If you were to ask me what I thought the highest selling album released by an independent record label was, I probably wouldn't have made an accurate guess. No scratch that, I definitely wouldn't have gotten it right. Then, if you were to tell me that The Offspring's album, Smash, was the best selling indie album I probably wouldn't have believed you. No scratch that, I definitely wouldn't have believed you. But regardless of what I would have said or believed, The Offspring's third album does hold (or has held) such a distinction. And considering the quality of Smash, it isn't really a surprise that the 1994 album would sell so well. A fun album to listen to; Smash brings to the table everything you'd expect from a young punk band.
Perhaps the element which stands out to me the most after listening to the near 40 minute album is the energy that The Offspring display in virtually every one of the 13 songs. Smash's first track, Nitro (Youth Energy) is, as one would expect from a song titled as it is, both energetic and powerful and lays down the blue print for the tracks to follow. Through The Offspring's fast paced, high octane attack, each of the band members compliments each other rather nicely. Hit single, Come Out and Play, will attest to that. Another powerful, highly enjoyable characteristic of Smash is the catchiness in which many of the tracks display. Many of the songs (especially the title track) have strong, memorable choruses which you will remember long after you finish listening. Interestingly, each of the songs seem as though they strive to outdo their predecessors in catchiness and with the exception of perhaps the Didjts cover Killboy Powerhead, feel as though they accomplish such a goal as you listen to them. Fortunately Smash doesn't begin to sound contrived or forced, as the song writing is strong enough to maintain artistic credibility.
In terms of quality songs, well, Smash has quite a lot to choose from. The title track is perhaps the strongest Smash has to offer. While the frenzied power chord attack heard during the song's verses and choruses may sound vaguely familiar after listening to the record in its entirety, they manage to remain entertaining. However, where Smash stands out musically is its instrumental section. Starting at about 1:27 and lasting for nearly 40 seconds, the bridge changes up the flow of the song and provides listeners with an interesting change of pace. After Smash, the next highlight would easily by Come Out and Play. One of The Offspring's most famous songs, it contains several memorable moments. The most recognizable, and certainly my favourite of these parts would be both the eastern sounding riff which accompanies the track's pre-verse and bridge as well as the poppy, albeit entertaining chorus. While not as energetic or fast paced as the likes of Smash or It'll Be a Long Time, it is probably the album's most interesting song.
I'm not a huge fan of punk rock. At least not yet. But if any album were to open me up to the genre, The Offspring's Smash would definitely be one of them. Combining fast-tempo, high energy punk rock with excellent song writing and the catchiness of pop-punk, the band's third album is definitely one which punk fans need to here. With songs such as Come Out and Play, Something to Believe In, and It'll Be a Long Time, The Offspring's breakout album is an exceedingly fun album to listen to, whether you're jamming along with it or just to sit back and enjoy. Definitely pick this up if you haven't already.
Come Out and Play
Something to Believe In
Nitro (Youth Energy)
It'll Be a Long Time