Formed in the heady heights of 1983 in Cypress, California The Offspring have been one of the most influential bands to bring punk to the mainstream. With a solid collection of nine studio albums, from the self titled The Offspring in 1983 through to Days Go By in 2012, numerous compilation albums and demo cassettes, The Offspring have been one of the few punk bands to chart in the US Top 10 for both alternative music and mainstream at the same time.
The Offspring has had numerous line up changes over the decades, Dexter Holland being the only remaining original band member, most fans consider Dexter (Vocals), Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman (Guitar), Greg K(Bass) and Ron Welty(Drums) to be the definitive line up. Ron Welty left the band in 2003 to form his own group Steady Ground wanting to focus more on his own project and Greg K parted company with The Offspring in August 2019 citing ‘business disputes’. Ron was replaced full-time by Rocket from the Grave drummer Atom Willard until 2007 when he was replaced by Pete Pandra from another California punk band Face to Face. Greg K was replaced by long time touring guitarist Todd Morse formerly of H2O.
Most people are familiar with the albums Smash (1994) and Americana (1998), both albums delving into the underbelly of American culture. Smash’s Self Esteem deals with the protagonist choosing to put up with his girlfriend’s abuse rather than be alone, and Come Out and Play putting a ‘happy’ spin on gang violence amongst younger members of the poorer communities. The album is incredibly punk with driving riffs, purposefully atonal singing and lots of great shout-backs so it’s easy to see why the album went multi-platinum with over 13,000,000+ sales worldwide.
Americana is possibly the most pop sounding album The Offspring have released, telling tales of unhappy American lifestyles and desperate times in suburbia. The album reached #2 in the US Billboard 200 and #10 in the UK Albums chart. The album had multiple single releases, with Pretty Fly (for a white Guy) reaching the top 3 in numerous countries, and The Kids Aren’t Alright is one of those songs that’s good to rock out to when you first hear it, but it really hits home hard after high school and college are over and you see the people this song talks about.
Without further ado, here’s the Top 10 Offspring songs!
# 10 – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)
This track from Americana made it into the top 10 purely as a guilty pleasure. With a catchy riff, questionable vocals and singing about a wannabe gangster who manages to fail at every step, this song is a definite ear-worm. The Offspring also created a fantastic music video chronicling the steps of our wayward hero as he gets a tattoo, buys music and finally, after taking a soaking, attempts to get a hug from a little girl who runs away screaming.
This pop punk song dominated the airwaves and music television when it was released, hitting #53 in the US Billboard Hot 100 and hit number one in many other countries. The song has been certified quadruple platinum and appears on The Offspring’s greatest hits album release in 2005.
# 9 – Hit That (Splinter 2003)
Hit That starts with a funky synth line before kicking in with the story of a woman who’s had a child with a man who soon left. It’s a tongue in cheek poke at promiscuity and not considering the consequences of one’s actions. The song features a considerable amount of synth keyboard which is a departure for The Offspring’s usually heavily guitar driven tracks. Another kitschy song like Pretty Fly, that’ll have you tapping your feet, bopping your head and singing along with the chorus. The song hit number 1 in the UK Rock and Metal chart and 11 in the UK Singles chart, whilst not making the top 50 in the US Billboard Hot 100 reaching a peak position of 64.
# 8 – Want You Bad (Conspiracy Of One 2000)
Straight from the word go, Want You Bad hits you with drums, guitar and bass. A driving riff during the verse with the protagonist wishing the girl of his dreams would be a little bit more ‘bad’, the song makes way to a sweeping pre-chorus suggesting that the girls one vice is that she’s too nice. The chorus hits and once again we’re tapping our feet, drumming our hands and belting out the chorus. Definitely a great feel-good road-trip playlist track that’ll have the whole car singing.
# 7 – Come Out And Play (Smash 1994)
“Come Out and Play,” from Smash is a really raw and gritty punk track, with really overdriven guitars and rough and ready drums. The weirdly Egyptian riff during the opening bars feels a little out of place, but it’s The Offspring, it’s what they do. The track focuses around gang warfare and how it’s influence was felt amongst children.
The chorus’ ring of “Hey don’t pay no mind, you’re under 18, you won’t be doing any time” is a stark reminder of American gun crime which was rife at the time of the release in 1994. Dexter Holland wrote most of the songs based on what was happening around him whilst studying in LA. The lyric “you gotta keep ‘em separated” was actually inspired by Holland’s experiences in the laboratory whilst cooling flasks full of hot liquids.
# 6 – Gone Away (Ixnay On The Hombre)
Ixnay On The Hombre featured a raft of great songs, but none as heartfelt as Gone Away. Opening up with a heavy drum riff before breaking into the main guitar riff. Dexter then breaks into the first verse, lamenting the death of a loved one, taken too soon. The song was written by Dexter after the tragic death of his then girlfriend in a car accident.
The song has been recently covered by metal masters Five Finger Death Punch.
# 5 – Walla Walla (Americana 1998)
Next up in our top 10 is Walla Walla, from the Americana album. This song wasn’t released as a single though it’s possibly one of our favorite tracks. The song is a conversation between two friends, one who keeps getting caught in various criminal activities and the other who keeps bailing them out of jail. The lyrics describe the first friend getting caught stealing a VCR from a home and the second friend finally saying ‘enough is enough’ and that they’re getting sent down for real this time.
The song has a super catchy chorus, driving bass and guitar and some really fantastic drumming. The spoken parts of the song are humorous, but at the same time speak of the high crime rate seen in many US cities.
# 4 – Why Don’t You Get A Job (Americana 1998)
Another track from the Americana album, “Why Don’t You Get A Job,” tells the tale of two couples whose partner is fed up of them not working and always asking for money and, finally, having had enough of doing all the work in the relationship, asks them to get a job to get their own money. The song features a great riff along with Caribbean steel drums and brass section. The music video features Guy Choen who played the main character in the Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) music video. Chris “X-13” Higgins, who gave additional backing vocals, percussion and guitars on the Americana ,Conspiracy of One, Splinter and Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace albums plays the unemployed boyfriend whilst Pussycat Dolls member Carmit Bachar plays his girlfriend.
The song charted in various countries around the world, hitting number 2 in the UK Charts and going double platinum in Australia.
# 3 -Self Esteem (Smash 2008)
“Self Esteem,” is probably one of the most important songs The Offspring released. The music video, directed by Darren Lavett who also directed their earlier video for Come Out And Play was incredibly popular. Its popularity on MTV helped launch the song to success on mainstream radio and ushered in a new wave of fans. The slightly slower than normal song was partially written on Dexter’s own experience, “The thing where late at night she knocks on my door was real”.
The track opens up with a great chanting section before kicking in with really powerful guitar and drums. The song almost feels grunge in comparison to the faster tracks on the rest of the Smash album.
# 2 -The Kids Aren’t Alright (Americana 1998)
Whilst not as successful as the previous two singles Why Don’t You Get a Job and Pretty Fly (For A White Guy), The Kids Aren’t Alright was a very successful song. The music video, directed by Yariv Gaber, features some fantastic rotoscoping camera work as the camera revolves around a room flicking from past to present with characters and band members in the center morphing and merging in and out of view.
The song tells the stories of several people from the same street and neighborhood expecting to “make it big” and the issues faced as they grew up.
The opening riff is signature Noodles guitar work and incredibly catchy. The drums, whilst being simple, are tight and powerful and really drive the song forward.
# 1 -You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid
The number spot in our Top 10 Offspring songs list goes to “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid.” The second single from Rise And Fall, Rage and Grace, You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid stayed at #1 for 11 weeks in the Hot Modern Rock Tracks char and has sold over 1.6 million copies worldwide.
The music video, directed by Chris Hopewell, tells the story of a peasant given a magical guitar by a wood nymph. The peasant then goes to the city where he doesn’t use his new found powers for good with dire consequences.
The song is fast paced solid punk rock, solid drumming from Pete Pandra, overdriven guitar from Noodles and Holland, and pounding bass from Greg K. The song currently sits at over 345 million plays on Spotify.