Before the pandemic, the world was teased with the reunions of such bands as Genesis, New Order, Mötley Crüe, Rage Against The Machine, and perhaps most importantly, My Chemical Romance. Although never officially disbanded, this year also marks the end of the 9 year album hiatus of The Offspring. Having now achieved his PHD in molecular biology, Dr Dexter Holland is back in the studio with Noodles, Pete Parada and Todd Morse to finally deliver The Offspring’s 10th Studio album, ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’.
Starting off with a bang is the Blink-182 sounding ‘This is Not Utopia’. As bouncy as it is catchy, this song demonstrates the upbeat punk rock The Offspring is known for, whilst also displaying their more refined punk rock sound, which also seems to include Dexter Holland’s vocals sounding surprisingly similar to Mark Hoppus of Blink-182. The Offspring have aged, however, ‘This is Not Utopia’ proves that age hasn’t slowed them down one bit.
Following swiftly on is the equally as bouncy clap along title track ‘Let The Bad Times Roll.’ Similar to Blink-182 with their comeback records ‘California’ and ‘Nine’, ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ finds The Offspring modernizing their punk rock sound without leaving the genre behind. The result is a catchy modern punk anthem that many will clap along to at their post pandemic UK arena tour.
Next up is dad rock song ‘Behind Your Walls.’ Although this song is not as strong as the two which preceded it, the songs undeniably satisfying chorus, especially its melody, will certainly please The Offspring’s fans who have aged along with them. Rather fittingly, the album keeps the classic rock and roll energy going with the fast tempoed rock and roll anthems ‘Army of One’ and ‘Breaking These Bones.’ With catchy choruses and an incredibly familiar upbeat folky sound synonymous with The Offspring, both ‘Army of One’ and ‘Breaking These Bones’ are fan favourites in the making, especially for those who have been with the band since the 80’s and/or 90’s.
Released back in 2016, the albums lead single ‘Coming For You’ is next and boy did The Offspring make the right decision here. This song does everything it can to get its listeners on their feet dancing, whether it’s through the songs clap along beat, chanting crowd or it’s undeniably dancey chorus. ‘Coming For You’ is a celebration of a song that will get even the most reserved of listeners clapping along.
Switching things up with its opening trumpets is the third single off the album ‘We Never Have Sex Anymore.’ The Offspring take a much jazzier ska route with this track in what is certainly a reflection of the bands age, however, like most of the songs preceding this, ‘We Never Have Sex Anymore’ also displays The Offspring’s roots as a fun punk rock band that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Although it wouldn’t be my first or even second choice to become a single off this album, nonetheless there is something undeniably fun about ‘We Never Have Sex Anymore.’ That makes it work for fans of both punk rock and jazzy rock and roll.
Now, I don’t understand the concept of an Interlude, however, I must say that I have a lot of time for The Offspring’s punk rock rendition of the iconic ‘In The Hall Of The Mountain King.’ Like much of the album thus far, this punk rendition feels very familiar, but more importantly, that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable to listen to.
As the album draws close to its end, The Offspring seemingly return to their punk rock roots with the fast paced ‘The Opioid Diaries’, but more so with the chaotic ‘Hassan Chop.’ Brimming with energy, The Offspring prove well and truly with these tracks that they still got it. As they age and explore with ska, jazz and rock and roll, ‘The Opioid Diaries’ and ‘Hassan Chop’ are stark reminders that The Offspring are still the same fun and upbeat punk band, if only a little bit more grown up, emphasis on the ‘little bit.’
For an album full of upbeat energy, ‘Let The Bad Times Rol’l takes a unconventionally emotional turn with its penultimate song ‘Gone Away Requiem.’ A reimagined ballad version of their hit song ‘Gone Away’, ‘Gone Away Requiem’ captures all of the emotion the original punk rock version lacked, through its stripped back piano and string section, as well as, Dexter Holland’s unexpectedly emotional vocal display. Although many won’t see the need for a new version of ‘Gone Away’, I personally feel that The Offspring have finally unlocked the full potential that the song’s lyrics contained. For this reason, it’s a shame to me that the album doesn’t stop here and instead ends on ‘Lullaby’, a trippy but ultimately pointless interlude of sorts.
Overall, ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ is very much like The Offspring themselves; it has its fair share of ups and downs, but it’s energetic, upbeat and most importantly, fun. Showcasing their age through ventures into ska, Jazz and rock and roll throughout, ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ finds The Offspring at their most mature, however, this maturity at no point comes at a cost of who The Offspring once were. Being the band’s 10th album and first in over 9 years, The Offspring have aged like a fine wine as ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ is, in my opinion, a satisfying comeback album. Good to have you back guys.
Let The Bad Times Roll is OUT NOW to buy and stream. The Offspring’s UK Tour kicks off THIS NOVEMBER with tickets available NOW