Let the Bad Times Roll – ‘The Offspring’ album review

Ash Anders, Radio DJ

As the 10th studio album for The Offspring, Let the Bad Times Roll was a struggle to produce. Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic to the bassist suing the band, this album took nearly 10 years to be released. This album consists of 14 relatively short tracks, including a previously released track and a cover.

This is Not Utopia: This song starts out with The Offspring’s signature loud sound, but the lyrics themselves are repetitive and monotonous. The meaning behind the lyrics is supposed to be about the issues with our country, and how there are no solutions to them. 

Let the Bad Times Roll: As the namesake single of this album, it has a very distinct sound. The chorus of this track is catchy and fun, with lyrics that follow closely to the theme of the previous track, especially regarding the 2016 election (“Gonna build a wall”, “ “Lock her up, lock her up”). 

Behind your Walls: The unique vocal sound at the beginning of this track adds beautifully to the sad meaning behind the lyrics. Lines such as “I’ve been thinking, Spend my time worrying, About the way you don’t seem the same” and “When the faces all look the same, And the angels cry out your name” make this a meaningful sad song that doesn’t necessarily make you feel sad in return. 

Army of One: Though this track is catchy, it lacks any emotion. The vocals attempt to make up for this by being fast and rhythmic, the mindless sound is an issue throughout the rest of the album as well. 

Breaking These Bones: The instrumentation of this track is nothing new, though the vocals in the chorus are interesting. Once again the lyrics are an odd mix of depressing and catchy, but nothing really pops out in this song.

Coming For You: The opening instrumentation of this song is interesting, but the vocals are plain and take away some of the ingenuity of the rhythmic clapping. The lyrics in the line  “Sold out, blow out, Donkey Kong” are odd, so overall this song is a drag to make it through. 

We Never Have Sex Anymore: This track is much more fun than the rest of the album. The vocals pop from the opening instrumentation, which is way more noticeable than the rest of the album. The song itself is less punk than the band’s typical sound, but with lyrics like “If you won’t love me, will you hate me? If you won’t violate me, Will you at least just aggravate me?” it may just be a good idea to start trying new styles. 

In the Hall of the Mountain King: This track is simply a rock cover of the classic orchestral music composed by Edvard Grieg in 1875. It is quite fun, speeding up to a frankly ridiculous tempo by the end, but unfortunately, it’s only a minute long. 

The Opioid Diaries: By the point in the album, the songs start getting closer to the typical fantastic punk sound the band is known for. This track shares an anti-drug message, presumably for younger listeners, though it isn’t as inspiring as the drug messages shared by Green Day in American Idiot. Although the lyrics aren’t necessarily better, the song is more enjoyable than previous tracks, namely “This is Not Utopia”

Hassan Chop: Once again a short track, it maintains the fast tempos set by the previous few tracks. It has really cool whispering vocals toward the end of the song, but for the most part, the vocalist is really just yelling. This track especially feels like a rip-off of Green Day. 

Gone Away: Starting with a slow piano solo, this is the signature ballad of the album. This track is an older song from their 1997 album Ixnay on the Hombre. It tells the emotional turmoil of lead singer Dexter Holland coping with his then-girlfriend’s tragic death. It is a beautiful, emotional track that contrasts the rest of the album greatly, but it was not really necessary on an album of this caliber. 

Lullaby: Lullaby also starts out slow with a guitar solo and leads to theatrical vocals repeating the phrase “Let the Bad Times Roll” from the same track. It supposedly bookends the album, and Holland describes it as “…listening to a phonograph record”.

Guerre Sous Couvertures: This is literally a french version of the previous track “We Never Have Sex Anymore”. Other than the obvious language changes, it is exactly the same. 

The Opioid Diaries (Live): As a live version of the previous song “The Opioid Diaries”, it opens with a lot of fun talking from the band before they perform the song. Something about live performances always adds more energy to a track, so this version of the song is much more enjoyable than the studio recording. 

The 10-year gap between albums may have put a dampener on the band’s well-known sound, but at least they have a cool album cover. The song titles reflect the apparent theme of badassery, but the tracks themselves do not. 

Spinnaker Radio rates this album 2 out of 5 sails.