The Offspring’s ‘Let the Bad Times Roll’ Album Review

The Offspring are back with Let the Bad Times Roll, their first new record in eight years! Their latest entry is stepping out into the music world this Friday 16th April. The record marks their third time collaborating with legendary producer Bob Rock, who has played a key role in The Offspring’s creativity, pushing them to get the most out of the songs that fans know and love.

Formed in 1984, The Offspring remains one of the best-selling punk rock bands ever, with over 40 million album sales globally, not to mention all the accolades to their name. Honestly, this band needs no introduction. So many of us grew up with their music; songs like ‘Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)’, ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’ and ‘Come Out and Play’ are still staples of the punk rock scene. Their signature sound and cheeky sense of humour are what continue to keep The Offspring a household name, and in this area, the record does not disappoint.

Let the Bad Times Roll is instantly recognisable, and the songs are catchy, especially mid-record track ‘Coming For You’, which is probably the catchiest of the album. And their well-known humour makes an appearance too, particularly in ‘We Never Have Sex Anymore’ another catchy hit. While humour of The Offspring is present throughout the record, the band also leave room to take on some heavy topics. Let the Bad Times Roll faces the tough stuff head on, songs like ‘Army of One’ and ‘Breaking These Bones’ look at mental illness, and the record overall considers the world at large. Reflecting on the current state of the world, singer Dexter Holland says, “I feel like we’re in a unique period in history where instead of our world leaders saying ‘we’re doing our best’ it’s more like they’re saying ‘fuck it’ and its really scary”, with Noodles adding, “Folks are saying, if it’s all going to Hell, we might as well make the most out of it, or at least go out swinging. ‘Let The Bad Times Roll!’” – a sentiment they have clearly taken to heart. Of the record, Holland says, it “is probably the most cathartic thing we’ve done”, adding that “The messages might be dark, but at the end what’s left is that communication is important, working through feelings is important and most of all, hope is important.”

I wanted to love this record more than I actually did. It has all the key ingredients to be a success, but I just didn’t fully connect with it. While the songs are catchy, they lack the longevity of their best-known hits. It would be interesting to see whether they hold up as well over time. While title track ‘Let the Bad Times Roll’ and album opener ‘This Is Not Utopia’ are enjoyable enough once you get into them, I must admit I wasn’t quite as enthralled as I hoped to be. ‘This Is Not Utopia’ felt a bit like jumping into the middle of a song and ‘Let the Bad Times Roll’ just missed the mark for me – it didn’t feel like it had the oomph I was looking for from a punk rock song, nor from one from a band with the caliber of The Offspring. While the record is a timely and entertaining entry, The Offspring have left themselves big shoes to fill, and I don’t think they quite nailed it this time. It just isn’t quite as memorable.