Album Review: Let The Bad Times Roll by The Offspring

The Offspring are a rock band from California. While originally forming in 1984 and under the name Manic Subsidal, they didn’t hit mainstream popularity until the 90s and hit their peak around the early 2000s. They released their previous album back in 2012 titled Days Go By. They return nearly nine years later with Let The Bad Times Roll.

The first track from the album is This Is Not Utopia. While the instrumentals have not changed that much, the vocals do sound a bit different than what we are used to. We still have the same vocalist but you can definitely tell he is aging since his voice sounds a bit more strained and rougher. Even though this track was written and finished before the protests/riots back in June, this track definitely has a lot of similarities of what was going on at the time.

Next, we have the title track of the album, Let The Bad Times Roll. Again, we have some familiar instrumentals and licks with the trading off of the ‘off-notes’ from guitars. Not really sure what to think about this track since it mixes some of their older instrumentals, with new things that just seem a bit off from their sound. They also used a studio fade which.. hasn’t been used in who knows when, so if that shows you their age at all.

Behind Your Walls slows it down with just a single guitar playing a slowed down melody. After the guitar cuts out, we just get some regular strumming going, but it eventually opens it back up again to the normal instrumentation. This track changes up the themes or topics from the album and decides to talk about some darker things that come up. Dexter talks about how he lost some band members over the years and wishes he could talk to them and see what was going through their mind.

Army Of One switches back to the fun and playful tracks from The Offspring. The track opens up with a wall of guitars playing descending notes. Again, the vocals are showing their age, but the music and instrumentation is sounding similar to what they made in the 90s and early 2000s. It’s definitely an uplifting and positive track. Especially since Dexter talks about how this is a superhero song, even when everything and everyone is against you.

Breaking These Bones continues to build up with several guitars and other string instruments from the very beginning. The strings do eventually cut out a bit when the vocals come in, but they return when the chorus comes around again. Nothing too special going on with the vocal delivery. Other than that, the lyrics mostly talk about just wanting to be alone and shut the entire world away, and there isn’t really any hidden meaning behind it.

Coming For You slows it down a bit, but has a ‘jumpy’ or ‘galloping’ feeling since you have the bouncing and running bass line at the beginning. I’m a bit surprised that they are using the “Hey” or other background vocals since those have mostly died down in the early 2010s. It’s also pretty gimmicky so it’s definitely a turn off when listening to this track. This may have done well ten years ago, but won’t fly by today. The guitar breaks towards the end are a nice addition, I do have to give them that.

We Never Have Sex Anymore is definitely their odd one out from the album, and it’s all over the place. I have no idea where to even start with this one. Maybe I would call it a modern day Zoot Suit Riot by the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies. It does have your normal guitars, but then you add on a piano, a lot of horn sections, and even a clarinet. Is it bad that I actually kind of like this track? As weird as it is, it works for them.

In The Hall Of The Mountain King is just a quick one minute instrumental. That’s it. Nothing special other than it’s a cover of In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg. It also increases in speed and intensity as the track progresses.

The Opioid Diaries opens up with some quick guitar riffs that seem to carry out for the good amount of the track. Again, there isn’t really anything new presented on this track and it seems like the same old recipe that has been presented on this album. Judged by the title of the track, you may figure out that this track is about addiction. Dexter talks about how people that are addicted to opioids are usually the people you wouldn’t expect, and why it’s a problem in the United States.

Hassan Chop is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the other things presented on here and I really enjoyed this track. It opens up with the words ‘Hassan Chop’ then opens with some quick guitar and bass riffs. Also, it seems like they reworked a similar riff off of one of their older tracks titled Call It Religion. Other than that, I’m really excited by the change in vocal delivery as well as the raw instrumental energy.

Gone Away slows down the tone of the album for sure. It’s also a slow piano filled track with plenty of emotion. This is just a reworked track from their 1997 album, Ixnay On The Hombre. It also sounds like there are some similarities between this track and Mad World by Gary Jules. Other than that, this has been a pretty popular track for them at concerts and has to do with the death of Dexter’s old girlfriend in a car crash.

The final track on the album is Lullaby which is just over a minute in length, and just a few lyrics to end the album. Instrumentally, there isn’t much, just a guitar repeating arpeggios over and over until the end of the track. It seems like a pretty anti-climactic way to end the album since there isn’t really much to this. I was hoping there would be more to it, but with a track name like Lullaby, I guess you won’t be getting much.

I’m surprised that The Offspring are still making music, but if it makes them happy, then so be it. I could have gone on without hearing this project if we’re being honest.

Overall Rating: 5/10

Favorite Tracks: Behind Your Walls, We Never Have Sex Anymore, Hassan Chop

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