Sound — 8
So, the Offspring finally got their newest offering out after five years of waiting (at least we got Can't Repeat in the middle). It's easy to see that the Offspring were trying to get the lightning in a bottle to reinvigorate their image with the youngsters that Green Day got with American Idiot, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but they didn't quite deliver. This album has three distinctly different sounds: 1. The good old Offspring trying to recapture the sound that made them famous in the first place, 2. A new heavy kind of sound that they're trying to get the younger fans into, 3. The poppy crap they're trying to get air time with on the radio. Only the first two could be called successful, and the second one just barely. 01. Half Truism: a very good song to start the album on. It's catchy and hints at the serious tone without getting too invested into it, and it's short, which makes the album overall easy to get into. 4/5 02. Trust In You: trying to back to their hardcore roots, this song hits hard and fast and is a more memorable song from the album. 4/5 03. You're Gonna Go Far Kid: this song has one of those opening hooks that very few songs in this album has, but doesn't quite keep it going. It makes up for it by being pretty short, and a catchy chorus never hurts. 4/5 04. Hammerhead: the opening guitar reminded me a little too much of the opening to Half Truism, but that's the biggest criticism I have (except for maybe it's a little long for a punk song). The guitar hits hard, the chorus is good, and the second half of the song really puts it above most of the others. 5/5 05. A Lot Like Me: after hearing the first 4 songs I thought I might have to make a new place in my album hall of fame. Then this song stopped all momentum. It's just long andboring. End of story. 1/5 06. Takes Me Nowhere: a bit of an upturn, but still nothing spectacular. A bit simplistic, but it doesn't overstay it's welcome being pretty short. 2/5 07. Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?: this song started out as a very interesting opening riff and verse. I had some high hopes, but then the chorus and subsequent verses just send it into radio pop hell. Good lyrics though. 3/5 08. Nothingtown: I really want to like this song. I really do. It describes a situation very similiar to the one I am presently in. But it just doesn't have anything that good about it. It's about as simple and lame musically as any song by The Offspring could possibly be. But, the effort is there, and I did enjoy it the first bunch of times I heard it. 3/5 09. Stuff Is Messed Up: this album has it's ups and downs, and the Offspring haven't been truly great since Conspiracy of One, but for a glorious 3 minutes and 32 seconds the amazing Offspring of Smash, Ixnay, and Americana bursts into the album and makes it worth the price of purchase in one song. Listen to it. NOW. 5/5 10. Fix You: okay lyrically but once again the music kills all the momentum by the previous song. It's about 2 minutes too long, and just another pop rock song you've heard before. 3/5 11. Let's Hear it for Rock Bottom: this song helps move the album along to the last track. Not that good, not bad either. Worth a listen or two, but nothing to download illegally (and I know you do). 3/5 12. Rise and Fall: a bit of an American Idiot ripoff, but not a bad song (and not a bad one to rip off either). It's a good upbeat end to this album and wraps up the theme into a little bow in about 3 minutes. 4/5
Lyrics — 7
These lyrics make me think The Offspring are trying to be a lot more serious than we're accustomed. I'm not sure whether it's a good thing or not. Dexter can still sing better than anyone I care to listen to, but his funny, smarmy, and smart ass punk songs are missing (save for Stuff is Messed Up). Songs like Trust in You, You're Gonna Go Far Kid, and Rise and Fall are catchy as hell, but for each of them I keep thinking there's some deeper meaning they're trying to get across which doesn't. They're not bad lyrically, but the point seems to be lost. Their ballads, though not very good musically, aren't bad lyrically. Kristy has a nice deep meaning, I just wish the music could match that, and the others are not bad, but they're nothing to write home about. Hammerhead and Stuff is Messed Up are easily the best songs lyrically, Hammerhead with the interesting buildup and the hidden meaning that doesn't make sense until the last few amazing lines, and Stuff Is Messed Up with that good old fashioned Offspring fun.
Overall Impression — 7
This album was a bit of experimentation by The Offspring, and although it wasn't exactly the quality we're used to from these 40 something punk rockers, it was well worth it. If it weren't for two songs, I would probably say pass, but The Offspring still have it in them and can show it off at times. The show I saw with most of these songs in it still got everyone going, except for the piano interlude of A Lot Like Me and Fix You. If for nothing else, buy it for Hammerhead and Stuff is Messed Up. Dexter, Noodles, and Greg show few signs of aging (maturing maybe, aging no) and I'm hearing about another album coming up next year. No group (except maybe the Beatles) can just continue to put out amazing work every album so bearing that in mind there is nothing wrong with this album. It won't set the whole world on fire, but it might torch a car or two. So open up the fridge, have a tall boy, and take a listen.