Monday, July 2

Can I Get a CD Review? The Offspring - Days Go By

It's been four years since The Offspring's last record, 2008's Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace. So you could certainly say some days have gone by before they started working on their 9th full-length disc, the aptly titled Days Gone By. I wasn't sure what to think about this record after the first two singles: "Days Go By" could easily be a b-side from a Foo Fighters album, and while I find "Cruising California (Bumpin' In My Trunk)" infectiously catchy, it wasn't obvious that the whole CD could be held up by that kind of music. It's clearly a joke song, so how many would there be on the record?

It turns out, not many. The Offspring for the most part take a serious tone with this album, and it's great. There are a few slow moments, but otherwise this is a very solid rock album. Let's track-by-track it:

1) "The Future Is Now" - This one has been compared quite a bit to Rise Against. I can definitely see the similarities to "Savior," specifically, but that doesn't make it a bad song. It's got the requisite energy to kick off the record, and even has a nifty piano breakdown near the end. 4/5

2) "Secrets From the Underground" - Another mid-tempo rocker, SFTU (which, now that I abbreviate it, looks dangerously close to abridged profanity) could certainly fit right in on Smash or Ixnay on the Hombre. That chorus is pretty catchy. 4/5

3) "Days Go By" - This was the lead single for the album, and like I said, it seems like it could fit right in on a Foo Fighters album. While that's not necessarily a terrible thing, this is possibly the most generic song on the whole disc. Which of course makes it perfect to ride the airwaves. 3/5

4) "Turning Into You" - Another Rise Against "ripoff" (at least according to some, this time it sounds like "Ready to Fall") marks the 4th track of the record. I actually really like the drum machine in the beginning and end, and "Ready to Fall" is a really good song, so if this rips it off, it picked a good one to borrow from. 4.5/5

5) "Hurting as One" - The chorus in particular is reminiscent of earlier Offspring, most notably "Something to Believe In" off of Smash. Again, this is not a bad thing by any means, and since there are only two really fast songs on this album, "Hurting as One" gets brownie points for being one of them. 4.5/5

6) "Cruising California (Bumpin' In My Trunk)" - Possibly the most polarizing song The Offspring have ever written. People really hate this song. There's no other way around it. I think it's really catchy, albeit stupid, but I mean...are we really surprised by this anymore? People are like "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" was at least clever; this is just so stupid." News flash: They're BOTH stupid, but they're both uniquely clever in their satirization of current pop music. I don't normally like a lot of music that's repeated on the radio, but because this is mad catchy (like irritatingly so), I'll give it a bit of a boost. 4.5/5

7) "All I Have Left Is You" - Simply looking at the track titles, if you had to pick one song to be a slow, romantic ballad, you'd pick this one, right? And you'd be absolutely correct. At 5:18, it's the longest song The Offspring have done, either (since I don't count "Pay the Man's" five-minute intro as part of that song, or any track with a hidden "song" or message at the end - a la Smash and Ixnay because the reason they're so long is mostly silence). But it's growing on me a little; it's not that repetitive, which is surprising for a song of its length. Much better than "Fix You" from the last album, if nothing else. 3.5/5

8) "OC Guns" - I don't know why this song isn't getting more flak. It's just...not good. Bassist Greg K. apparently said in an interview that this was on his favorite songs of the record. I really think it's just because it's the only song you can really hear the bass on. I think it's supposed to be about gang violence, but rest assured, this is not "Come Out and Play Part II." From the crappy Spanish rapping to the "tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki, what up holmes," it's just a poor effort all around. 1.5/5

9) "Dirty Magic" - I still think this is kind of cheating..."Dirty Magic" is a song from 1992's Ignition, and any time a song gets re-recorded for an album, there's always the risk of doing it wrong. I really like this update, as the original is one of my favorites by the band. But there's still a part of me that wonders if another new song could have been included as well. 4.5/5

10) "I Wanna Secret Family (With You)" - These last three songs are my favorite on the album. This is definitely a poppy summer jam, and would have satisfied fans a lot more than "Cruising California" did, mainly because this isn't entirely a joke song. It's still extremely poppy, in a similar vein to "Want You Bad," but I also hear things like The Wonders in it. Just really, REALLY catchy. And it's awesome. 5/5

11) "Dividing By Zero" - After the extreme pop of the previous track, The Offspring write probably their "punkiest" song in years. This seems to be an early consensus for favorite off the album from a lot of reviewers, and I don't think I'm an exception. It's fast, it's furious, and it's supremely melodic and will get stuck in your head. It borrows some elements from their self-titled album and Ignition (mostly with a middle-Eastern guitar sound in parts), but mostly it just rocks, and is actually the beginning of a two-part medley with the next track. 5/5

12) "Slim Pickens Does The Right Thing And Rides the Bomb to Hell" - Despite its Fall Out Boy-esque title, this song is fantastic. It's got a little Bad Religion feel to it, and these may be some of the best lyrics Dexter Holland has ever penned. It's an excellent way to close the album, and is probably my favorite final track on any Offspring record. 5/5

All in all, there are a few hiccups along the way, but the final third of the album is among the band's finest work. Die-hard Offspring fans will eat this one right up. And newbies may find enough in the beginning to latch onto. Definitely worth checking out.

Final Score: 4/5

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