The Offspring - Days Go By
Record Label: Columbia
Release Date: June 26, 2012
The 00s have not been the best decade for the Offspring, musically speaking.
Yes, the records still sell, despite a significant drop in sales in the entire industry. The shows are still sold out. Somewhere along the way however they lost that spark, that spark that made records like Ignition, Smash, Ixnay and even Conspiracy of One and Americana to a certain extent, the great (Pop-)Punk they are.
Starting with the mediocre Splinter in 2003 things changed. The Band traded some of their energy for an (even more) radio-friendly approach at Rock music. Their 2008 release Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace continued the downward trend dramatically, a record that was devoid of any inspired songwriting. Shamelessly stealing not only from the bands own back catalog, but also, like Green Day did 4 years before on "American Idiot", nicked the riff from the Dillinger Fours "DoubleWhiskeyCokeNoIce", the record left a bitter taste of disappointment in the mouths of the fans.
4 years later the band is set to release their 9th studio album, Days Go By. Expectations even among fans were low, after the announcement that Rock would return as producer. The first two singles,"Days Go By "and "Cruising California (Bumpin' in my trunk)" further fueled the assumption that Days Go By would be as bad as Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace.
The former being a catchy, but soft Adult Rock number with a The Cult-esque riff that does not suit the band or singer Dexter Holland particularly well. The latter a auto-tuned dance pop number, that would suit the likes of Katy Perry well. Granted it was probably supposed to hit in the same vein "Pretty Fly" did in 1998, but fails horribly. The song is just bad and not funny at all, with lyrics that even LMFAO or Cobra Starship wouldn't put in a song.
With all that in mind I still bought the record, and was pleasantly surprised:
There are some actually great songs on the record. The opener "The Future is Now" is the kind of fast and melodic Punk Rock song the band is best known for. Same goes for" Secrets from the Underground" and "Hurting as One", the latter being reminiscent of the bands early 90s phase. The verse of "Turning into you" might sound a little like Ready to fall by Rise Against, but the chorus is huge and pure Offspring.
Sadly the quality drops in the middle of the record with a triad of bad songs, helmed by the already mentioned "Cruising California (Bumpin' in my trunk)". The following "All I have left is you" is a sappy and unnecessary soft-rock ballad a la "Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?". The only good thing about the song are Hollands vocals. The last one is the Mariachi/Reggae/Ska number called " OC Guns". Sporting some of the most cringe inducing lyrics Holland has ever written, such as Tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki, what up holmes?/ Huero puta! Pendejo! Cabron/ Tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki, what up holmes?/ Shoot them in the back with a BB Gun.
A shame really, as the Mariachi band is actually great and the solo in the song is quite good too.
Luckily things turn around with the brilliant rendition of the bands 92 classic "Dirty Magic", the song now finally packs the sonic punch it needs. Lyrically one of Holland's best. While the lyrics on the grammatically incorrectly titled "I wanna secret family with you" might be really rather bad, the song itself is a great, uplifting Power pop number, that at times reminds me of the Fountains of Wayne. The last two Songs "Dividing By Zero" and "Slim Pickens Does The Right Thing And Rides The Bomb To Hell" are to fast and melodic Punk songs that are among the best the band has ever written, both musically and lyrically.
All in all, the record is not the complete failure many were expecting or hoping for, but rather a collection of seven great, one mediocre and four abysmal songs. Overproduced as one has come to expect from Bob Rock, the band still manages to sound good. Fans will like, people who are generally into this kind of music should give it a listen too.
It is doubtful though if the record will get the band any new fans...