Review Summary: The Offspring made their most diverse album to date, without losing their traditional sound.
I am just going to put it out there, I've been obsessed with The Offspring since the days of Smash when Come Out And Play was all over the radio. Yes, I was 8 years old. I would go as far in saying that Smash, Ixnay on the Hombre and Americana are in my top 10 albums of all time. But being in the age of maturity where the mold of my musical taste thickens, The Offspring has been mysteriously absent. The previous long awaited album, Splinter, was a disappointment due to the lack of substance to hang on to. Now it's been 5 years since that and The Offspring has a lot to prove to a lot of fans.
Well Bob Rock is the producer of Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace, which brought on high hopes because he's known to make great pop records, but then again St. Anger
. Well Rise and Fall is a finely produced album. It features 12 full tracks clocking in at nearly 44 minutes with nearly no filler from The Offspring’s signature pop influenced songs. Rise and Fall is a mix of classic Offspring tracks, sentimental ballads and just flat out good rock songs.
The first four songs are entirely mosh worthy and are the strongest songs on the album. Half-Truism, Trust in You, and Hammerhead were entirely influenced by classic albums like Smash and Ixnay On The Hombre while You're Gonna Go Far, Kid is a thrashing song with reminiscence of a My Chemical Romance song, though it's fitting for the album. Fix You and Kristy, Are You Doing Ok" are songs styles that The Offspring hasn't crossed into before, the ballad. Something always told me that The Offspring could pull it off and I was right. Kristy, Are You Doing Ok deals with the theme of sexual molestation based on a true story. While Fix You is about a broken relationship that Dexter wants to work out. Both songs are pulled off well without coming off as a bunch of late 30-somethings writing for kids and they add depth to Rise and Fall that haven't been heard in any previous Offspring album.
The instrumentals are executed in your traditional Offspring way. Noodles still grinds power chords up and down the frets of a guitar though at times in songs Stuff is Messed Up and Lets Hear It For Rock Bottom, the tone can irritate the ears. Josh Freese stepped in again as the drummer since Atom Willard left due to previous commitments and does a fine job. Though Greg K doesn't have his bass breakdowns, he does an eloquent job keeping the rhythm of the tracks. Lyrically, The Offspring has taken a backstreet as in recent albums and this is a mixed bag. At times it seems Dexter wants to sound deep but tries too hard and in other songs like Stuff is Messed Up, he goes off in rants about today’s media which doesn't work very well. Lastly, Dexter does what he does best which is being Dexter. Dexter’s vocals are very much the same as in any album though songs like A Lot Like Me and Fix You for the most part sounds good as he sings in a clean style.
The Offspring have done it. They made their most diverse album to date while still keeping the traditional sound that fans will enjoy. From the best single choice since The Kids Aren't Alright (Hammerhead) to the rare sentimental ballads. It's hard to stack this up to any of the previous catalog due to the album having its own identity. Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace is flawed yet it doesn't get in the way of a great listen. Let’s just hope it doesn't take another 5 years before we hear new material again.
The Sludge's: Thumb Ups
Kristy, Are You Doing Ok"