REVIEW: The Offspring – “Splinter”

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

SplinterThe CD opens with Neocon, which is a spoken word piece surrounded by strong drum hits and background chants: "We will never lose...to you." Whether Dexter, Greg and Noodles mean this to Iraq, Al Queda, Afghanistan, Me, You or your Mom, is unknown, but the point is well taken. Immediately you're dropped into one of the Offspring's standard, fast, guitar-laden lyrically excellent calls to arms with The Noose. Opening with one of their finely wrought power guitar openings, it's a great way to kick off their latest punk rock debacle.

A continuation it seems of Neocon, the kings of the modern punk triad talk about rising enemies and falling nooses - expectantly by the song name – and again who they are directing their challenging riffs at isn't known to me. But I hope it's not Me or my Mom. The powerful energy of Splinter continues with Long Way Home, a bit more touched by melody this time. This is the point where Dexter goes into one of his "Yeah Yeah Yeah!" background yell periods – a requirement to most Offspring releases.

Now we get silly – the ska-esque grooves and sliding bass (keys or actual bass I wonder?) of Hit That is catchy, upbeat yet retains the powerful edge of Offspring sound. Hit That is the song declared vividly on the cover of the album so I assume this was their first released single of Splinter. I wouldn't know, as radio is bullshit to me for the most part. Head Around You is reminiscent of work on Americana with it's scratchy opening that opens into a strong crescendo of guitars and Dexter's trademark loud fuck-off vocals.

Then it's back to the silliness again. The Worst Hangover Ever reminds me of Mighty Mighty Bosstones, including horns (live or synth I know not) and simply tells a story about one man's, as you can guess, worst hangover. "It hurts so bad I'm never gonna drink again..." which of course by the end of the song is "...at least not until next weekend." Standard story for some of us! And what would an Offspring album be without at least one lament about a ho-of-a-girlfriend? Spare Me The Details is just that, a song about a girlfriend who, while doing up the shots at a party, ends up banging the first guy to bring her to the bedroom. Dexter requests you not tell him the details...he doesn't need to know "how long it was taking," nor is he interested in whether or not her feet were "all up in the air." This track reminds me of the old Guns 'N Roses tongue-in-cheek, almost sweet sounding, accoustic song I Used to Love Her ("...but I had to kill her"). I could have done without When You're In Prison, as cute and truthful as it may be.

I like Splinter. While I find Americana to be the best release of Offspring thus far with Smash not far behind, this is still a great addition to the punk giants' anthem – possibly in the top three. While the band has released a number of CDs now and stands strung on the strands of the Sony label, the band still retains it's fuck-all feel and remains untainted and untinged by commercial success in my strong opinion. It would take a lot to knock The Offspring off of my list of definite favorites – one of the few bands I've seen more than once live and one of the few I'd go see again, as many times as I could. While Reel Big Fish, Simple Minds, Blink 182, Green Day and others walk among the puppets of punk, The Offspring continue to defy and create modern punk rock that slices and dices the puppeteers.

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