Story by Zach Dresch
I was torn between writing a review for a new album or writing a “classic” album review this week, but I chose the latter due to the impact this particular record had on me while I was growing up. What album am I talking about, you may ask? The Offspring’s Smash.
This week marks 20 years since Smash was released, and this was one of the first albums I ever bought, so I felt I had no choice but to review the album since this is one of the first albums that inspired me to become a musician. It also was a catalyst for my love of punk rock music as well.
Smash had a huge impact on mainstream music in the mid-90s. For a couple of years, punk rock was king when it came to having hit singles and whatnot. Other albums like Green Day’s Dookie and Rancid’s And Out Come The Wolves played a major role in bringing about public interest in fast yet catchy punk rock music. Smash was a sleeper hit, selling 6 million copies on Epitaph Records, an indie record label. This rarely happens in the music world, so this was a major feat for indie and punk rock music.
Just listening to the singles proves exactly why this album was so successful. The band’s simplicity in its hooks and intensity in attitude made the band who they were. “Come Out and Play”, “Self Esteem”, and “Gotta Get Away” are all songs you have probably heard a million times on the radio, but with good reason: the songs are amazing.
Other tracks like opener “Nitro (Youth Energy)” and “Genocide” prove that the Offspring are not just your average punk rock band; they had something different to offer. Dexter Holland’s unique vocals add to their sound and set them apart. Most of the tracks on the album all sound very similar in nature, but what’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing! The songs are consistently solid, and that is what makes this album so memorable.
I can’t believe I haven’t even mentioned the song “Bad Habit”. This may be the most intense song the Offspring have recorded or probably ever will. The profanity-laden breakdown in the middle of the song fits the song perfectly and it remains a staple in their live set to this day. The Offspring is also known to branch out occasionally as well. One of the later tracks “What Happened to You?” is more of an experimental track, employing more of a Jamaican ska beat.
Without a doubt, this album was a huge influence on me and what I ended up listening to in the future. Before the Offspring, I listened to boy bands. I was an ignorant child…until I discovered bands like Green Day, Weezer, and of course the Offspring. I remember hearing the hit singles from Smash as a little kid and thinking these were the catchiest songs ever. Listening to punk rock at the age of 5, I felt pretty cool, not going to lie.
If you have not listened to this album or at the very least the singles, check out this album now, and you will realize why Smash is so highly regarded today. The relatable lyrics, such as being “a sucker with no self esteem” really resonated with me, and they still do now. Make this the soundtrack of your summer. It certainly has been mine for nearly 15 years now, a definite classic album.