I have been blessed to have filmed with The Offspring from my Headbangers Ball days at MTV, to that legendary performance at Reading Festival. So I was bloody happy when the So-Cal Punk dudes announced that they were back with their tenth studio album ‘Let the Bad Times Roll’.
I got to have a sneaky listen this weekend and as a card carrying fan of Dexter, Noodles et al, I could not wait to download this new set of songs, turn it up loud and have a damn good listen.
The Offspring – Let The Bad Times Roll (Concord Records)
Release Date: 16 April 2021
Words: Sara Harding
‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ is the band’s first new offering since 2008. After releasing two standalone tracks in 2020 – the over-the-top cover of Joe Exotic’s [of Tiger King infamy] “Hey Kitty Kitty” and a rendition of Darlene Love’s classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – the band is finally ready to plant their Punk Rock flag in the sand once again.
With the help of mega producer Bob Rock, Dexter Holland describes the album as “the most cathartic thing we have done. The messages might be dark, but at the end what is left is that communication is important, working through feelings is important and most of all, hope is important.”
The album kicks off with ‘This is not Utopia’. An absolute classic slice of Offspring – that is what I love about this band, their songs are all different but you know exactly what you are getting. This is a blistering start with a message about America which had me up off my sofa and rocking out.
Up next is the Let the Bad Times Roll, the title song, and it is long awaited rock anthem. Classic Dexter Holland vocals with a stupendous back line. I simply love this song. ‘Beyond your Walls’ gives us a bit of a breather.
‘Army of One’ packs a punch with wicked harmonies and those ‘g’ strings that are so Offspring-y (if that is a word!). ‘Breaking these Bone’s’ is a fast paced totally Punk Rock song and so catchy I am still singing it now.
Next up ‘Coming for You’ kicks off with a bass line and lots of shouting of “hey’s”, so what’s not to like? Again another brilliantly written song by these surf loving dudes.
I love the name of the next track ‘We Never Have Sex Anymore’ – it is a cheeky, jazzy, poke at love. This is almost as fun as ‘Pretty Fly (For A White Guy), which is still my all time favourite singalong song and us gals love shaking our bodacious asses to.
‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’ is an unexpected cover version of Prokofiev’s ‘Peter and the Wolf’! It really is a classical anthem pimped up with no lyrics, just pure fun. ‘The Opioid Diaries’ is a fast paced message song and is followed by a right rip roaring Punk onslaught courtesy of ‘Hassan Chop’. Reminiscent of the no nonsense punk song ‘Da Hui’ by the band, it is my absolute favourite track on the album. The guitars solos are epic and it is a fast paced slap in the face.
‘Gone Away Requiem’ reveals how stunning Dexter Holland’s voice is. A lovely twinkly keyboard and a simple song done well. A stunning orchestral piece that builds to a crescendo then takes you back – a well crafted lurve tune and is certainly a bit of light relief from ‘Hassan Chop’, which was pretty intense.
‘Gone Away Requiem’ will definitely be the “get the lighters” out song at their upcoming arena tour. The album finishes with a much needed “lullaby” after all the adrenaline rush of the previous tracks.
After show party
A few years back, I was at an Offspring after-show party in London and I was chatting to the lovely Noodles (who, like Chris from Bowling for Soup, was a school janitor). We were at the bar and I turned to Noodles and said “Can I buy you a free drink?”
We both laughed, as the bar was actually free, but after hearing this album I would love to buy him a non free drink to say a rocking thank you for being back and better than ever.
The band say that, “After nearly two years of not playing for our fans, the idea of getting in front of the UK crowds is beyond exciting! We can not wait! See you soon!”
Like many other Offspring fans, I cannot wait to see their upcoming shows and hear these new songs live and loud. Polished Punk at its best and for me I can not wait to get my ticket and get ‘Offspringed’.
Let the bad times roll for now, in the hope that good times lie ahead. I am going in for another listen.