Review Summary: Better than Conspiracy, but not the masterpiece that we're looking for.
You want to know the truth? The Offspring's 2000 album Conspiracy of One
sucked. It was pure pop-punk garbage, going too soft after Americana
established them as a punk juggernaut. Splinter
is considerably harder, yet it is also less serious, with some joke tracks sprinkled in.
The best part about the album is how hard it hits. From the one-minute opener, "Neocon", you can see that The Offspring are trying to take this album more seriously, with lyrics like "we will never lose to you" and a big, thumping drum beat. Great songs include "The Noose", which is a great fast, catchy punk tune with great lines like "The future now incinerates before our very eyes/And leaves us with the emptiness of no more tries". "Race Against Myself" is another catchy, fast punk song, this time being about "running a race against [your]self". "Spare Me the Details" is a ska-tinged song about cheating lovers, and is probably the best song on the album. With a catchy chorus, funny lyrics and great drums, it's guaranteed to get stuck in your head.
So, the good songs on the album are mainly fast, catchy punk tunes. What about the bad? To say the least, they're stupid, boring, and just plain silly. After a heavy first half, seventh track "The Worst Hangover Ever" has ska influences and lyrics like "Went out drinking late last night. I had a blast / Well now the morning light has come and kicked my ass". It's supposed to be a fun, relaxing song, and even has a brass section.
The first single, "Hit That", may or may not be a joke track. It also has an annoyingly repetitive brass section, and the song is about teenage pregnancy and sex. The subject matter could be considered serious, but Dexter delivers it with such a happy attitude with lines like "sex is a weapon/It's like a drug". "Da Hui" is nothing but one-and-a-half minutes of Dexter dropping F-bombs about a Hawaiian surfer. Lyrics such as "I won't park next to Da Hui/Because I don't really feel comfortable" let us know that he isn't taking this seriously. One good thing about the song is how hard it hits, even though everyone else is pretty much a joke.
The last track "When You're In Prison" is the biggest flop of the album. It has crackly, old background music reminiscent of 1930's tunes and elevator music. The song is about prison rape, which mentions of "dropping the soap" and "being [some]one's bitch". Once again, all these joke songs negate the hard-hitting catchy punk in the first half.
All the other songs are fairly average. "Long Way Home" and "Never Gonna Find Me" are similar to each other in quality and sound, and they're both pretty solid. "(Can't Get My) Head Around You" is overrated, with Dexter's vocals a little bit nasally in the chorus. "Lightning Rod" is another fast punk song, and I have to say this. All the "average-quality" songs are pretty much the same. If you've heard one, you've heard them all.
So in the end, all the good built up in the first half is negated with the silly joke songs in the second half. And since all the other songs are basically average, so is the album. I don't love it, but then again I don't hate it, because there are some good songs.