The Offspring
Let the Bad Times Roll


2.0
poor

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
April 16th, 2021 | 113 replies


Release Date: 04/16/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All off, no spring.

I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest The Offspring fan out there, but I can at the very least assert the band have their own inimitable sound that instantly sends me back to my childhood when I put on one of their albums; after all, it’s impossible for me to hear “All I Want” and not imagine myself in utter bliss playing Crazy Taxi on my Sega Dreamcast. l could go further still and praise them for being one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen – a real testament to the band since I only saw them six years ago – or I could note the fervent fondness I have for their mid-to-late-nineties albums and the aforementioned nostalgia that goes with them. In short, the band have played a pertinent role in revolutionising the pop-punk model, and they are indeed a part of the pop-punk pantheon with contributions that can’t be overlooked. However, on a creative level, The Offspring’s greatness dimmed out twenty years ago. Despite their great live shows enduring, the noughties saw a string of middling albums that struggled to progress their sound in the right ways. For my part, this led to me becoming increasingly disinterested with their new material, as a little piece of that intense fun was being lost with every passing chapter. When “Cruising California (Bumpin' In My Trunk)” came out to promote their 2012 release, Days Go By, it was the final nail in the coffin for The Offspring – they had lost their marbles and I had written them off for good. The irony here, however, is that years later I would go back to Days Go By and be left dumbfounded by its quality: not only was it a really solid album, it was the best thing The Offspring had done since Conspiracy of One.

Indeed, Days Go By is responsible for reinvigorating my interest in the band again, and it taught me a very important lesson: don’t judge an entire album on just one single. I have maintained that lesson ever since, but the lead up to Let the Bad Times Roll didn’t exactly draw out a mass of enthusiasm from me, considering the black cloud that was engulfing it. There was the woeful news bassist Greg K. had parted ways with the band in 2018 – Greg being the last founding member of The Offspring next to Dexter, and a member who had played in the band for thirty-four years! If nothing else, it’s deeply saddening to know relationships had deteriorated to the point where their issues could not be mended, but I digress. Greg’s departure aside, the album (or at least some form of it) had been in limbo for a number of years, going as far back as 2017 where Greg hinted at a possible release in 2018. Couple that with some pretty crappy singles and there’s cause to be somewhat worried about where this album was headed. After hearing Let the Bad Times Roll in its entirety, it’s become almost impossible for me not to speculate on the final product.

Let’s point out the elephant in the room; Let the Bad Times Roll’s production is outright dogsh-t. Imagine for a second, all of that blazing, breakneck energy the band are so well known for and have captured and documented so well on previous albums: the magnifying hooks, Dexter’s vigorous vocal performances, and the brickwall guitar riffs and tumbling drum rolls. Try and visualise and remember these traits – traits that make up the quintessential The Offspring sound. Now imagine all of that being compressed to a mere inch of its life, allowing for no breathing room or any dynamic to the songs and you’ll have an idea of what to expect here. Dexter’s vocals are so overproduced on this thing that when “This is Not Utopia” opened up, I actually thought it was a guest singing over the track because he sounded so unrecognisable. My naïve instinct was that maybe it was a one off, but in most cases here, he literally sounds as though he’s singing into a trash barrel chock full of reverb. It’s a shame too, because there are scuttling moments of hope found on “Coming for You”, “The Opioid Diaries” and “Hassan Chop” – the more traditional sounding The Offspring tracks here – where you can hear Dexter’s signature vocal work, but there’s something so damn off about the way they are recorded here it just becomes more distracting than anything else. Terrible vocal wizardry aside, the music sounds as though it has had the energy castrated from the songs. Nothing feels as though it’s sitting in unison, as guitars, vocals and drums bleed into one another to create this formless, lifeless husk, void of nuance and layers.

It’s impossible to know if Let the Bad Times Roll has Greg on any of it, but given the way they separated, it would suggest the further delays came from the band writing new tracks to avoid any legal issues. And that’s an important clue to consider here, because these songs sound, at best, half-baked. If the abominable production wasn’t a factor here, “Behind Your Walls” and “Army of One” would display some of The Offspring’s more revered aspects, but even then, they are hardly top-tier tunes when you dissect what they actually offer listeners. To make matters worse, there’s not a great deal of meat on the album when you look at the content being presented here. “In the Hall of the Mountain King” is an arbitrary cover with absolutely no context, “Gone Away” is a decent albeit pointless piano version of a song from Ixnay on the Hombre, and “Lullaby” is a cheap outro with little consequence. Couple that with lyrics that lament a fifty-five-year-old dude not getting laid and name-dropping Donkey Kong and it just adds insult to injury. With a good production, some of these tracks could have been saved, but by all accounts, Let the Bad Times Roll is the worst album The Offspring have ever made.

FORMAT//EDITIONS:
DIGITAL//VINYL//CD

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE:
https://www.offspring.com/



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user ratings (87)
2.2
poor


Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
April 16th 2021


5426 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Excellent review!



They should not work with Bob Rock anymore. The albums with him are missing some of the rawer production their previous material had. Also, nice to see some thumbs up for Days Go By. That is a solid record overall with some really catchy songs.



I really dislike the fact they used the piano version of Gone Away and title track reprise as main tracks on a 30-minute record. Otherwise, half of the album is decent for me, serving as nostalgia mainly. Need to catch them live asap!

Digging: Wheel (FIN) - Resident Human

cor22222
April 16th 2021


362 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Coming For You is 6 year song, oh my gosh. Totally agree with the review, but I dislike album even more

Digging: Moanaa - Embers

cor22222
April 16th 2021


362 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

But what with Gone Away piano cover? Who done this better? 5FDP or The Offspring? xD

onionbubs
April 16th 2021


13076 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

these guys were among the first 10 bands i ever seriously got into but still not sure if im ever gonna check this lmao

Digging: Volumes - Via

rodrigo90
April 16th 2021


6769 Comments


Same. Up to Americana (if you want to) were probably one of the most groundbreaking bands in the punk genre. Now they're a sad parody of their former selves.

zakalwe
April 16th 2021


33746 Comments


Good God

onionbubs
April 16th 2021


13076 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

just checked the opener and im probably gonna stop there. cant deal w a whole record of songs as boring and lazy as the shit ive heard from this



tbh even the old stuff has held up pretty badly for me. a lot of recognizable instrumental talent and hookiness on those albums but his voice is too much for me now

Crawl
April 16th 2021


2802 Comments


Checked this out of curiosity and I guess some sort of loyalty to the band, but for god's sake this is embarrassing. From the production, to the lyrics... this might as well be The Father of All of the 2021.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2021


45087 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

jesus christ gonz you weren't lying about the production. sounds like they recorded Dexter on a broken handheld recorder through five layers of gauze and the drums sound like they're made of bread

Digging: Brockhampton - Roadrunner: New Light, New Machine

Parallels
April 17th 2021


9048 Comments


there it is

exactly how i would imagine bad religion to sound like if dexter replaced greg. an absolute atrocity.

and yeah agreed, lol rowan. it's like they recorded it in a bathroom with the shower left on in the backgroud

Digging: Fates Warning - Theories of Flight

GhandhiLion
April 17th 2021


11727 Comments


one of the most groundbreaking bands in the punk genre [2]

Digging: Impossible Nothing - Lexemenomicon

Disorderly
April 17th 2021


97 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this was so lame. "In the Hall of the Mountain King" was an actual WTF moment. Dexter sounded terrible on most of this, but yeah the opener was especially awful, and he sounded pretty bad on Gone Away too.

Disorderly
April 17th 2021


97 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

oh, and does anyone else think this album art is horribly cheap looking?

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2021


45087 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

this is complete dogshit, kind of amazed anyone signed off on releasing it lol. Opoid Diaries and Hassan Chop are the only thing keeping it above at 1

FabiusPictor202
April 17th 2021


857 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

mmm dogshit

slikphuk
April 17th 2021


536 Comments


lmfao that summary not even gonna try this one

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2021


16893 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

@ins



thanks man, i'm glad you found some pretty redeeming things from this. you def have to see them live, if nothing else they're still good in that regard.



@row



honestly, i first fired this up while i was working out and had it playing through my phone, so i thought that maybe it was just down to being played through shitty speakers, but nope. this is easily the worst production i've heard in a long while. as per, no surprise, bob rock is responsible lol

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2021


16893 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i would actually give this a 1.7 or 1.8, i think, for better accuracy, but for some reason its either a 2 or a 1.5 haha



i'd also like to point out i jammed rise and fall right after this and that sounds like a masterpiece next to this

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2021


24299 Comments


Well that's a self aware album title if I ever saw one.

Brutal summary Doc. Savagery. Lovely.

Digging: Arabrot - Norwegian Gothic

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2021


45087 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Rise and Fall always bopped tbh. I mean it has some chaff but Half-Truism, Gonna Go Far Kid and Stuff is Messed Up are undeniable



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