February 19, 2004

Test Spin: The Offspring

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An Offspring fan nearly all my life, I was anxiously awaiting the group’s follow-up to 2000’s Conspiracy of One. Their recent hit, “Hit That,” was that infectious first single I had come to expect from the group since “Pretty Fly” hit radio waves in 1998. A catchy song with clear electronic influences, “Hit That” greatly enhanced my expectations for the full release, and ends up being one of the album’s finest.

Unfortunately, the rest of Splinter sounds nothing like “Hit That” and falls far short of expectations. Still, this is an album that greatly improves with each serving. There’s nothing here that’s much different than the band’s last three releases, but is that such a bad thing? We are treated to some typical Offspring three-chord anthems, some mild experimental songs, and a premature end, with the album clocking in at about half an hour.

There are some pointless, throwaway tracks, such as the mindless “Neocon” or the annoying “Da Hui,” but gems like “Spare Me the Details” or “Can’t Get My Head Around You” will make the album worth your while. Make sure to stick around for the album’s closer, “When You’re In Prison.”

It won’t be winning any awards any time soon, but The Offspring have always seemed to be working-class rock and rollers. They’re just here to have fun, and on Splinter, they do just that. Hardcore fans might appreciate the effort, but newer fans should take a look back to their early 90s stuff.

Archived article by Dan Mulhall