After an almost decade long content drought, The Offspring have returned with their new album “Let The Bad Times Roll,” which was worth the wait. The album itself was originally scheduled to be released in 2020, however due to conflicts with their previous label the record was delayed.
They started off strong with “This Is Not Utopia,” which is a politically charged track that is slightly outdated, yet still relevant. The lyrics which reference the riots that occurred last summer would have been much more impactful if the track had been released while they were occurring, but, even so, the commentary about the racist roots of the United States are still applicable.
Similarly to the title track, there are obvious digs at the Trump administration and references to the volatile political climate. While this comes about three months into a new presidency, the lyrics are still incredibly fitting.
While some might say that musicians should stay out of politics, punk music is rooted in anti-establishment ideals. The Offspring have every right to voice their opinions and complaints with the government and social climate of the United States.
Although The Offspring incorporate politically charged songs into this album, the group still maintains that they are not a “political band.”
“I definitely don’t consider us a political band, but, shoot, how could you write an album and not talk about what’s been going on over the last couple of years?” Dexter Holland told Apple Music.
However, while “Let The Bad Times Roll,” does make substantial commentary about the political climate in the United States, the group also works to tackle the subjects of depression and substance abuse through their music.
“Behind Your Walls” looks at depression from an outside perspective. The somber lyrics, combined with the unmistakable California hardcore punk sound that The Offspring are known for, makes this one of the strongest tracks on the album.
Similarly to “Behind Your Walls,” “The Opioid Diaries” takes a difficult topic and incorporates their distinct sound.
“The Opioid Diaries,” speaks directly about the opioid crisis in the United States. The lyrics – “When those pills are gone, what’s gonna happеn? /When those pills are gonе, what drug is next? /We’ve made a nation full of kids on dope” – bluntly reference the struggle that people face when dealing with addiction.
The group does a remarkable job at calling attention to the difficulties that come with substance abuse while also acknowledging the complete disregard many people have for addicts.
Straying from their usual sound, the seventh track “We Never Have Sex Anymore,” utilizes jazz inspired instrumentals. Over their 30 year career, The Offspring have been known to incorporate sounds that don’t necessarily fit their perceived persona.
“I know it’s coming out of left field for us, but we always try to throw a curveball on every record, something that you wouldn’t expect. Maybe it’s punk to not be punk.” Dexter Holland told Apple Music.
By incorporating a song that doesn’t necessarily coincide with their usual sound but still flows well with the rest of the album, The Offspring continue to display their versatility and artistic talent.
Overall, “Let The Bad Times Roll,” is an impressive addition to the band’s discography. From the aggressive instrumentals to the depth filled lyrics, The Offspring made sure to not disappoint. Now we can only hope that the next album doesn’t take another decade to create.