Having only been a band for the better part of a year and a half, …
Nice as it would be for The Offspring to deliver a new collection of songs fashioned with the potential for immortality–like Pretty Fly (for a White Guy), Want You Bad, Come Out and Play, songs fans still scream back at them 20 plus years after their release–the band do not deliver as such on their tenth studio album, Let The Good Times Roll.
MORE: VOID OF VISION: Something Old, Something New // CHASE ATLANTIC: Pensive Is As Pensive Does: “The Harder Life Is, The Better I Think Our Music Will Become.” REVIEWS: CHASE ATLANTIC: Beauty In Death // ROB ZOMBIE: The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy // VOID OF VISION: Hyperdaze (Redux) // ERRA: Erra // STEPSON: Help Me, Help You // BELLE HAVEN: Time Changes Nothing // THE STRANGER: Kaleidoscope
Given the 12-year gap between this release and its 2012 predecessor Days Go By, you’d almost expect more. That being said, there is more, but only as The Offspring wants there to be.
Cultivated over several years, the punk-rock icons deem us worthy of a smorgasbord of an album that sees them deliver a blended family of themes–social issues in our modern moment, familial experiences that come with being–ahem–of a certain age, and more. Each topic is equally powerful in delivery if not in potential for classicism.
Simple, well-rounded, not especially gripping, but the title track is an easy listen, much like the first half of the album–non-threatening, a gentle toe testing the waters again. The Offspring do deliver some great new earworms, however, as in Coming For You. The intro boasts a creeping bass line that paves a way for some anthemic choral chanting and in turn, a wailing (albeit basic) guitar solo. A contender for a crowd pleaser, but its longevity alongside popular songs of old needs to be tested.
It’s evident that The Offspring, though serious in their considerations of the current sociopolitical climate, haven’t forgotten how to have fun.
The Offspring seem to have a lot more fun with the second half of the album. We Never Have Sex Anymore gets a little playful with a situation that perhaps many listeners of The Offspring (given many would be around that middle-age mark, same as the band) can relate to. A muted trumpet, swing and jazz elements make light of a potentially frustrating situation. It’s tongue-in-cheek, harking back to the nonchalant boyish ways of The Offspring in the late 1990s.
The sobriety of the band can’t be understated. A gentle piano joined by swelling strings in Gone Away Requiem–a ballad take on the 1997 hit single–brings everything to a crashing halt in a wonderful refrain. It’s a side to the band rarely seen (but does well, along with album closer Lullaby), to showcase the more considered side to the band’s musicianship.
It seems a smorgasbord was just what we needed. It’s evident that The Offspring, though serious in their considerations of the current sociopolitical climate, haven’t forgotten how to have fun–and they certainly haven’t forgotten that their fans could use a little respite from the madness, proudly, cleverly delivering a tonic to help ease the misery of a unique point in our history.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Let The Bad Times Roll, Breaking These Bones, Hassan Chop
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Pennywise, Bad Religion, Green Day