Every time I hear the spoken word intro to The Offspring’s most famous opus, Welcome
, the memories come rushing back. Memories of being 13 years old and sitting in art class discussing the band’s latest single. Back in those days, everybody could sing Why Don’t You Get a Job"
backwards with their eyes closed, the song was just so popular. And the fact that it included the words «bitch» and «dick» helped as well.
However, the influence of this record went far beyond all that. Along with Eminem’s second LP and Limp Bizkit’s now-maligned Chocolate Starfish
, this was one of the trio of albums an average earthling had to possess to be accepted in my school. Not only did you have to own it, you had to know every song by heart. And it was also in fashion to hate the last two tracks, Americana
and Pay The Man
Now, nearly eight years later, and with the benefit of hindsight, what is left is an excellent melodic punk-rock album. How it managed to influence a whole generation of kids, I don’t know. Maybe it was just the catchy choruses and riffing that got to our hearts. What is undeniable is the songs’ quality.
is the album on which The Offspring most seamlessly blend mainstream appeal and underground street-cred. On later outings – culminating so far on the fairly atrocious Splinter
– the band would shamelessly show their love for the dollar, softening down their sound considerably, but on this record they still rocked plenty hard.
Proof enough of this are songs like Staring At The Sun
or everybody’s favorite melodi-core anthem, No Brakes
. On these songs, the band sound like the same group that recorded the rebellious Ignition
in 1993. However, on tracks such as the lead single Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)
, they add a few more accessible touches, generating infectious yet respectable mainstream rock songs. The band is never beyond inserting a guitar solo or a heavier moment in its radio-friendly songs, and that’s what makes this record so appealing. It features a set of songs that any high-school class can sing along to at a party, but it always avoids the most blatant «stupid-rock» pitfalls.
Why, then, did the band decide to finish off such a winning album with two such dull tracks" The title track is the lesser of two evils – not up to par with such anthems as Feelings
, but not a completely hopeless song. Pay The Man
, however, is a different story altogether. «Since when did George Harrison join a punk band"», you think, as the sitar.driven tracks drags on forever in your stereo. It gets better towards the end, but at that point, you’ll probably have tossed the CD out the window already.
All in all, then, this is one of those records that are perfect for teaching kids the A-B-C of rock music. Suffice it to say, I went from here to Bizkit, then Slipknot (bless my Mum!) and then pretty much everything else I listen to these days. This was also one of the first CD’s I passed on to my sister when she started showing an interest in records with guitars.
Nowadays, i don’t listen to it as much; I guess I’ve outgrown it. However, it is impossible to deny its quality and consistency as a record, as much as it is impossible for me to make an impersonal review of it. So between the 5/5 of the memories and the 3,5/5 of the unbiased rating, I’ll give it a 4/5
Staring At The Sun
Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)
She’s Got Issues