"Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace" (Columbia; 2008)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Not that I want to one up the boss, but I'm going to go ahead and give The Offspring the full four guitarsaw rating for "Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace." I remember when "Smash" came out in 1994; I couldn't stop playing it because it was so frickin' good! Nobody has a voice like Dexter Holland and his delivery of punk rock set the stage a little higher than before. Countless riffs later the boys from Huntington Beach, California are still rocking.

This disc is stellar from start to finish. Half way through a slower song can be heard but the vocals and guitar are so well done that you know it was placed to let you take a breather. I first gravitated towards The Offspring because of the guitar and it's still here and just as punk like it should be.

I wrote this review while listening to the disc and I, too, let it play all the way through and then some so I could mention the best cuts -- that will be difficult because they are all great. The lyrics aren't stupid little ditties about this or that, there are some deep thoughts from The Offspring. The lyrics show their wisdom but with a ripeness that deserves a head nod. The CD comes with a booklet and all the words are printed. It also has some pretty cool artwork.

No disc from The Offspring would be complete without Dexter singing his trademark "La, La, La, La, La" as backup. It can be heard best on the track "Stuff Is Messed Up." This disc is one that will be stuck in the CD player for a long time.

The Offspring: Dexter Holland - vocals, guitar; Greg K - bass, vocals; Noodles - guitar, vocals. Josh Freese on drums as well.

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"Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace" (Columbia; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I don't know if it's just because it's been over four years since The Offspring released their last studio album and I've just missed having them around or or if it's because "Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace" is such an amazing CD, but I love this damn record.

From the opening riffs of the first track, "Half-Truism," throughout its remaining eleven tracks, "Rise and Fall" is a white-knuckle ride with one of rock's most original acts. I mean, you hear an Offspring song and you know it's an Offspring song and that's what this CD is: a collection of twelve tracks that you know are Offspring songs.

There's the jaunty "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid," the driving "Hammerhead," the admittedly Coldplay-like but completely successful "A Lot Like Me," and the stunningly heartfelt "Kristy, Are You Okay?" and "Fix You." And those are just a few of the tracks here that either run along with the energy of a kid half the age of these guys (who have been doing this for almost two decades) or that make you sit up and take notice at the maturity and insightfulness of their lyrics. 

Some of the credit has got to go with producer Bob Rock, working with the band here for the first time, but, honestly, this is the Offspring album fans have always known this band was capable of recording, an album that maintains the band's evergreen freshness while allowing them to grow, not only as musicians but as humans.

When I started this review, I'd listened to "Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace" twice through and was in the midst of my third listen. Don't be surprised that, if upon subsequent listenings (and I can tell you there will be many) that I come back here and up that three-and-a-half guitarsaw rating to a full four. This, the eighth studio album by The Offspring," is one of their best.

The Offspring: Dexter Holland - vocals, guitar; Greg K - bass, vocals; Noodles - guitar, vocals. Also performing on the CD is Josh Freese on drums.

"Greatest Hits" (Columbia; 2005)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The Offspring have a lot of what could be called "greatest hits" and they deserve to, being one of the most inventive and consistent pop punk bands out there. So a collection of the band's greatest hits seems like a natural idea.

So how, you may wonder, can I rate a greatest hits package with a lower rating than one of the band's regular studio releases? Surely, all the best songs are here?

Well, in a word ... no.

The songs on this "Greatest Hits" collection are all instantly recognizable Offspring tunes. Everything from the funkier stuff like "Come Out and Play (Keep 'Em Separated)" and "Original Prankster" to the more straight forward pop punk stuff such as the new "Can't Repeat" and classics like "Kids Aren't Alright" and "Can't Get My Head (Around You)." The problem is ... as with almost all greatest hits packages ... The Offspring's "Greatest Hits" probably isn't the same "Greatest Hits" you would have chosen for the band. With six albums under their belt, bulging with terrific songs, everyone's greatest hits collection would be different.

Mine, for example, would have contained the band's more recent "Da Hui," a song whose simple silliness I find irresistible. This collection does not.

That being said, if you're just a passing Offspring fan or you're unfamiliar with the band, this is the right place to start. Big fans of the band will probably want to go with the DualDisc format version of this CD which includes a DVD side containing videos of the songs hereon.

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"Conspiracy of One" (Columbia; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

One of the reasons that punk rock has managed to survive for so long is because the genre allows room to grow. Unlike heavy metal fans, punk rock fans seem to allow certain genre-busting sounds and songwriting styles that still allow music to be labeled as "punk" but for it not to sound like any other "punk" before it.

It can be argued that the greatest punk rock band ever was the Ramones. Their influence spawned countless punk rock imitators, as well as flavored music created by many others in completely separate genres.

There are clear Ramones-influences to the Offspring, but that's not all you hear when you listen to "Conspiracy of One." Sure, you get the sheets of speedy, punky guitar, but you also get a completely different vocal style, a more commercial style of songwriting and sound that still qualifies as punk but explores the boundaries.

Just listen to the big hit from this CD, "Original Prankster." The song see-saws along with its irresistible chorus, hooks you into its pace and offers enough crunchy guitar to give it a rough edge. And the emotion in songs like "Million Miles Away" and "Denial, Revisited" adds another level.

Yeah, I know. The Offspring sell a lot of records, they've "turned their back" on their original fan base and they've "sold out." But I'm not about to dismiss a creative band like The Offspring just because they continue to enjoy commercial success. It's the music that matters, and The Offspring continue to deliver.

The Offspring: Dexter Holland - vocals, guitar; Grek K - bass, vocals; Noodles - guitar, vocals; Ron Welty - drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2010 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 14:16:13 -0400.