The Offspring
Conspiracy of One


2.5
average

Review

by KrazyKris USER (14 Reviews)
September 21st, 2014 | 19 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Glimpses of vitality, masses of banality, end up in mediocrity.

If the millennium brought The Offspring and especially Dexter Holland one thing, then the question what to do with the success of "Americana". And you can't really pin it on them, that they couldn't repeat the "Ixnay On The Hombre" surprise, actually delivering something better than what brought them to stardom. Instead in 2000 fans got a desperate cry for media attention, a pseudo-fight between the band and their label about releasing the next album for free and in consequence a lead single no one had to pay for. All that makes the mediocre end product "Conspiracy Of One" probably a little bit more understandable, in no way more excusable though. Because the reality is, even 14 years later it still stands as a low point in their discography.

And yet it begins so unbelievably promising. Come Out Swinging is the perfect way to enter the stage, prolongs the series of great openers started with The Meaning Of Life in 1997. Those powerful minutes presented in Come Out Swinging with its pounding drums and a great riff still mark one of the most entertaining performances of Holland & Co throughout their entire career. While at first musically it seems like a "same procedure as every year" thing, the differences to the last records are fairly obvious at second glance. The slick production, the crunchy guitars and the heavy mixed drums all carry Brendan O'Brien's thumbprint. The distinctive sound produced is both off-putting and appealing at the same time. On one hand another step away from their punk roots is made, with often too exposed vocals and a performance that doesn't manage to maintain the same energy as the already poppy predecessors carried with them. Then again, the obvious inspirations from hard rock and metal genres offer enough to create songs like the too short All Along or the title track, both full of power and memorable performances of guitarist Noodles.

The big let-downs are found elsewhere. The Offspring's more humorous moments have always brought ambivalent results, ranging from the hilarious Beheaded back in '89 to not exactly harmful, but definitely useless pieces like When You're In Prison. These tracks, hardly ever on the better side of their records anyway, pile up in an unhealthy amount this time. Both singles Original Prankster and Want You Bad showcase similar problems. Rather than being funny and entertaining, they come off as forced and mediocre re-hashes of their earlier work. Especially the resemblance of smash hit Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) and its illegitimate successor Original Prankster isn't helpful in any way to make the latter a worthwhile listen. Even more so as the "original" wasn't that brilliant to begin with.

While we're only talking about unsatisfying mediocrity here, the band reaches an all-time low with the incredibly bad Special Delivery. Thanks to Dexter's shrill vocals, especially in the beginning criminally exposed without any help by his bandmates, the atrocious synth sounds used and a ridiculously stupid bridge the song is in the pole position for the track you skip every time. Accompanied consequently by the juvenile One Fine Day, an outdated pop punk hymn that describes the wildest dreams of a retarded 14-year-old and is already summed up properly by its first lines:

If I had a perfect day
I would have it start that way
Open up the fridge and have a tall boy
Yeah

Luckily at times you get a few reminders why the beginning hit so hard. Dammit, I Changed Again is very much in the vein of the opener, once again scores with its simple, yet strong guitar work and a quite good performance of Dexter, both vocally and lyrically. And while A Million Miles Away doesn't fully survive its running time, simply because what starts with a great riff goes on with exactly that and offers pretty much no variation of any kind, the aforementioned All Along and Conspiracy Of One keep it fresh, serve as the needed high-quality, heavier minutes in the second half.

To top that, you even get another grunge-inspired ballad, Vultures, which marks a powerful reminder of 90's favourites Dirty Magic and Gone Away. Starting with a simple chord that instantly brings the former to mind, it offers easily Dexters best singing on the album - mostly characterized by a certain understatement, that successfully hides his vocal shortcomings - and a harmonious performance by the whole band, altogether quite an emotional moment.

All of that leads to the conclusion that there is no a real conclusion. While The Offspring had their fair share of applauded albums and especially their later work is controversial amongst fans to say the least, "Conspiracy Of One" could stand as the very definition of your garden-variety pop punk record. Not exactly a quality attribute, but what suffers from some out-dated, boring or simply poor tracks is compensated by a pretty much equal amount of worthwhile moments, mostly those that effectively incorporate a heavier sound and give their up-tempo songs a harder edge. And with a well-crafted power ballad to round up the whole affair, it almost seems easy to be happy with the LP again. But the truth is, for the Orange County punks the new millennium starts as a battle of well-matched sides, one showing energetic vitality, the other a forced sound and an uninspired re-hash.


Recommended tracks:

Come Out Swinging
Dammit, I Changed Again
Vultures

Huck It (European bonus track)



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user ratings (1075)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Oddsen (2.5)
On Conspiracy of One, The Offspring generally retain the style of their last effort, Americana, but ...

Green Baron (2.5)
a conspiracy, indeed...

brycey (4)
...



Comments:Add a Comment 
KrazyKris
September 21st 2014


2749 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Still their worst, even if most people might disagree

Froot
September 21st 2014


1910 Comments


Good review, but I'd suggest proofing this big-time.

Shame, because I've been working my way up their discog, and it's been nothing but solid 4's so far.
This'll be somewhat off-putting.

scottpilgrim10
September 21st 2014


4750 Comments


I definitely disagree on the rating, but still good review.

KrazyKris
September 21st 2014


2749 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks and yeah Froot, proof-read it, was written in a bit of a rush.



On the album: Difficult to say, if you'll be disappointed. Actually it can be quite entertaining and its high points are definitely able to keep up with Ixnay or Americana, but it has just too many flaws.

BMDrummer
September 21st 2014


14440 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

good review, this album has some great songs on it (probably out of nostalgia), but it's pretty inconsistent as with all later offspring releases

Supercoolguy64
September 21st 2014


8765 Comments


nice review krazy.
boy do i wish a tall boy came out of my fridge in the morning

Digging: Cave In - Until Your Heart Stops

MO
September 21st 2014


22502 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

still a fun album after all these years

LaughingSkull
September 22nd 2014


599 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Disagree on the rating. It's their last worthy album, and everything after it is shit.



One Fine Day is a parody of frat life, by the way.

trackbytrackreviews
September 22nd 2014


3375 Comments


Probably my favorite Offspring album cover

KrazyKris
September 22nd 2014


2749 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@supercool



Isn't a dancing milk carton enough?



@laughingskull



Well, can't agree with you on that. Actually I consider RAFRAG to be their best work, although I see why people hate it.

VaxXi
September 22nd 2014


4392 Comments


Id say this album is better than Days Go By at least

KrazyKris
September 22nd 2014


2749 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Really? For me it's like Days Go By = Splinter > Co1 at the lower end of their discog.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
September 22nd 2014


15084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. I enjoy this for the most part, but some songs can be a serious miss.

Digging: HEALTH - VOL. 4 :: SLAVES OF FEAR

KrazyKris
September 22nd 2014


2749 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, actually quite a shame, cause if you would throw all the good stuff from Co1 and Splinter on one CD it'd be pretty much on par with the 90's material.

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
September 23rd 2014


15084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

agreed. splinter is very much the same.

KrazyKris
September 23rd 2014


2749 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I get Splinter even less though, although it's better. How could anyone say "yeah, let's put Neocon and When You're In Prison on it, so we get over 30 mins"? The punk tracks like The Noose or Lightning Rod are great work, but it almost seems as if they had to throw something out and this was all that was done at the time.

BigPleb
September 23rd 2014


57051 Comments


I WAAANT YOUU BAAAAAAD

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 23rd 2014


41225 Comments


Original Prankster was my jam back in the day

Digging: Copeland - Blushing

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
September 23rd 2014


15084 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Million Miles Away>>>



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