Review Summary: Nice riffs + relatable lyrics + catchy hooks = Ixnay on the Hombre5 of 5 thought this review was well written
In 1994, The Offspring released their third album, Smash
, which would go on to be the band's best-selling album, and the best-selling album released on an independent label. Six million copies of Smash
were sold, and along with Green Day's Dookie
, was one of the lead forces of the 90's punk scene. After its success, The Offspring were soon signed to Columbia Records in 1996, and released their fourth album, Ixnay on the Hombre
, one year later. It was the band's first major label album, and it completely flopped, selling only a little over one million copies. Yet, even if the sales didn't show it, Ixnay on the Hombre
was a great album, and one of The Offspring's best works.
The album starts off with a hilarious "Disclaimer" by Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys, warning the listeners that the album contains depictions of "real life". The snide, biting sense of sarcasm is what sets it apart from other album intros. "Parental discretion will cleanse any sense of innuendo or sarcasm from the lyrics that might actually make you think!" he cries. After the hilarity of the disclaimer ends, the action kicks off with "The Meaning of Life", one of The Offspring's best songs. With a catchy chorus, eloquent lyricism about being who you are, and an infectious guitar riff, "The Meaning of Life" opens up the album fiery and pumped-up.
All sides of The Offspring are present on this album, including the light-hearted and the emotional From the stupid and fun "Me & My Old Lady" (which celebrates sex with elders and proclaiming how you can "go on and stare, but we don't care") to the fast and powerful "Mota" (which tells the tale of a drug addict's journey), Ixnay on the Hombre
manages to capture all aspects of The Offspring's works. The poignant social commentary on "Amazed" perfectly encapsulates the feeling of adolescent regret ("yeah, if I could change, then I'd really be amazed") as Dexter's vocals go real low, while "Change the World" is full of anger and disdain towards marketers who claim that they can change everything, but are really in for the money.
Although The Offspring may not be a singles band (godawful songs like "Hit That" and "Original Prankster" make me want to shoot myself in the foot), all of Ixnay
's singles are worth the listen. The biggest hit, "Gone Away" is The Offspring's most well-known ballad, and is a tragic song about mourning the death of a loved one. The lines "Pulled away before your time / I can't deal, it's so unfair" and "I reach to the skies, and call out your name / Please let me trade, I would" really hits the feeling of despair and sadness home, especially after you realize the song is about the death of frontman Dexter Holland's wife. "All I Want" is a fast two-minute track that may recycle the cliche of "be who you are", but it does it in a powerful and unique way that pumps everyone up. The lesser-known "I Choose" is built around an extremely infectious guitar riff and a catchy chorus, with lyrics about how you choose your path in life. The album does contain a small amount of filler tracks; however, both breeze by really fast and are easily forgettable. "Cool to Hate" is repetitive and redundant, with the entire song being based around the "I hate [insert person here]" formula, and "Leave it Behind" is boring and dull, and the uninspired vocal performance by Holland doesn't help things either.
In the end, Ixnay on the Hombre
for the title of best Offspring album. There are few filler and throwaway tracks, but the rest is pure vintage 90's punk. This was the band's last album that perfectly captured The Offspring's punk sound, with further efforts Americana
and Conspiracy of One
focusing on a more pop image. Many of The Offspring's best songs are on Ixnay
, and even if the album's sound was different from Smash
's, it still managed to overcome that and be a great album. Whether it be explaining how kids take after their parents, or expressing pride over being unique, The Offspring's songwriting skills and lyricism were at their high point on this album, perfectly encapsulating the feelings of adolescent angst. Ixnay on the Hombre
would go on to prove that The Offspring, even if they weren't before, were a band that was here to stay.