75: Americana (The Offspring)

Album: Americana
Artist: The Offspring
Year: 1998

1. Welcome
2. Have You Ever
3. Staring at the Sun
4. Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)
5. The Kids Aren’t Alright
6. Feelings
7. She’s Got Issues
8. Walla Walla
9. The End of the Line
10. No Brakes
11. Why Don’t You Get a Job?
12. Americana
13. Pay the Man

I don’t get angry or bitter all that often, but when I do, this has always been a good album to crank up loud and scream to for an hour. The pace is frenetic right from the start, and up through the end of Staring at the Sun, the mood is perfect. Then we get to the band’s highest ranked song on the pop charts, Pretty Fly. It’s…fine, silly, but grinds the album to a halt. Thankfully, it picks right back up with the The Kids Aren’t Alright, a pretty poignant song (about the broken dreams of children) considering how hurried it is.

The middle of the album consists of a string of really bitter songs, the best place on the album for them. Walla Walla has a nice sound, but it’s hard to ignore the silly theme (Ha ha, you’re going to prison cuz yer dumb). The End of the Line and No Brakes somehow speed up the pace of the album, and by the end you’re wondering where the album has yet to go. And then Why Don’t You Get a Job? happens. Like Walla Walla, it’s a preachy song while also killing the pace of the album. Not to mention the rhythm (and the rhyme scheme) is horrendous.

The album redeems itself, with a predictable but fun criticism of consumerism. The final song, Pay the Man, really slows things down (while still being loud) to a snail’s pace, the perfect descrescendo to the previous frenzied pace.

I haven’t tested out much else the band has had to offer. I’m obviously familiar with the song Come Out and Play, but would love other suggestions.

7 thoughts on “75: Americana (The Offspring)”

  1. I don’t know if there’s a band I turned against more completely than The Offspring. I saw them live in Mankato when they were nobody, bought Smash a year later when they hit it big and played it nonstop for few years and then couldn’t stand them by the time this album came out. It probably has everything to do with the lame singles they released. I thought they’d completely given up on their angry sound – I had no idea it was all over the rest of the disc.

    If you haven’t heard it, you should probably listen to Smash. I haven’t in years, but it was a defining disc of my high school years.

    1. I think I listened to it once a long time ago, without giving it a second chance. Perhaps I will again.

      I wonder how much fault belongs with the actual band that the two worst songs on this album hit the airways, other than the fact they recorded them in the first place.

    2. In cases like that, I blame the labels as a matter of course. I mean, it may not be “blame” since they know what works and their sole job is to make money for the label, but you know what I mean.

  2. Offspring albums in chronological order (from someone who has them all)

    (self-titled) – it’s fine, but nothing spectacular. “Jennifer Lost the War” and “Tehran” are the best songs. “Beheaded” is awful.

    Ignition – This is a good one, “Kick Him When He’s Down” “Get it Right” “No Hero” “Nothing from Something” “We Are One” are all good songs and there aren’t any terrible songs on this album.

    Smash – This is the Offspring album. If you only get one, get this one. Part of it is that it came out at exactly the right time for me, but I think everyone agrees this is the one to get. “Nitro” “Bad Habit” “Genocide” “Come Out and Play” “Self Esteem” “Smash” are all probably in the top 15 Offspring songs of all time.

    Ixnay on the Hombre – now we start getting into the “why is this song even here?” phase. This is still a good album, but it’s not Smash. “Meaning of Life” “Gone Away” “I Choose” “All I Want” are all good to very good. “Don’t Pick it Up” is dumb but not as bad as the worst of Americana.

    Americana – I pretty much agree with what you said above. “Pretty Fly” is dumb but tolerable, “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” is really bad. “No Brakes” “Staring at the Sun” “The Kids Aren’t Alright” “Have You Ever” are highlights.

    Conspiracy of One – meh. “Million Miles Away” “Dammit, I Changed Again” are classic good-Offspring. “Denial, Revisited” is teenage angst. There are some different songs here that you may or may not like. “Living in Chaos” and “Vultures” for example. The single “Original Prankster” is not good.

    Splinter – I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I didn’t hate the single “Hit That” but there were also “The Noose” “Long Way Home” “Can’t Get My Head Around You” make the first half pretty good. Unfortunately I’m pretty sure there is no second half, because I never listen to it.

    Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace – not great. “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” is pretty good.

    Days Go By – awful. I think even The Offspring are tired of The Offspring at this point.

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