22 April 2013

The Offspring - Americana



Welcome
To
Ameri
Cana.
Please
Make
Your
Selection
Followed
By
The
Pound
Sign
Now.
When I was young and pretentious I always used to start my compilation tapes with that. I thought it was funny. About half way through I'd add "Thank you. One moment please... " as well. Aah, memories!

So. Here's an album that shaped my musical youth. And another that I've not listened to in full for years. I like this job!

Americana is the FIFTH studio album by The Offspring. Even in 1998, The Offspring had been around for ages. They have a new album out soon too! This album was the introduction to The Offspring for a lot of people around my age. I have friends, the 'cool kids' who claim to have been into them since "well before Smash". Well I don't mind telling the truth.

'Pretty Fly for a White Guy' was my first taste of Dexter Holland and Co. It was all over MTV and a lot of other music channels back then. The video was pretty funny too. So I checked out the rest of the album. This was around the time that my music taste got a lot more, shall we say, bouncy, I.E Green Day, Terrorvision and Earth vs The Wildhearts. My favourite songs on Americana back then were the obvious choices. Basically, the singles (Pretty Fly..., Why Don't You Get a Job, The Kids Aren't Alright, She's Got Issues) and the bouncy shouty songs (Feelings, Walla Walla, Staring at the Sun) . Bands like The Offspring, Green Day and Sublime have been credited with introducing a lot of kids to 'punk' with a small P. But I just liked dancing to the songs.

How well has Americana aged? Well today, I see the album as exactly what it was; the sound of dissociated American youth. Not a bad thing at all. I've found new respect for the lyrics that I didn't have back in the day too. The title track contains the awesome line: "I am a product of my environment". The album is a story of sorts, a series of tales of what Dexter Holland saw around him, but with comedy and good old punk attitude thrown in. The whole album works as a concept album, and that's why I believe that Pay The Man ended up in the right place. At first, I didn't think it belonged on the album. I've since learned that it was written during the "Ixnay on the Hombre" sessions. Musically, it may have fit on there too I guess, but not lyrically. I didn't like it. Too long, without a simple structure, almost prog rocky. But as an old man, I see where and why it fits and have come to appreciate it.

I've scored this as I have for a couple of reasons. What pulls it up is the part of me greatful to The Offspring for introducing me to a lot of good bands, and for awesome memories. What pulls it down, only a little bit though, is the fact that it's a bit commercial, disaffection for the masses. I don't resent this, I'm not gonna call them sellout (anyway, "Smash" is way more successful) or accuse them of trivialising punk ethics in the same way that Green Day were accused. I'm way too young for that. But it's a bit, I don't know, immature sometimes. I liked that then, but not so much now. Says the guy with the tattoo below:



I asked for a 13....
Anyway, here's the score:

8 out of 10. You have my attention, and maybe my money, time and heart.

Purchase from Amazon here.

Listen on Spotify here.

Official Website.

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