With the lineup dropping for Good Things Festival recently, the news that The Offspring are headlining and performing the iconic album Smash in full came as a pleasant surprise to many. Back before The Offspring were included on every raunchy teen comedy soundtrack of the early 2000’s (Tomcats anyone?), and even back before Triple J refused to include the ‘Pretty Fly For A White Guy’, the number 1 voted song of the Hottest 100 on their CD due to overexposure, there was Smash.
Smash was that album that was played at every party you went to as a teenager in the mid 1990’s, it was the album that brought together the cool kids, the jocks, the nerds, and the weirdos as they vented their teenage angst by hollering those immortal words in ‘Bad Habit’: “You stupid, dumbshit, goddamn, motherfucker.” Even if you didn’t like The Offspring, or punk, even if you were a pop princess who preferred listening to Hanson, every single young person knew all the words to ‘Bad Habit‘. And that in itself is a wondrous thing.
Released in 1994 on Brett Gurewitz’s then fledging punk rock label Epitaph, Smash became something of a global phenomenon selling over 11 million copies since its debut. Released during the same time as Green Day’s Dookie and Rancid’s Let’s Go, these three bands along with Pennywise, Bad Religion and NOFX, helped young kids find their new favourite musical genre. To quote the guys from Epitaph “it was the year that punk broke”. Smash is still the most successful independent album of all time and helped to establish Epitaph as the powerhouse it would later become. But does it really deserve the love that it got then and still gets now?
Opening with an introduction (which became a bit of a habit for the subsequent The Offspring albums), the smooth vocal stylings tell us that it is “time to relax, you know what that means…” before the rolling drum beat of ‘Nitro [Youth Energy]’ kicks in. The album starts with an energy and voraciousness that reflected the pure unadulterated enthusiasm that many punk rockers had for their chosen genre of music. The song that taught me how to swear, ‘Bad Habit’ begins with its tell-tale opening riff. The lyrics are stupidly simple and tells the story of a man’s anger with other drivers, a sentiment that many teens could understand, minus the whole driving thing. The whole album continues in much of the same manner, it has an unrelenting drive, simple and effective riffs, consistent drum beat and Dexter Holland’s distinctive vocals. It segues nicely from one song to the other without ever losing it’s ‘fuck you’ attitude towards the world, a value many young people (and not so young people) share back then and now, which is perfectly encapsulated by the singles ‘Come And Play’ with its surfer rock riff and ‘Self Esteem’ with its opening rallying cry. The album’s only slower point comes with ‘What Happened To You?’ After the kick arse cover of The Didjit’s ‘Killerboy Powerhead’. Both songs are near the end of the album before arguably the best song of the album, ‘Smash’, ties the whole package together.
It is hard to listen to an album that help defined your teenage years, whether you knew it or not, as nostalgia is a powerful weapon. It makes you see things with rose coloured glasses, but The Offspring’s Smash still packs a punch. It is definitively punk rock and one of the best examples of the West Coast punk sounds of the 1990’s. Has The Offspring showed more diversity and maturity in other albums? Definitely so. But Smash is still the biggest selling independent album of all time for a reason!
Written by Carys Hurcom
The Offspring play Smash in full at Good Things Festival this December
Tickets On Sale Now via Destroy All Lines
Good Things Festival 2018
The Offspring (Performing ‘Smash’ In Full)
All Time Low | Dropkick Murphys
Bullet For My Valentine | The Used
BABYMETAL | The Smith Street Band
Dashboard Confessional (Performing songs from ‘The Places You
Have Come To Fear The Most’ + Fan Favourites)
Mayday Parade | La Dispute
Northlane | The Wonder Years
Waterparks | Tonight Alive | Scarlxrd | Emmure
Palaye Royale | Make Them Suffer | Waax
Boston Manor | Void Of Vision | Ecca Vandal
Friday 7 December – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Saturday 8 December – Parramatta Park, Sydney
Sunday 9 December – Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane
Licenced All Ages 15+