The Offspring

Let The Bad Times Roll

Written by: PP on 02/05/2021 13:27:42

Over two decades separated from their last great album ("Conspiracy Of One", 2000) and nine years since the release of previous record "Days Go By", The Offspring opt for a nostalgia trip on tenth full-length "Let The Bad Times Roll". That's right folks, we're headed right back to their mid-to-late 90s soundscape with eerie similarities to records like "Smash" and especially "Ixnay On The Hombre" in what feels like a conscious attempt at returning to their roots.

Oh, if only that were true across the whole record, but alas, The Offspring for inexplicable reasons elect to make total clowns out of themselves at least on a couple of tracks on every album. This album's "Cruising California (Bumpin' In My Trunk)" type culprits are the god-awful "Let The Bad Times Roll", a cheesy and laughable pop song that underlines why The Offspring has such a bad reputation within the music enthusiast circles. And don't even get me started on the circus-style "We Never Have Sex Anymore" that sounds more like a carnival than a serious song by the punk legends. "Coming For You" is alright instrumentally and sound-wise, but fails miserably in the lyrical department: "Breakdown, takedown, now it's on. A sold out, blowout, Donkey Kong" - what does that even mean?

Together, these three songs constitute effectively a third of the album since lazy songwriting means they awesome "Ixnay..." track "Gone Away" has been immortalized in its slow, balladic piano format exactly in the same way as "Dirty Magic" was re-recorded. Did anyone ever prefer this one over the original at live shows? Not me, that's for sure. Additionally, the one minute "In The Hall of The Mountain King" provides merely a metallic instrumental interlude with "Lullaby" featuring an effect-laden, violin-based sample of the title track for no added value whatsoever as the outro of the album.

Fortunately, the rest of the record is what constitutes the aforementioned trip down memory lane. "Army Of One" features some of Dexter Holland's prolonged wails as you remember them from "Americana" years and before, while "Breaking These Bones" reminds you of the 1994-1997 era despite its rollicking bass-line. Similar vibes are all around, "This Is Not Utopia", and "Breaking These Bones" likewise draw from this era more or less. And although "Behind Your Walls" has an eerie Rise Against vibe attached to it giving it a modern mainstream punk rock sound, it's still a fast punk rock song that pays tribute to The Offspring origins.

However, where the band is at their best is towards the last third of the album. "The Opioid Diaries" and especially "Hassan Chop" are aggressively lined, almost hardcore tinged, and are guaranteed to give you chills if you ever enjoyed "Smash" or "Ixnay On The Hombre". Why isn't the whole album like this? It would've had so much potential to feel like a return to form. Instead, the record feels like a failed attempt at reviving what the fans want: The Offspring clearly recognize their sound in the past 20 years hasn't been exactly relevant, so they go back to what worked in the old days. And herein lies the main problem: it just doesn't sound at all fresh in 2021, giving off dated vibes of days gone by. Ask yourselves: would you ever put on this album over any of the first 6 records from 1989-2000?

Download: The Opioid Diaries, Hassan Chop, Army Of One, Breaking These Bones
For the fans of: Bad Religion, All, Green Day, Sum 41, Rise Against
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.04.2021

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