Album Review: The Offspring – Let the Bad Times Roll (Concord Records)

By: Jesse Striewski

Though I was excited to hear The Offspring were finally releasing their tenth studio album (and first since 2012), I was extremely disappointed by the recent shitty treatment of original bassist Greg K, who was ostracized by the rest of the band in 2019 for no better reason than just flat out greed. But when I heard the album’s infectious first single/title track, I knew they had yet again roped me in (but I’m still mad at them).

Aside from said hooky title track, there’s a number of other tunes that surprisingly hit the spot the way many of the band’s earlier tracks did, even if I don’t always see completely eye-to-eye with the lyrics/message. Perfect example; “This is Not Utopia.” It’s a hard-hitting, adrenaline-fueled punk anthem that nearly any old school fan would be able to appreciate. But lyric-wise, it’s another unfortunate example of the type of Anti-American sentiment you’re expected to have if you listen to this type of music (and sorry for having a differing opinion, but I am indeed one of those who feels you don’t have to ‘cancel’ everyone and everything you don’t fully agree with, and conform to what everyone else wants you to think these days).

But aside from all that, most of the twelve tracks found here do work in some way or another, with “Breaking These Bones,” “and “Army of One” being a couple of more standouts, with the latter being exceptionally well-written. There’s even a quasi-Beatles moment or two in the form of “Lullaby,” and a re-worked piano driven version of their hit “Gone Away.”

This will no doubt appeal to just about anyone who’s ever done time at a Warped Tour (sans those who still like to cry “sell-outs,” of course), and maybe even gain them a new fan or two. But you know what? No disrespect to the new guy, but c’mon, Offspring, where would your sound be today if not for Greg’s bass lines on such tracks as “Self Esteem,” “The Meaning of Life,” or (one of my personal favorites) “Kick Him When He’s Down?!” Along with frontman Dexter Holland, Greg was the second longest-tenured member of the band, and only other original member left (though guitarist Noodles was there fairly early on, too). Either way, not cool guys, not cool at all.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

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