Review Summary: Well, at least they nailed the popular songs.
In 2003, after releasing their seventh album Splinter
to mixed reviews, The Offspring went on a hiatus. Two years later, they put out a Greatest Hits album. With a catalog of over 90 songs over 21 years, one would expect the album to chock-full of hard punk tunes spanning the duration of their careers, starting with their self-titled album and ending with Splinter
. One would expect songs from their heavy, angst-filled Smash
days to their poppier, mainstream tunes on albums like Conspiracy of One
. One would expect The Offspring's Greatest Hits to be a journey from their underground days in the late 80s and early 90s to their renowned success in the 00s.
However, that is not the case. Out of the band's wide catalog of singles from their seven albums, The Offspring's Greatest Hits consists of fourteen songs. Fourteen songs out of the band's ninety-somewhat anthems that they made. I was hoping they would go the Green Day route and release every single that was ever made, but alas, that is not the case.
The album opens with "Can't Repeat", a new song that was recorded specifically for the album. I like the song a lot, although it is nothing groundbreaking. Just take The Offspring's signature "Whoa-ohs", Dexter's distinct vocals, a catchy hook, and there you have it. After the new song comes "Come Out and Play (Keep 'Em Separated)", the song that got The Offspring big back in 1994. Wait up a second. What happened to songs from their first two albums, The Offspring
" You just missed the singles "I'll Be Waiting/Blackball" and "Kick Him When He's Down", and fast-forwarded ten years into the band's career!
After "Come Out and Play", we get two other singles from Smash
, "Self Esteem" (which I am a big fan of), and "Gotta Get Away", a mediocre song that has Dexter singing off-key. It seems like they forgot "Bad Habit", which was an airplay-only single, but still a single nonetheless, and one that is still fairly remembered today. "Gone Away" and "All I Want" are the representatives of Ixnay on the Hombre
, and are the two most radio-friendly singles from the album. What happened to "I Choose", "The Meaning of Life" and "Cool to Hate"" They were great singles too, even if they weren't mainstream successes!
Three out of the four Americana
singles are featured, leaving out "She's Got Issues", which was a decent song about an angsty girlfriend. "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" and "Why Don't You Get A Job"" are part of this section, the two joke songs that got The Offspring even more known, albeit with criticisms that they were selling out. The latter is the better of the two, with lyrics about mooching boy/girlfriends and a tune that is purposely similar to The Beatles' "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da". The last song from the Americana
era is "The Kids Aren't Alright", one of my favorite Offspring songs. It's a fast tune about how kids grow up to drugged-up idiots with messed up lives.
After that comes two songs from Conspiracy of One
, "Original Prankster" and "Want You Bad". The latter is a mediocre pop-punk tune about how Dexter wants his girl to be kinky, tattooed and bad
. The former is also subpar, featuring Dexter rapping the verses and vocals by the rapper Redman in the chorus. Those two singles were some of the worst songs from Conspiracy
, which portrays the album in a negative light when my favorite song on the album, "Million Miles Away", was excluded from the Greatest Hits despite being the third single.
After "Want You Bad", we get "Defy You" (one of my favorite Offspring songs), which was on the soundtrack to Orange County
, and features a hint of 90s alternative grunge in the bridge. The Splinter
section features "Hit That", a mess of a song about teenage pregnancy. With its synth-keyboards and annoying blippy beat, "Hit That" fails to prove that The Offspring can make great songs with ska. "(Can't Get My) Head Around You" has a nice guitar solo and a catchy chorus, but doesn't really end the album well. "Spare Me the Details" was overlooked, continuing the trend of leaving out the lesser known singles, which is a shame, because it's one of their best ska-influenced tunes.
It's really disappointing that out of The Offspring's 22 singles, only 13 were picked. They left out some of the better Offspring singles in favor of the mainstream ones. Don't get me wrong, the mainstream songs deserved to be there, but so did the other singles. In the end, this is a good introduction to The Offspring, with some truly spectacular tunes, but you'll have to dig deeper in The Offspring's discography to find their best songs.