dexter has never sounded better vocally. Very strong and his signature chants are once again present.
Overall Impression — 8
Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace is a very solid rock/pop punk album that has hooks on top of hooks. It isn't as abrasive as the old Offspring from the early to mid 1990's but the signature sound is still there. The album overall, reminds me a lot of Inxay on the Hombre. I think one of the main criticisms the band has received was their habit of trying to appeal to a wide audience by releasing overtly goofy poppy songs as singles. Fortunately, their is not one of those songs on this album. There however is a bit of a ballad-esque sounding song that will be the next single by the name of "Kristy, Are You Doing Okay? But it is a step up from such songs as Hit That, Original Prankster, and the others. The album has a serious vibe to it and the musicianship is there. Greg K has some nice bass lines and Noodles and Dexter's riffs and song writing has remained consistent. Josh Freese (The Vandals, APC) did a great job in playing session drums for the album. I love how the Offspring didn't lose their crunchy sound while at the same time, stepping outside the box and not being caught up in being a punk band. The Offspring write great songs and this apparent. A small complaint is that the album sounds a bit over produced but as aforementioned, that was expected when you hear the name Bob Rock. The first half of the album is stronger then the second but as a whole this album delivers to be one of the better releases of the year. If you are expecting Smash or Ignition, your fooling yourself. But, if you have a realistic grip on what the Offspring have grown into this album will be a fresh breath of air Offspring fans haven't inhaled since Americana.