September 25, 2008

CD Review: The Offspring - Smash

I could never be called a fan of punk or pop-punk, or any other kind of punk. It is very likely that fact will remain true throughout my life. It is not that I don't like it, there are a few bands, such as the Ramones, that I do and will continue to like, but by and large it is a musical style that I tend to avoid. Of course, if someone should recommend an act to check out I will not purposely avoid it because its punk origins, but it will have to really stand out to have me latch on to it. All of that said, there was a year in the midst of my grunge phase that threatened to make punk a permanent part of my vocabulary. Obviously it did not take, but there are a couple of albums that will always stay with me. Smash is one of those albums.

The year was 1994, in addition to strong releases from bands like Megadeth, Testament, Machine Head, Pantera, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Bush, and Stone Temple Pilots, a couple of bands made a push to get punk back into peoples minds and hearts. Yes, that is quite a line up of releases for one year, but there is always a desire for something new and different. Two bands stepped up to deliver something different, one was Green Day, who burst onto the scene with Dookie; the other was The Offspring (of you read the CD spine, Offspring if you just look at the cover).

I remember listening to that first single, "Come Out and Play," and just loving it. I do not recall exactly when I first heard it, but it was terribly infectious and could be heard everywhere you went. It is a song that is full of energy, gets easily caught in your brain, and has the sweet Middle Eastern sounding signature lick.

After "Come Out and Play" had run its course "Self Esteem" proved they were not to be a one hit wonder, it is another song that is very easy to like. It has a great groove and spins a lyrical tale that is easy for angsty teens to identify with.

Like I said, punk is not my thing, but there are some that can break through and make an impact. Smash hit at just the right time with a sound that I really liked. Now, the album has been remastered and put on shelves.

I had not listened to anything from this album in a long time. As soon as I hit play it was like putting on a nicely worn and comfortable shirt. It felt like home. Everyone has a number of albums that when you listen to them, take you back to an earlier time in your life. Smash takes me to that time just post-high school, college was beginning and I was starting to have new experiences and find myself, and this reminds me of that time of my life.

Before I got any further, allow me to clarify that I do not think this is a great album, but it is a really good one. The tunes are catchy and it is easy to have a lot of fun with them. The music holds up very well today and the remaster sounds good.

While The Offspring will never rank among my favorite bands, I will always have a place for Smash.

Bottomline. 1994 was a landmark year for the pop-punk movement with The Offspring and Green Day opening doors for many bands to follow, for better or worse. To that end, Smash will always be something of a cornerstone. I know that a few tracks from this album will be making their way onto my iPod. If you don't have this, do yourself a favor and give it a spin.



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