Review Summary: give it a chance.
The Offspring are one of my favorite bands of all ***ing time. Since Smash, I've been an avid follower. Conspiracy of One was a pile of ***, but Splinter rebounded a lot. Joke songs really brought it down, but with RaF, RaG, The Offspring are dead serious now.
If you only listen to the singles you might the wrong impression. As they are far from the highlights, "You're Gonna Go Far Kid" actually is one of the weaker tracks. It's repetitive and mainstream sound ing, but is still decent. "Hammerhead" is great though, angry lyrics about a school shooter make the track a standout. "Kristy Are You Doing Okay"" though is a pussy song, a ballad from the punks who once sang about gang violence and decapitation. It's about rape (a good thing), but its delivery is off, and Dexter's vocals are damn nasally.
The punk is back though. "Trust in You" shows promise through a fast-paced romp where Dexter puts his energy into the vocals, a good thing. "A Lot Like Me" is everything Kristy wasn't, with decent lyrics but subpar vocals. More pop rock sound, but not bad, considering punk doesn't sell. Could be bad becuase it proves that these ***s are old sellouts. Even "Takes Me Nowhere", which rips off a riff from a Splinter song I don't just know.
"Nothingtown" is also great, but more pop-rock style a la "Lot Like Me", but is also pretty sellout ish. Album highlight is definately "Stuff is Messed Up". Actual title: "*** IS ***ED UP" (also, *** you sputnik for censors). The lyrics are great, especially the titular phrase "*** is ***ed up". Sarcasm in the verses (the cell phone line LOL) and a bridge where Dexter raps about boob jobs (big XXX tits for me please).
"Fix You" sounds like Freshmen's Verve Pipe. It's decent, but very pussy. Punkers don't sing about this ballad crap! Sell outs! "Rock Bottom" is actually not bad, but "Rise and Fall" steals one of my favorite songs ever, "Green Day's American Idiot". Too bad they ***ed it all up.
Rise and Fall is not a bad album. Sure there are some pop rock sounds, but it's a stylistic change. Some songs could be deemed sell outs, but for me It's a great punk and pop rock listen, and a nice addition into Offspring discosgraphy.