Staying Relevant

I’ve been fascinated by music since about middle school.  It’s funny because it really doesn’t seem all that long ago to me, but it has been almost twenty years since I was there.  I can remember being really happy about the new Foo Fighters album coming out then, as well as, more than a few other albums that I still love today.  It’s funny to watch how those bands have developed and changed over the years since I first started to enjoy them.  I can still remember our eighth grade trip where we seemed to just pass around a couple cd’s amongst a few of us.  We were listening to Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, 311, and Offspring.  Two of those bands don’t make music together anymore, but there are two others that still do.  I don’t really listen to 311 or Offspring at all anymore but, as I said last week, I catch a few new songs from them on the radio.  It’s the new Offspring song that influenced my thoughts for this post this week.

Music styles and tastes are consistently changing in America and around the world.  My kids asked me if I thought 2pac was the best rapper ever the other week when they unveiled their hologram of him at Bonnaroo.  I told them I thought he was good for his time, but he would probably be seen as just another old rapper today.  They started to disagree, but I stopped them with a few examples.  I asked them if they thought Dr. Dre, Busta Rhymes, or P.Diddy were great rappers.  They understood that these rappers who once were on top of the music world were no longer on quite at the same level.  Now-a-days they are into Lil Wayne, Drake, and a slew of other one hit wonder rappers.  I feel like the rap world is tougher to stay relevant in for a long period of time, but bands seem to find a way to vary their style in such a way to stay on top of the music world.

The Offspring are a band I had never really noticed as being a band that continued to change their style to fit the times.  They premiered back in the earlier 80’s, which I actually just found out.  They initially were considered a full-on punk band.  They hung out and played shows with bands like Rancid and Bad Religion.  By the mid 90’s they had managed to find a mainstream hit with their album “Smash”.  This record jumped them up into a new category.  They now fit in with bands like Sublime and Green Day.  It was a time when punk rock was coming into the mainstream, but it had a slightly more radio friendly feel.  “Americana” and “Conspiracy of One” seemed like strange releases to me.  They were still trying to maintain their punk roots, but they seemed to really be pushing for mainstream success with songs like “Pretty Fly for a White Guy” and “Original Prankster”.  They certainly lost any remaining true punk fans they had with that one.  Some of their newer stuff like “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” seemed to bring them back into a slightly more punk feel, but they had that Rise Against rock feel to it still.  This leads us to the latest singles they have coming out.

I was a little disappointed to realize the entire album isn’t available yet, but Offspring are set to release their latest album, “Days Go By”, later this month.  They started to release the song here and there on the radio in my area.  The first time I heard it I thought it was a new rock band; however, Dexter Holland has such obvious lead vocals I shortly realized it was actually a new Offspring song.  It would seem they have once again reinvented themselves.  Attempting to see if the rest of the album sounded the same, I realized they may not have totally strayed from the quirky songs that really got them popular.

I’ve included the new video for the song “Days Go By” at the bottom of this page just incase you want to hear what their new stuff sounds like.  Right from the beginning of the song you can tell they’ve taken yet a different direction.  They don’t seem to be that fast passed punk style band.  They also don’t appear to be the quirky poppy rock band from “Pretty Fly for a White Guy”.  That is….at least not on this song.  The first guitar riff they enter in with immediately reminds me of a Foo Fighter’s song like “Learn to Fly”.  The drums are slow and steady and the vocals come in calm and sung normally.  It’s a little strange to see The Offspring heading in a direction that may be showing their age.  They may have, however, not completely done away with the silly songs.  The other song they have released, “Cruising California (Bumpin’ in my Trunk)” seems to go slightly back to their funny ways.  It certainly isn’t quite the same feel as the old funny songs, but you can tell they are hoping to have a summer hit with this one.  It still has a slightly more poppy radio friendly feel, and they are almost rhyming instead of singing along to the music.  They also pull in a female vocal who is clearly referring to the “bumbin'” as some type of booty poppin thing.  Yeah I said that.  Perhaps they haven’t completely given up on their silly ways.

I’m really interested to hear what the rest of the album sounds like.  I’m really wondering if this song “Cruising California” gets big over the course of summer or not.  Either way, they are certainly attempting to stay relevant in an ever-changing music scene, and the fact that they have been a band for almost thirty years shows some crazy staying power.  I probably won’t be purchasing this album in the end, but they have certainly peaked my interest.


1 Comment

  1. Love this band. When I initially heard them I envisioned Blink 182. But when I saw them in concern a couple of the members looked like they could walk right out of an office meeting. Their Greats Hits album is required collection material I far as I’m concern. Great post!

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