Ten Best Offspring Songs
by: David McGhee
Please forgive me for suggesting that a cover song could be up there with the better original tracks they have. But to me this song represents all the things the Offspring rarely ever do and are so very good at. I'm talking about being heavy. Some of their songs can run head to head with many heavy metal bands. This song is like falling down and breaking your jaw in just the right way to give you a heroic cleft. It has very heavy guitars and Dexter seems to have a little bit of menace in his voice. Normally he just shouts and there is very little emotion in what he does, but in this one he sounds like he's pissed off at the microphone.
This has to be the best track they've ever produced. Period. So many things are right with this song. The guitars cut through like surgical instruments and the lyrics are very inventive. It was actually Noodles (co lead guitarist) who wrote the lyrics. Prompting me to think of a scenario in which Dexter is singing about boxes (or whatever the hell he sings about) and Noodles tells him what a dumb shit he is and then proceeds to write down lyrics on a sticky note at an alarming rate. Did I mention that they were both drunk and itching to break things? Because that would make them total badasses!
3: Dirty Magic
This song actually appears on two Offspring albums. Ignition and Days Go By. The Ignition version is of course rawer and more emotional. I'm sure at the time of its release it would have been considered a Nirvana rip off. Well.. Yeah. But this song was written by a man who basically made new lyrics to Ob La Di Ob La Da so let's not split hairs here. It's a catchy song and the new version has been amped up with some “whoas” and a little more reverb and chorus pedal. The overall effect is effective I'd say, affecting me in effective ways only effective songwriting can do.
Come As You Are! That's the song!
4: The Kids Aren't Alright
This is as straight forward as the Offspring get, proving that the T power chord formation on the guitar brings nothing but good things. What makes this song so unique though is that its roots are based in more on emotion and less on observation. The little riff thingy mabobber before the verses is just simplistic genius. This is such a simple song that it no doubt had garage bands all across the country face palming over exactly what it takes to make a top forty hit.
5: What Happened To You?
Ska! Never mind this song is a plea for their friend, Sublime Singer Bradly Nowell, to stop chasing that ever out of reach dragon. I know its lyrics, when read alone, invoke the very spirit of concern and deep contemplation. But still... SKA!!!
6: Fix You
It's really up to whether or not you like Snow Patrol or the Offspring better here. Snow Patrol did the melody with Chasing Cars but the Offspring add surrealistic quality to the music. It starts off with a soft guitar and is immediately follow by a piano. Before you know it the song explodes into an odd display of emotion for the band. They tried to follow this vibe with Days Go By's All I Have Left Is You but with more annoying sounds than good ones.
7: Half Truism
“If we don't make it alive / well it's a hell of a good day to die / all our lives that shine strong / only lasts so long.” What can't you love about those lyrics? And again Dexter stole from the best source material around in my opinion. None other than My Chemical Romance's Helina. Now that I think about it. It IS Helina! Fuck man! How do you guys not get sued and just how lax is copyright law!?
8: Have You Ever?
The strong crunchy beginning segues into a hardcore punk riff and shouting vocal. The beauty of this song is its use of an outro. The bassline chugs along until the band just rips the fuck out and charges full ahead with Dexter shouting “When the truth walks away, everybody stays, because the truth about the world is that crime does pay!” I wonder if that applies to intellectual property law?
This barn burner comes from their first album. Aside from Beheaded, I'll Be Waiting, and Jennifer Lost the War, it's really the only other song you can sing along to. Probably the strongest track on the album. So much so that they re-recorded it pretty much the same only with the lyric “Baghdad” instead of “Tehran.” Never has an Offspring song been so blatantly politically motivated. If only they could of blended this song and beheaded and Kill the President and they could have “Kill the President by Beheading Him in Tehran.”
The chorus is catchy and the musicianship makes one wonder why they aren't ripping it out all the time? Maybe the TSOL connection was too strong at this point and Thom Wilson (producer of the first three albums) streamlined their songwriting?
10: Kick Him When He's Down
I like this song because it is very catchy and I can totally imagine Dexter being a meany poo poo head and kicking someone when they're down. They'd most likely be smaller than he is... And religious... Wow. Dexter is a dick!