Review Summary: Albums In My Car Review Series: Part 1 - Smash
The first thing to note about Smash is that everyone in the 90s had this album, I mean it's the highest selling independent album of all time for crying out loud. So it comes as no surprise that my parents had this record, and I heard it in passing a lot in my childhood. I eventually ransacked my parents' record collection and decided to give it a proper spin when I got tired of listening to nothing but pop-punk and Linkin Park. Smash
is a pretty important album in the development of my musical taste as punk rock to me at that point in my life was made up of whiny vocals, angsty lyrics, and upbeat, melodious guitar chords. I was jamming Blink-182, Green Day, and Sum 41 in elementary school, but little did I know, a hard rocking punk album by the name of Smash
would come along and put me on the right track in my musical development.
The Offspring rode on the wave of success brought about by bands like Green Day and Rancid, but they had a harder edge to them and were much more talented at their instruments. The Offspring started off as a melodic hardcore band, but began incorporating hard rock and grunge elements into their music on their sophomore release Ignition. They perfected this sound on Smash,
a runaway mainstream hit that was propelled by tons of airplay from Los Angeles' premiere radio station KROQ, and Smash's
three singles "Come Out and Play," "Self Esteem," and "Gotta Get Away." With Smash,
The Offspring proved that a band could rock hard, appeal to a wide audience while still retaining hardcore fans, and be poppy without being too poppy.
is a record that is very much separated by its two halves. The first half of Smash
contains all the singles starting off with "Gotta Get Away," a grunge influenced track with off and on palm mute guitar stylings and gruff vocals that set it apart a bit from the other two singles. Next on deck is "Come Out and Play," whose famous middle eastern inspired riff and lyrics about gang violence captured the hearts of rock fans all over the spectrum. Lastly, the instant classic sing-along-whenever-it's-on-the-radio-in-your-car anthem "Self Esteem" was a major crossover hit and helped Smash
sell over 12 million records. The rest of the tracks are grunge influenced tunes with crushing chords and riffs that make the first half a hard rocking affair that appealed more to mainstream rock fans.
From the first notes of "It'll Be a Long Time," it's clear that the second half of Smash
is quite different from the first half. From the hardcore punk Didjits cover "Killboy Powerhead," to the ska-punk "What Happened To You," to the final two tracks, the experimental "Not The One" and the hard hitting title track, the second half of Smash
has The Offsrping going back to their roots and exploring their punk rock sound that would unfortunately be lost for the most part and subsequent records.
has very two distinct halves, and The Offspring manage to keep both sides equally engaging and consistent, while allowing them to flow into each other seamlessly as well. Not a lot of records could pull off what Smash
did: explore a mainstream sound while still maintain its underground roots, and with its standout singles, lack of filler, and crossover appeal it's easy to see why it sold so many records and become an essential 90s rock album.