The Offspring are a popular Punk Rock
band from Orange County, California. They formed in 1984 and released their first album, self-titled, in 1989. They have made nine albums in total. Credited along with Green Day
and a few others with helping to bring punk rock into the mainstream. Their first two albums were indie punk and not very popular, but that all changed soon. Their 1994 album Smash
was their biggest commercial success and remains the highest-selling album ever released on an independent label, having sold over 16 million copies.
Their mostly punk music contains elements of pop
. Lyrical topics are very wide-ranging; one of their most famous songs, "Self Esteem", is about a personal relationship involving an Extreme Doormat Love Martyr
, but they also released a concept album dedicated to the degradation of America, for example.
The band's constant members have been Bryan "Dexter" Holland (vocals, guitar), Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman (guitar, backing vocals, Nerd Glasses
) and Gregory "Greg K." Kriesel (bass, backing vocals). Their best-known drummer was Ron Welty, who was in the band from 1987 to 2003. Afterwards they cycled through a few extra drummers (Josh Freese, Atom Willard of Rocket from the Crypt and Angels & Airwaves
) before settling on Pete Parada (formerly of Saves the Day and Face to Face), who has been in the band since 2007. Amusingly, Wasserman was the janitor at Holland and Kriesel's high school, and he was initially brought into the band because he was 21 years old and could buy everybody else beer.
- The Offspring (1989)
- "I'll Be Waiting/Blackball"
- Ignition (1992)
- "Kick Him When He's Down"
- Smash (1994)
- "Come Out and Play"
- "Self Esteem"
- "Gotta Get Away"
- "Bad Habit"
- Ixnay on the Hombre (1997)
- "All I Want"
- "Gone Away"
- "Cool to Hate"
- "The Meaning of Life"
- "I Choose"
- Americana (1998)
- "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"
- "Why Don't You Get a Job?"
- "The Kids Aren't Alright"
- "She's Got Issues"
- Conspiracy of One (2000)
- "Original Prankster"
- "Want You Bad"
- "Million Miles Away"
- Splinter (2003)
- "Hit That"
- "(Can't Get My) Head Around You"
- "Spare Me the Details"
- Greatest Hits (2005)
- "Can't Repeat"
- "Next to You" (The Police cover)
- Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace (2008)
- "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid"
- "Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?"
- Days Go By (2012)
- "Days Go By"
- "Cruising California (Bumpin' in My Trunk)"
- "Turning Into You"
Tropes associated with The Offspring:
- Admiring the Abomination: The singer of "You're Gonna Go Far Kid" seems to be admiring the handiwork of a Magnificent Bastard. Even while he himself is falling victim to that handiwork.
- A God Am I: The narrator of "Bad Habit" is so Ax-Crazy he says this in the bridge ("Something's odd, I feel like I'm God"), right before the famous Precision F-Strike.
- Album Title Drop: Present in several albums, but Inverted in the album Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace - the title was taken from the title of one song and the second line of another ("Fix You").
- Atomic F-Bomb: In "Americana".
I'm a product
Of my environment
So don't blame me, I just... work here but I want to FUCK YOOOOOOU!!!!!!
- The way "Session" begins: "Aaaaaaah FUCK! FUCK, FUCK, FUCK!!!"
- Ax-Crazy: "Bad Habit" and "Special Delivery". The latter's chorus includes the line "And the voices told me to blow you away!".
- Black Comedy Rape: "When You're In Prison".
- Body Horror: The video for "The Kids Aren't Alright" transitions between characters by having them coming out of the previous person's body.
- Breather Episode: Days Go By is fairly heavy, musically and thematically, but after tracks like "Hurting As One" and "Turning Into You" you get "Cruising California (Bumpin' in my Trunk)", a lighthearted jam about goofing around and trying to get laid in the band's hometown of Huntington Beach, CA.
- Censored Title: "Stuff is Messed Up". The chorus line is actually "shit is fucked up".
- The Chessmaster: "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid"
- Cluster F-Bomb + Precision F-Strike: A lot. Conspiracy of One became notable since it was their first album to lack an F-bomb. (Except on editions with the bonus track "Huck It". It also manages a "you know it smells like shit, goddamn" in "Original Prankster".)
- Also "Bad Habit", which includes the gem "You stupid, dumbshit, goddamn MOTHERFUCKER!"
- In "Americana", with the line "distorted in Americana, my way... well, FUCK YOU!"
- "Da Hui" is just one big Cluster F-Bomb:
I won't fuck with Da Hui!
I won't fuck with Da Hui!
I won't fuck with Da Hui!
Because Da Hui will fuck with me!
Don't fuck with Da Hui!
Don't fuck with Da Hui!
Don't fuck with Da Hui!
Because Da Hui will fuck with you!
- Concept Album: Americana is about the degradation of America. Meanwhile, Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace is often interpreted as the journey of a school shooter (though only one song is clearly about that).
- Content Warning: Ixnay on the Hombre begins with a particularly snarky one:
Ladiiiies and gentlemen, welcome to the disclaimer! That's right, the disclaimer! This American apple pie institution known as parental discretion will cleanse any sense of innuendo or sarcasm from the lyrics which might actually make you think, and will also insult your intelligence at the same time! So, protect your family! This album contains explicit depictions of things which are real! These real things are commonly known as "life"! So... if it sounds sarcastic, do not take it seriously! If it sounds dangerous, do not try this at home or at all! And if it offends you, just... don't... listen to it!
- Continuity Nod: The chorus of "Slim Pickens Does The Right Thing And Rides The Bomb To Hell" from Days Go By is "Dance fucker, dance, let the motherfucker burn!" which is both a Continuity Nod back to "You're Gonna Go Far Kid" from Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace and a Shout-Out to "The Roof Is On Fire" by Rock Master Scott and the Dynamic Three.
- Corrupt the Cutie: "Want You Bad".
- Cover Version: "Killboy Powerhead" by The Didjits, on Smash, and "Next to You" by The Police in the Greatest Hits Album (as a Hidden Track). As well as a crapton of random covers on their singles albums and rare EPs. Additionally, "Feelings" from Americana is a parodic cover of Morris Albert, with lyrics rewritten to be about hatred instead of love.
- Also, "I Wanna Be Sedated" on the Ramones tribute album We're a Happy Family, for which it was one of the leading singles.
- Creepy Child: The children in the "Hammerhead" video.
- Crush. Kill. Destroy!: On the original version of their 1989 debut album, which only made 5,000 vinyl copies, the final track was called Kill the President. It has been removed on all recent copies.
- Deranged Animation: the video for "She's Got Issues", which features Zooey Deschanel in one of her earliest roles.
- Also, the heads of the characters (the dog included) in the video for "Hit That".
- Parts of the video for "Dividing By Zero", but practically all of "Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell" (the two songs share a single video, but there's a drastic Art Shift between the two).
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The girl's movements with a beer can at the end of the "Want You Bad" video, and the guy's reaction. Doesn't help that she ends up covered in white from the eruption.
- Drives Like Crazy: The narrator of "Bad Habit" insists that he's perfectly alright in the head (though he's waving a gun around as he says it...), but when he's behind the wheel, bad or inconsiderate drivers push about every button he has. (Dexter said he was inspired by his old car that "flipped up about once or twice a week")
- Drugs Are Bad: "Mota" which is about a day in a stoner's life, and "What Happened to You?", which is about a friend who is trying to get his friend to quit.
- One of the characters in "The Kids Aren't Alright" is a junkhead as well:
Mark still lives at home 'cause he's got no job
Just plays guitar and smokes a lot of pot
- Epic Rocking: "Pay the Man", which runs 8 minutes and 9 seconds, and then has some silence and a hidden track.
- Extreme Doormat: "Self Esteem" is about one of these.
- Fangs Are Evil: The dogcatcher in the music video for "Hit That"
- Farm Boy: The video for "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid"
- Flaming Skulls: The band's logo.
- The Four Chords of Pop: Uses it very frequently. "Self-Esteem", "Gotta Get Away", "All I Want", "The Kids Aren't Alright" and "You're Gonna Go Far Kid" is just a partial list.
- Get A Hold of Yourself, Woman: "She's Got Issues", given it deals with a particularly Wangsty one.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: "Stuff Is Messed Up". Naturally, it's averted in the song, where the line "shit is fucked up" is meant to be the actual Title Drop.
- Gratuitous Spanish: "Uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, cinco, seis!" ("Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)")
- Grief Song: "Gone Away"
- Hello: Similar to the Content Warning in the previous album, Americana opens with snarky spoken intro "Welcome".
- Hidden Depths: Dexter is a certified commercial pilot and flight instructor. He also is studying AIDS as part of a Molecular Biology course and runs a hot sauce business called Gringo Bandito. Lampshaded in "Questions with Dexter and Noodles"
Noodles watches porn and surfs!
- I Ate WHAT?: From ''Don't Pick It Up":
I saw a little kid
As he walked around
He picked a candy bar up
Off the ground
He chowed about a half
- Also shown in the video of "Original Prankster", where the main character picks up some dog's crap and slips it into his dad's sandwich. The prank works.
- Long Runner Lineup: The lineup of Dexter Holland, Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman, Gregory "Greg K." Kriesel, and Ron Welty lasted from 1987 (when Welty joined) until 2003 (when he quit)—16 years.
- Long Title: "Slim Pickens Does The Right Thing And Rides The Bomb To Hell", the last track off Days Go By.
- Love Martyr: "Self Esteem" again.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Since The Offspring are a punk band, a good many of their songs are very fast. They also cover topics like violence, death, and social problems, fast or slow.
- "Why Don't You Get a Job?" is an excellent example of this: a rather happy song about people annoyed by their mooching girl/boyfriends.
- "Self Esteem" is more upbeat than the somber first single "Come Out and Play", and it has lyrics about an extreme Love Martyr.
- Madness Makeover \ Shattered Sanity: Many songs deal with someone losing their mind, many times becoming Ax-Crazy as well.
- Manipulative Bastard: The driving point in "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid". Crosses over with Magnificent Bastard.
- The Masochism Tango: According to the narrator in "Self Esteem":
Now I know I'm being used
That's okay, man, 'cause I like the abuse
And I know she's playing with me
That's okay, 'cause I got no self esteem
- "Want You Bad" is another example.
- Motor Mouth: The bridge in "Stuff is Messed Up":
Shopping sprees, RPGs, ecstasy, atrophy
Genocide, Pimp My Ride
, politize, euphemize
Injustice everywhere, apathy, I don't care
Hurricanes, climate change, huh!
Therapy, I won't tell, rehab and LOL
Worldwide calamity, TV reality
Euthanize, supersize, death squads and boob jobs
VIP infamy, gratify instantly
- Dexter's no slouch elsewhere, either. He sings particularly quickly in "All I Want" and "Don't Pick it Up", but a lot of the band's catalogue is quite fast.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Usually range from 4 to 7 ("Kristy, Are You Doing OK?" is arguably a 3).
- It's difficult to rank The Offspring on this scale, because even their softer songs are offset by Dexter Holland's screaming and somewhat liberal use of profanity (witness "Why Don't You Get A Job?", for example).
- Kill The President is a solid 8. Beheaded may have been a 9 due to the brutal lyrics, however the song slows down considerably halfway through, keeping it at this level.
- Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Given their gentler songs are usually pessimistic, and everything else is either sarcastic or furious, their lowest is 3, and the nastier stuff such as "Beheaded" can reach a 9.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: "Hammerhead".
- Murder Ballad: "Beheaded".
- Nerd Glasses: Kevin "Noodles" Wasserman always wears them.
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: "Disclaimer".
- Pig Latin: Ixnay on the Hombre (as Dexter explained: "fuck The Man").
- Plagiarism: "Come Out and Play" caused the band some trouble in 1994 when Posh Boy Records owner Robbie Fields submitted a claim to Epitaph Records accusing them of having plagiarised the Arabian melody from Agent Orange's "Bloodstains" (a song Dexter Holland had previously admitted to being a big fan of, claiming it was the song that sparked his interest in Punk Rock). However, Epitaph rejected the claim, and Fields did not file a lawsuit to pursue the claim further. The Offspring's labelmates The Vandals mocked the accusations in the song "Aging Orange", and Frank Agnew of The Adolescents also criticised the claim as "real petty".
- And as a bit of a kicker, The Offspring would later in fact cover "Bloodstains" for the Ready to Rumble soundtrack.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: The Trope Namer.
- Prison Rape: "When You're In Prison".
- Questioning Title: "Why Don't You Have a Job?" (along with "She's Got Issues", parodying the crawls seen in many a Talk Show with Fists) and "Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?"
- Rape as Drama: The meaning behind "Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?" Dexter states this song is about a girl he knew who was raped in her early teens and no one was there for her.
- Remonstrating With A Gun: "Bad Habit".
- Repurposed Pop Song: ESPN uses "All I Want" and "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid" in adverts for their college basketball coverage.
- Of course "All I Want" and other tracks were also famously on the soundtrack for the original Crazy Taxi and its sequel.
- Sarcasm Mode: Most often.
- A great example is in the song "Stuff is Messed Up": "Now thank god for the media/for saving the day/putting it all into perspective/in a responsible way"
- "Cruising California (Bumpin' in My Trunk) basically describes a man wanting to get laid as a parody of the society's norm for pop songs.
- School Of Hard Knocks: "Come Out and Play"
- Sex Is Cool: "Cruising California (Bumpin' in My Trunk)" as a part of it's parody on recent pop music.
- Shout-Out: "The Kids Aren't Alright" references the song "The Kids Are Alright" by The Who and more or less presents the exact opposite message of that song.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Leans very heavily towards the "Cynical" side, which makes a song like "Cool To Hate"note all the more ironic.
- Sophisticated as Hell: "When You're In Prison"
- Stage Names: Dexter's first name is Bryan, Noodles is Kevin Wasserman, Gregory Kriesel shortens his name to Greg K... and one of the drummers was Atom Willard (who only played with the band in tours, not studio albums).
- Stalker with a Crush: "Special Delivery".
- Stepford Suburbia: "The Kids Aren't Alright". Most of its album, Americana, also fits.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The video of "Want You Bad", where everything blows up in bubbles.
- Teens Are Monsters/Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Several of their songs, most notably "Come Out And Play", which talks about gang violence ("You gotta keep 'em separated") and "Walla Walla", which is about a young offender who's finally going away ("Slap on the wrist–not this time!")
- Teen Pregnancy: "Hit That", with lyrics specifically mentioning "baby daddy" and "baby mama".
- Also "I Wanna Secret Family (With You)".
- The End of the World as We Know It: "Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing and Rides the Bomb to Hell".
- Three Chords and the Truth: They tend to get chewed out for recycling their chord progressions. Example: "Self Esteem" is only a half step off from "The Kids Aren't Alright", and the same as "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid".
- Title Track: "Smash", "Americana", "Conspiracy of One", "Rise and Fall" (Rage and Grace comes from a line in "Fix You"), "Days Go By".
- Tomato Surprise: "Hammerhead" The lyrics make it sound like a Cop or a Soldier, but the last verse reveals it is a school shooter. The song and video suggest that the shooter is delusional and believes himself to be a soldier.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: The armed gangs of schoolkids killing each other in "Come Out And Play" and all of "The Kids Aren't Alright."
- Unwanted Spouse: "Why Don't You Get a Job?"
- Villain Song: "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid", since it's about a Manipulative Bastard.
- You Got Murder: "Special Delivery"
- Your Cheating Heart: "Spare Me the Details". It actually goes into details as to exactly what happened during that one sexual encounter...
Now I don't need to hear 'bout the sounds they were makin'
And I don't need to hear 'bout how long it was takin'
And it drives me insane sittin' with that vision
Stuck with that image burned into my brain
And I feel so dumb, that I could ever trust her!
When someone else fucked
her, then he walked away!