Review Summary: a conspiracy, indeed
After The Offspring released Americana
in 1998, it was clear that they were moving into a poppier direction. That album proved that The Offspring could still be decent without their hard punk influences. However, their follow-up album, Conspiracy of One
, has us wondering why the hell they decided to take the pop route in the first place.
If you don't believe me, look no further than the first two singles, "Original Prankster" and "Want You Bad". The former is a guilty pleasure of many, but not one of mine. It features rapper Redman in the chorus, and has frontman Dexter Holland rapping on the verses, too. Meanwhile, the latter highlights the "pop" in pop-punk, as it is one of the softest songs the band has ever written. Dexter's vocals sound extra nasally on this track, too, and the lyrics, as different as they are from the rest of the band's discography, are mediocre. The track is about how Dexter wants his girl to be a kinky, tattooed, bad girl, and it's just not sincere enough for me to take seriously.
"Special Delivery" gets annoying within the first 30 seconds, as Dexter's vocals coupled with the sub-par beat equals the worst song on the album. "Living in Chaos" is also annoying, and unfocused on what it wants to be. "All Along" is similar to "So Alone" from Smash
, as they're both short, fast songs that feel like they were chucked onto the album a day before release. It's not a bad song, but it could have been better if it was longer and had more time to expand its thoughts.
Thankfully, The Offspring still know how to make great songs, as evidenced by third single, "Million Miles Away", my favorite on the album. It's fast, sports a great riff, and excellent lyrics. "One Fine Day" is an energetic and fast tune about the perfect day, and "Denial, Revisited" is the only good poppy song from the album, being a ballad about a doomed relationship.
"Come Out Swinging" is a perfect opener, and the title track makes for a great closer.
In the end, Conspiracy of One
falls nothing short of average. There are some great, fast punk tunes, but the poppier songs are just horrible. Some of the guitar riffs seem recycled from previous albums, and Dexter's vocals can get a little too whiny at some places. The album does have a wide range of songs, from the fast "Million Miles Away" to the slow "Denial, Revisited", but the middle of the album is mediocre and slows down the record. One can only help if this album was an inside job done purposely by The Offspring to sabotage their careers.
Of course not. Conspiracy of One
is just simply The Offspring's poppiest record, and I'll leave it at that.