10 Best Offspring Songs
The Offspring‘s best songs bring elements of punk, hard rock and thrash together while often adding in wit and humor for good measure. Over the past quarter century, the band has released some of rock radio’s biggest hits. Not bad for a group who revealed they once finished last in their high school “Battle of the Bands.” Frontman Dexter Holland, guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman and bassist Greg K. have been there for the band’s entire recording career, while Ron Welty, Atom Willard and most recently Pete Parada have filled the drum position. So without further adieu, it’s time to come out and play some of the band’s brightest and biggest tunes with our list of the 10 Best Offspring Songs:
‘Way Down the Line’
‘Way Down the Line,’ which starts off like a ’60s boy band track, quickly morphs into an all-out throw down. Behind the rocker, there’s a serious message, with the band touching on family violence, teen pregnancy, poverty and obesity and the possibility that generations are doomed to repeat the past. As Dexter Holland sings, “Nothing changes ’cause it’s all the same / The world you get’s the one you give away / It all just happens again, way down the line.”
‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’
The Offspring’s spot-on take on white youths incorporating urban culture was not only pretty clever, but it also had a beat you couldn’t escape. Once again, pulling from pop culture, the band begins the song with Def Leppard‘s pseudo-German opening to ‘Rock of Ages’ before letting Ron Welty’s percussive brilliance and Noodles’ guitar playing drive the track.
Dig a little deeper into the Offspring’s debut disc ‘Smash’ and you’ll find a gem called ‘Genocide.’ From the blistering opening guitar notes, the band is off to the races showing off their punk precision. Lyrically, the group address the get-ahead-now mentality, with Dexter Holland singing, “Every day / On our fellow man we prey / Dog eat dog / To get by / Hope you like my genocide.”
‘All I Want’
‘All I Want’ is an easy pick for the 10 Best Offspring Songs, not just because of its thrashing awesomeness, but because the track shows that their SoCal punk upbringing hadn’t been forgotten once they hit the big time. This hyper-fueled jam is made for the circle pit. Lyrically, the song is anthemic as they come for the band, as Dexter Holland belts about living a life in which he doesn’t want to be controlled.
‘Gotta Get Away’
‘Gotta Get Away’ was the third single off the band’s breakout ‘Smash’ album and the song lets the band’s backing players take the spotlight. The pounding drum beat of Ron Welty and solid bass licks of Greg K. lead the way. The song ended up being one of the final tracks written for the album and took some inspiration from the pressure Dexter Holland felt to complete the band’s disc.
By the time 2008 rolled around, the Offspring felt the need to shake things up and ‘Hammerhead,’ one of the most epic tracks the band has recorded, filled the bill with its various time shifts. The track is a frenetic song based on the perspective of a deluded gunman who feels that he’s doing the world a greater good by taking out his targets.
The band’s lyrical ode to low self esteem (and musical nod to Nirvana) struck a chord with fans, who’ve made it a sing-along anthem at shows for years, making it an obvious choice for the 10 Best Offspring Songs. Dexter Holland penned the song about one of his female friends, though the track is written from the perspective of a guy who lets his girlfriend walk all over him. As Holland sings in the tune, “The more you suffer, the more it shows you really care.”
‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’
Loosely borrowing from the Who‘s song title, ‘The Kids Are Alright,’ the Offspring chose to make a hard-hitting statement about the troubles that youth go through. Holland penned the track after revisiting his Garden Grove, Calif., neighborhood where many of his childhood friends had met with tragedy. The singer ponders over how things turned out, “Chances thrown / Nothing’s free / Longing for what used to be / Still it’s hard / Hard to see / Fragile live, shattered dreams.”
Tragedy can often lead to inspired music, and such is the case for ‘Gone Away.’ Holland wrote the track about his girlfriend, who passed away after a tragic car accident. As the singer belts, “I reach to the sky and call out your name,” there’s an emotion in his voice rarely met on other Offspring songs. ‘Gone Away’ deserves its high ranking on this list as one of the most honest and open tracks the band has ever served up.
‘Come Out and Play’
Upon first listen, the Offspring’s ‘Come Out and Play’ just seems like an incredibly infectious song with a Middle Eastern guitar riff. But a closer look at the lyrics finds the band addressing gun violence and gangs in schools. The track, with its popular “Gotta keep ’em separated” refrain, became the band’s breakout song and still remains a favorite to this day, earning the No. 1 spot on our list of the 10 Best Offspring Songs.