Album Review: The Offspring - 'Days Go By'

1 July 2012 | 3:01 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

The Offspring provide no surprises on this record, but it's still worth a listen.

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The Offspring were one of the first bands that really meant something to me (along with Aqua), but I haven’t been especially captivated by anything they’ve released in the last decade. I feared their latest record, Days Go By, would similarly fail to impress after hearing ‘Cruising California (Bumpin’ in My Trunk)’, with its contrived nod to the Ramones and auto tuned chorus, a la T-Pain. Coming across as a desperate attempt to recreate the gimmicky success of 1998’s ‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’, ‘Cruising California’ is by far the worst song The Offspring has ever released. I’m tempted to condemn it as the worst song of all time, but fortunately for them, Pitbull is still making music. Thankfully, Days Go By is not as god-awful as ‘Cruising California’ would have you believe.

The Future is Now’ works successfully as an opener, incorporating the familiar guitar riffs of previous Offspring records. By the same token, ‘Secrets From the Underground’ maintains that atmosphere, with the customary “whoa”s punctuating its chorus. ‘Turning Into You’ is musically a worthy effort; however, the lyrics teeter on the edge of juvenile for a band containing members well into their 40s, with singer Dexter Holland shouting, “I try to be me, but I’m turning into you”.

Decidedly boppy and upbeat, ‘I Wanna Secret Family (With You)’ is akin to pop punk inspired track ‘Want You Bad’, from 2000’s Conspiracy of One. ‘All I Have Left is You’ is laidback and pleasant, combining basic guitar work with a catchy chorus, but – for better or worse – is practically unrecognisable as an Offspring song. A real album low, ‘OC Guns’ is mind-bogglingly, Pitbull-style bad.

A re-recording of ‘Dirty Magic’ from 1992’s Ignition features on Days Go By. Despite being redundant and somewhat over-produced, the song is a high point, serving as a positive reminder of The Offspring’s talent. ‘Hurting As One’ and ‘Dividing By Zero’, both added album highlights, are a pleasing throwback to 1997’s Ixnay on the Hombre in their cadence and overall sound. Furthermore, the guitar solo in ‘Dividing By Zero’ is reminiscent of ‘Me & My Old Lady’. ‘Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell’, is blunt and fast-paced, a befitting way to end Days Go By.

For a band with such significance, partially credited for revitalising mainstream interest in punk rock during the 90s, it’s remarkable to hear the apparent influence of newer artists on Days Go By. The album’s title track has a distinct Foo Fighters ambiance, and ‘The Future is Now’ could be mistaken for Rise Against’s ‘Savior’.

The Offspring do it best when they’re playing hard-hitting, dynamic jams, and there aren’t an abundance of these on Days Go By. Having said that, The Offspring intrinsically remain a decent band, and 46-year-old Dexter Holland still slays it vocally. The makeup of Days Go By is no different to that of any Offspring record from the last fifteen years, comprising of exhilarating, mediocre and truly terrible songs, in equal parts. While this album hasn’t affected me with the same magnitude as Smash, Ignition or Ixnay, I’ve developed a growing attachment to it with each listen.