The Offspring

Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace

Written by: PP on 26/06/2008 02:56:19

The Offspring have been central in shaping my music taste into what it is today. \"Smash\" is one of my all time favorite albums and \"Americana\" was my first rock album ever, which then lead me to others like \"Dookie\". This website would almost certainly not exist if it wasn\'t for that record and The Offspring. Bias aside, although I\'m a massive fan of almost all The Offspring records, \"Conspiracy Of One\" was a bit of a let down from \"Americana\", while still being an alright record, but \"Splinter\" was a total disaster. It tells a story when I couldn\'t even remember the title of that record and had to look it up for this review. So anyway, The Offspring have been on a downhill slope that seems to have gotten steeper and steeper as the years went along. Today, the band has just released \"Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace\". Is it a turnaround for the band? Well, kinda, but not really.

As \"Half-Truism\" welcomes the listener to the album, Dexter\'s familiar melancholic croon gives a slant of nostalgia to any pre-\"Americana\" Offspring fan out there. It seems he\'s back to his usual self, just like the rest of the band who are playing faster and better than any other occasion since \"Americana\". Enter \"Trust In You\", another punk rocker, which starkly reminds you of the hooks from the \"Smash\"-era. Are they back? It sure seems like it, as \"You\'re Gonna Go Far, Kid\" sports yet another infectious chorus, even if it\'s a tad bit slower in pace than the two opening punk rockers. It has the familiar medium-fast rhythm the band has always been known for, the one that changed countless teenage lives almost a decade ago. By now, everyone\'s heard \"Hammerhead\" and has an opinion about it, and mine is a positive one - each time I hear it I find myself rocking out, singing along to the lyrics just like in the good ol\' days.

But then, the first sign of weakness to come arrives in the form of \"A Lot Like Me\". Why do all big bands have a seemingly never ending hunger to sound so \'epic\', \'colossal\', \'huge\', etc on record? Why must they destroy the tight awesomeness of their sound with meaningless space? Luckily, Dexter\'s voice after the slow beginning saves the song, which is followed by another vintage Offspring track \"Takes Me Nowhere\", beholding the record\'s dignity at a reasonable level.

\"Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?\" is the first ballad on the CD. Okay, I must admit that the chorus has been stuck in my mind for weeks now, but the slow-ish acoustic introduction, and the boring pop rock chords in the rest of the song just isn\'t something you\'d want from The Offspring. After almost two decades of pigeonholing themselves as a punk rock band, there\'s no need or reason to start changing now. All their fans know what they want from the band, so why won\'t they deliver? It\'s clear they aren\'t good at writing anything else than simplistic punk songs with a sense of youthful attitude to them, so why deviate?

\"Nothingtown\" is a great example of going wrong with what could\'ve otherwise been a good song. It has a slight resemblance to \"Want You Bad\", but its pace is way too slow and forces the song into mediocrity. Also, what the hell is up with these novelty tracks they\'ve been putting on as of late? We all hated \"Original Prankster\" and \"Hit That\", the only time the joke was funny was because of the video associated with \"Pretty Fly\". Consequently, \"Stuff Is Messed Up\" comes across as only childish, silly, and perhaps even insulting to us older fans who have grown together with the band. We aren\'t 16 anymore, come on.

By this point, the album has lost most of its steam already, but just to make that absolutely clear for the listener, the band throws on \"Fix You\", strangely resemblant of \"She\'s Got Issues\". But although the latter song was a success, \"Fix You\"\'s pianos make me look away in disgust. And wait, what\'s up with the Blink 182 chorus I hear in \"Let\'s Hear It For Rock Bottom\"? Or \"Rise And Fall\", which sports a guitar riff and sound almost identical to \"American Idiot\"?

So to tie all the ends together, \"Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace\" is both great and disastrous for the band. It\'s great, because the first half of it shows that the band still hasn\'t lost their ability of writing timeless, unimitable punk songs, and disastrous, because the second half deserves to be binned, bar one or two decent songs on it. Does the album contain another \"Bad Habit\", \"All I Want\" or \"Have You Ever\"? It certainly doesn\'t. But does it have another \"Gone Away\" or \"The Kids Aren\'t Alright\"? My opinion is yes, but find out yourself. It\'s still the second weakest album the band has produced, but then again, all except for \"Splinter\" have been great albums.

Download: Half-Truism, Hammerhead, You\'re Gonna Go Far Kid
For the fans of: Bad Religion, Green Day, Pennywise
Listen: Myspace

Release date 17.06.2008
Columbia Records

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