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The Offspring - Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace Album Cover

The Offspring - Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace

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6.7
The Offspring - Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace
Record Label: Columbia
Release Date: June 17, 2008
There is a certain whiff of familiarity that exudes from Orange County punk rock veterans The Offspring and their most recent effort, Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace. The distinct and capricious vocal harmonies of front man Dexter Holland, the three-chord punch of lead guitarist Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman and the smooth, fast-driving bass lines from Greg Kriesel; like Pavlov's dog, their blend of SoCal skate punk and modern rock ring a certain bell within all of us as one of the most successful, seasoned bands who is oftentimes lost amongst the crowd. Best known for their novelty tracks such as "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)," "Hit That," and "Self-Esteem," it has been nearly five years since their last major release of all-new material.

As quiet as The Offspring have remained this past decade compared to their 90's contemporaries Foo Fighters and Green Day, the band has been working feverishly with producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Motley Crue, Simple Plan) for the past two years on Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace, a disc that thoroughly combines familiar melodies with anthems concerning the same course of lyrical imagery the band has tinkered with since their initial inception in the late 1980's.

Rock's meat-and-potatoes style of producing doesn't offer much more than a larger scope of sound for the band. Juggernaut lead single "Hammerhead" rips through its nearly five-minute length, yet still sounds too long. "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid" exhibits shades of Finger Eleven's "Paralyzer," incorporating dance-floor grooves to punk rock territory, while "Fix You" goes where no other Offspring song has truly gone before: the ballad zone. The song plays as nice-guy sequel to "She's Got Issues," from 1998's Americana, taking an even slower course-of-action that "Gone Away" (the only other song they have written that resembles an honest-to-God ballad) had. The lyrics tell of a girl from a broken home, with Holland achingly crying out, "I wish I could heal you / And I wish you could heal me," coming to grips with his own flaws while wishing he could fix her own. While it's not quite the style of music fans have associated them with, it works better than expected; Holland takes a cue from Dave Grohl and Billie Joe Armstrong by adjusting his dynamic vocals a few octaves to fit the piano-layered verses. Keeping in line with the Green Day references, Holland anxiously belts out what sounds like a leftover song from the American Idiot sessions with second-single "Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?" The song suffers from the same head-scratching rationale "Fix You" does as it doesn't necessarily fit the band who has pigeonholed themselves after eight studio releases.

While it is increasingly evident the band is slowly going the way of the buffalo (in this case, buffalo meaning the contemporaries previously mentioned), The Offspring refuse to let go of their past sound, etching many new songs from the foundations of older ones. "Nothingtown" is basically "Want You Bad" sung at mid-tempo and "Trust In You" starts out much like "Smash," the title track from the band's 1994 landmark success. Holland continues to have a knack for smart-ass tongue-in-cheek songs about "shit [being] fucked" ("Stuff Is Messed Up") and the band as a whole is obviously enjoying themselves (as is showcased on the Goldfinger-ish "Let's Hear It For Rock Bottom"), however, this group of talented individuals cannot decide which way to go: arena-sized punk rock, a la Green Day or stick-to-your-roots SoCal punk rock, a la Pennywise.

The album has nothing inherently wrong about it. Plain and simple, it's a predictable record that has nothing fresh to give its audience. After a five year period of no new material, it's nice to hear from an old friend but eventually, you realize that not a whole lot has truly changed and it's clear why you forget about them over time in the first place.

Recommended If You LikeNew-millennium Offspring, Alkaline Trio's Crimson, Pennywise's Reason To Believe, Sum 41's Underclass Hero.

Tracklisting1. Half-Truism
2. Trust In You
3. You're Gonna Go Far, Kid
4. Hammerhead
5. A Lot Like Me
6. Takes Me Nowhere
7. Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?
8. Nothingtown
9. Stuff Is Messed Up
10. Fix You
11. Let's Hear It For Rock Bottom
12. Rise And Fall
13. O.C. Life (Japanese Bonus Track)

Additional InformationDexter Holland: lead vocals/rhythm guitar
Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman: lead guitar
Greg Kriesel: bass
Josh Freese: drums (recorded); Pete Parada: drums (tour)

Producer: Bob Rock

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This review is a user submitted review from Chris Fallon. You can see all of Chris Fallon's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 70
08:01 PM on 06/10/08
#2
Nap
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I like it. Even though it's not that awesome, still better than almost everything I listened to this year. It's more mature, there's nothing too cheesy here, really better than CO1 and Splinter.
08:02 PM on 06/10/08
#3
allhollows86
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I hate when people try to knock a band for continuing to do what they do the best. Face it most punk bands aren't trying to invent the wheel, and become all experimental. I think most just play music that they enjoy and what their core audience enjoys. Plus nobody gives the ramones and bad religion shit and most of their albums sound the same
08:26 PM on 06/10/08
#4
RockVocalPower
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Just a terribly mediocre album all-around, from the artwork (I think my middle school band's CD cover looked like that) to the boring, predictable songs.

Good review, Chris!
08:26 PM on 06/10/08
#5
Chris Fallon
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I like it. Even though it's not that awesome, still better than almost everything I listened to this year. It's more mature, there's nothing too cheesy here, really better than CO1 and Splinter.
More mature ... in spots. They still have the same sense of humor and witticisms they've always had. The band has been hinting at mature themes since Ixnay, but haven't quite fully-developed it here. I don't think it's a bad album at all, I just find it to be a bit unfocused.

I hate when people try to knock a band for continuing to do what they do the best. Face it most punk bands aren't trying to invent the wheel, and become all experimental. I think most just play music that they enjoy and what their core audience enjoys. Plus nobody gives the ramones and bad religion shit and most of their albums sound the same
Who said I was knocking the band? I don't recall ever insulting them at all. It would be one thing if The Offspring were still the same band they were when they released Ignition or Smash, but the fact is, they aren't. They've worked with producers known their their polished sound and in reality, are anything but punk these days. I'm not discrediting them because I am a longtime fan.

The Ramones got plenty of shit back in the day for ditching their rooted sound to work with Phil Spector, a producer who wanted slick-sounding records. Bad Religion were also dealt grief when they left Epitaph and signed to Atlantic, adapting a cleaner sound. Hell, up until 2003, Bad Religion weren't considered relevant anymore.
08:46 PM on 06/10/08
#6
jds10912
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i really like 'you're gonna go far kid'
solid album overall
09:55 PM on 06/10/08
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More mature ... in spots. They still have the same sense of humor and witticisms they've always had. The band has been hinting at mature themes since Ixnay, but haven't quite fully-developed it here. I don't think it's a bad album at all, I just find it to be a bit unfocused.


Who said I was knocking the band? I don't recall ever insulting them at all. It would be one thing if The Offspring were still the same band they were when they released Ignition or Smash, but the fact is, they aren't. They've worked with producers known their their polished sound and in reality, are anything but punk these days. I'm not discrediting them because I am a longtime fan.

The Ramones got plenty of shit back in the day for ditching their rooted sound to work with Phil Spector, a producer who wanted slick-sounding records. Bad Religion were also dealt grief when they left Epitaph and signed to Atlantic, adapting a cleaner sound. Hell, up until 2003, Bad Religion weren't considered relevant anymore.


I was talking in general not about your review, Theres already been a few reviews that were doing this. also im talking about how fans today look at the ramones and bad religion, not about the fans back in the day.........Which was a Wednesday if anyone one wanted to know.
10:32 PM on 06/10/08
#8
doritoz
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If you were to listen to "A lot like me" I bet no one would recognize the intro as an offspring song.
01:15 AM on 06/11/08
#9
RetardedInLove
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I can't wait for this album. The Offspring were the first band that I ever liked and without them I probably wouldn't like music. No matter what they put out I will always buy it and give it a listen. Listening to these guys brings back so many memories.
01:15 AM on 06/11/08
againtocarthage
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Wow this review is a pile of garbage and that is being polite about it. In fact this is one of the worst reviews I have read on this site since my stay here since 2005. (Even the reader reviews nearly 85% in contrast to your lackluster score tells you the majority disagree with your review.)

This is the first Offspring album I have enjoyed thoroughly in a long time. I am not even an huge Offspring fan (just a casual listener of them,) but now this album has made me one.

You rip on Hammerhead (4:38 in length BTW) and the second part of the song sounds totally different. Its a face melter, as if the first half didnt melt your face enough.

If you wanna talk about a long song, Death Cabs "I will posses your heart," the piano intro was quite unnecessary to make that long, especially if it was going to repeat over and over. Not only does that song repeat musically, lyrically as well. Hammerhead is different, and is not even that long.

As Matt Embree of RX Bandits once said in an interview (paraphrasing here) "People now days are too caught up with three minute pop songs, and they all follow the same formula."

I personally do not know what is wrong with hammerhead, because the pace, beat, and rhythm always change (Lyrics as well)

You say the band presents nothing new (despite having slow ballad songs this time around and more complex rock songs....lets just go with what you say for the sake of debate.) What did Death Cab offer us this year? Half or more of those songs could have gone on Transatlatiscm (sp?) or Plans. Or the new Coldplay, half of those songs or more once again could have been heard on their previous albums. I thoroughly enjoyed both Death Cabs and Coldplays album despite sounding the same. Perhaps bands stick with the same formula of what fans know of them, because thats who they are... THEY ARE THAT BAND. THEY MADE THEIR SOUND.

This album is a lot darker and not as upbeat as prior efforts. Compare some of their hit singles such as "Original Prankster," "Hit That," "Pretty Fly (for a white guy)", and "Why dont you get a job." Nothing on this album sounds ANYTHING like those songs. Those songs were more pop rock, then the rock tunes of RAFRAG.

So if you are going to put YOUR BIAS in, just because an album presents nothing new, don't let that affect your review.

One last thing, you say the band doesnt know where the band is headed because of difference in songs. The first half of the album(Rise/Rage, get it just like the title??) is hard, heavy, fast in your face rock. The last half (Fall/Grace/Graceful) is a bit more mellow, and paced.
02:48 AM on 06/11/08
Chris Fallon
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Wow this review is a pile of garbage and that is being polite about it. In fact this is one of the worst reviews I have read on this site since my stay here since 2005. (Even the reader reviews nearly 85% in contrast to your lackluster score tells you the majority disagree with your review.)

This is the first Offspring album I have enjoyed thoroughly in a long time. I am not even an huge Offspring fan (just a casual listener of them,) but now this album has made me one.

You rip on Hammerhead (4:38 in length BTW) and the second part of the song sounds totally different. Its a face melter, as if the first half didnt melt your face enough.

If you wanna talk about a long song, Death Cabs "I will posses your heart," the piano intro was quite unnecessary to make that long, especially if it was going to repeat over and over. Not only does that song repeat musically, lyrically as well. Hammerhead is different, and is not even that long.

As Matt Embree of RX Bandits once said in an interview (paraphrasing here) "People now days are too caught up with three minute pop songs, and they all follow the same formula."

I personally do not know what is wrong with hammerhead, because the pace, beat, and rhythm always change (Lyrics as well)

You say the band presents nothing new (despite having slow ballad songs this time around and more complex rock songs....lets just go with what you say for the sake of debate.) What did Death Cab offer us this year? Half or more of those songs could have gone on Transatlatiscm (sp?) or Plans. Or the new Coldplay, half of those songs or more once again could have been heard on their previous albums. I thoroughly enjoyed both Death Cabs and Coldplays album despite sounding the same. Perhaps bands stick with the same formula of what fans know of them, because thats who they are... THEY ARE THAT BAND. THEY MADE THEIR SOUND.

This album is a lot darker and not as upbeat as prior efforts. Compare some of their hit singles such as "Original Prankster," "Hit That," "Pretty Fly (for a white guy)", and "Why dont you get a job." Nothing on this album sounds ANYTHING like those songs. Those songs were more pop rock, then the rock tunes of RAFRAG.

So if you are going to put YOUR BIAS in, just because an album presents nothing new, don't let that affect your review.

One last thing, you say the band doesnt know where the band is headed because of difference in songs. The first half of the album(Rise/Rage, get it just like the title??) is hard, heavy, fast in your face rock. The last half (Fall/Grace/Graceful) is a bit more mellow, and paced.
tl;dr

If you're going to tell me I'm wrong for "ripping" on this band, your argument would hold a lot more water if you remained mature about it. Don't walk in here acting like you know a fucking thing about my intentions - I am an Offspring fan. I have been a fan of this band since I was introduced to Smash in 1995, so patronizing me and claiming my review - a fair review that is far from insulting, ripping or whatever you claim I am doing - says the record sucks is unjust and you need to reassert your opinion.

I understand what they were doing, where they are going - it just didn't work ... FOR ME. I don't even think you read what I said: you seem to have read it and been so pissed about one person's own opinion, you immediately jump on to whatever you can to stay afloat.

I said it isn't a bad album (because it isn't), it just doesn't have much to it and seems unfocused in the way the sound comes across. Sure, they are going for a darker tone - it does that in places; they offer harder material, followed by softer material - personally, I don't think it comes across as naturally as it should have. After two years of working on this disc, I don't feel this is the best material to showcase that and I don't particularly enjoy Bob Rock's production work. It is an opinion, and guess what? There is an option to review albums yourself, so go right ahead and take a shot, wiseguy. I'm only one person.

Jesus Christ, who knew this album would erupt such anger from within?
03:09 AM on 06/11/08
vincent182
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Holland! Holland! :D
03:37 AM on 06/11/08
againtocarthage
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You call yourself a reviewer? This site should be ashamed for employing you as a staff member.

I read your first sentence, I don't discuss how its wrong to rip the album. I have seen albums being "ripped," however I have no problem with that because they do not add in a bias in their review as you do.

You know what, I will not read your post either then.

If you took the time (assuming you were somewhat professional in your job duty) you would understand I make valid points that your points are all false.
04:14 AM on 06/11/08
TheGuillotine
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Good review, i personally would have scored it a bit better though. Yeah its no Smash, but it is miles ahead of their last two albums.
04:31 AM on 06/11/08
matt_rawlings
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"Smash" was not their debut album

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