It’s easy to be cynical when hearing the news that The Offspring had sold the rights to a large portion of their discography for a whopping $35 million (£24 million), to New York-based music rights company, Round Hill. It’s been well documented that lead singer Dexter Holland is in a bit of a sticky spot with money. He was sued for failing to make payments on his private plane and reported to owe nearly half a million to the plane’s manufacturer, Cessena, so it’s fair to assume that this new deal will have sorted him right out.
It’s nothing to sniff at however, The Offspring have established themselves as pioneers of modern punk rock with a respectable discography. The band got their big break in 1994 with their third record ‘Smash’, and released some absolute belters throughout the years. We’ve picked out their best 10 songs so dig out your Vans, spike up your hair and enjoy a pop-punk trip down memory lane.
10. ‘All I Want’
The track appeared on 1997 album ‘Ixnay On The Hombre’ and is The Offspring at their most urgent. It clocks in seven seconds shy of the two minute-mark, but the lyrics succinctly make their point in spite of the brief running time, “Leave me alone/I’m not asking a lot/I just don’t want to be controlled/That’s all I want”.
9. ‘Gotta Get Away’
‘Gotta Get Away’ was inspired by the pressure to finish their breakthrough album ‘Smash’ Dexter Holland revealed in 2005. The thundering opening bassline from Greg K serves as one of band’s best riffs of all time.
8. ‘Days Go By’
This offering from the 2012 album of the same name is definitely The Offspring’s most accessible track to date. The band smartly shift away from their angsty pop punk reputation and instead provide a soaring guitar riff that is more sits more comfortably on a Foo Fighters record.
7. ‘You’re Gonna Go Far Kid’
‘You’re Gonna Go Far Kid’ is an undeniable stand-out moment in their somewhat sketchy releases in the second half of their career. There’s a definite attempt to reach for the charts with this radio-friendly single, but they retain their trademark velocity and crunching guitar riffs in a throwback to their older material.
6. ‘Gone Away’
‘Gone Away’ showcases Holland’s somber side in this ode to his partner, who passed in a car accident. The power chords merge effortlessly with sober subject matter proved that The Offspring could blend their energetic punk musical style with bleak lyrics, “Heaven’s so far away and it stings/Yeah it stings now/The world is so cold/Now that you’ve gone away”.
5. ‘Come Out And Play’
Another from 1994’s ‘Smash’, ‘Come Out And Play’ is as the title suggests – extremely playful. The opening line “You gotta keep them separated” serves as a welcoming stepping stone into a bouncy musical jaunt infused with a twisting guitar riff, creating a most exotic atmosphere.
4. ‘Want You Bad’
A staple of punk rock playlists everywhere, ‘Want You Bad’ has aged remarkably well since its release in 2000. The explosive riff is certainly a product of its time, but the chorus remains as cheeky and catchy as it was upon release.
3. ‘Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)’
This one is easily their most sarcastic track in a catalogue already full of cynicism. Holland mocks middle-American white boys who “act like they’re from Compton” and the track was a sure-fire hit due to it’s teasing nature and popular music video, and subsequently topped the charts worldwide – including here in the UK.
2. ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’
Another single taken from Americana (2000) but it couldn’t sound more different than the poppy ‘Pretty Fly’. It perfectly showcases the skill the group has for making enticing punk rock packed with social commentary, “Now the neighbourhood’s cracked and torn/The kids are grown up but their lives are worn/How can one little street/Swallow so many lives”.
Another hit taken from their finest hour ‘Smash’, ‘Self-Esteem’ serves as further proof that Holland is dramatically underrated as a songwriter. The lyrics ‘Well, I guess I should stick up for myself/But I really think it’s better this way/The more you suffer/The more it shows you really care”, highlight the perils of being unable to let go of his emotionally abusive partner. It’s surprisingly deep in it’s subject matter, and coupled with the famous stuttering bassline, we’re served with The Offspring’s most intriguing and infectious song yet.
O2 Priority Tickets for The Offspring are available from 9am Wednesday 17th February. O2 Priority customers get tickets 48 hours before general release. Search ‘O2 Priority’ for tickets