MAPLEJET REVIEWS: The Offspring - Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace (2008)


Jun 26 2008, 4h39

REVIEW – The Offspring – Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace

Long time ago, somewhere in Orange County, a band named The Offspring was entertaining crowds. They gained more fame once on Bad Religion’s Epitaph label with Ignition. The follow-up Smash gave The Offspring mainstream success and currently holds the honor of being the top-selling album in the world…I said it folks…INDIE! Throughout the 90s and 2000s, The Offspring generated hits and plenty of awesome albums.

But then came Splinter, a total mess with not flow. Useless tracks like Neocon and When You’re In Prison brought the album down despite good songs like Hit that and Da Hui. Some time passed, and The Offspring soon turned to producer Bob Rock.

Bob Rock…responsible for Metallica’s excellent Metallica album…but also behind St. Anger. I’M MADLY IN ANGER WITH YOU!! I’M MADLY IN ANGER WITH YOU!!

Responsible for “sell out” albums from Our Lady Peace and Lostprophets.

But The Offspring was literally on life support. 4 ½ years have past since Splinter’s release in 2003. Back then, was on it’s last strings, was starting to rise, and the pop punk parade led by Fall Out Boy began. The music scene has changed drastically with more piracy and a less chance of going platinum or gold in the United States today. One would think Bob Rock would ruin The Offspring once more and set up their gravestone.

Lots of planning when into making the album. The Offspring debuted several track at concerts in 2007 and 2008 prior to release of the album. And then, June 17, 2008. The Offspring releases their 8th album Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace. And like that, Bob Rock delivers, bringing back The Offspring with more mature songs and some new elements. With several tones from other albums, there’s something for every single Offspring fan:

01 – Half-Truism

The Offspring opens with an actual track. No fancy skits…no silly songs, just a plain old fuck yeah. Half-Truism opens up with energy…though some have seen some similarities with My Chemical Romance’s Helena, the song is in a different league. 10/10.

02 – Trust in You

Ahh…we’re brought back into the Smash days with this cool track. Most likely will not be a single, but for fans of Smash, this one will probably be your favorite. Probably one of The Offspring’s best tracks in a while. 10/10

03 – You're Gonna Go Far, Kid

And this track folks is what assured me that the album was going to be a blast. It takes in some dance beats, but with some Offspring flavor. The parts before the chorus has some traces of Muse. But what really gets this song going is the line “Dance Fucker Dance” (no relations to Dance Dance by Fall Out Boy). The song is very likely to be the next single, and we should expect a music video with the band themselves…possibly similar to Gotta get away. 10/10

04 – Hammerhead

And here we go. Probably the least mainstream lead off single that The Offspring has released. Unlike most of their singles, there isn’t any traces of pop anywhere…in fact, it’s a mix of pure and with influences from Nirvana. The song supposedly is about warfare, but is really about school shootings as revealed near the end. The music video though…let’s just say…it could have been better. I mean rotating pigs, pile of soldiers, images that don’t flow well, and of course, the band isn’t there. We got to see their faces for once you know. Anyway, classic Offspring song…here’s hoping it charts at #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks, but you know, Coldplay is coming up fast and… 10/10. BANG BANG BANG IT HAMMERS IN MY HEAD!

05 – A Lot Like Me

Now, the 30 second preview was discouraging and felt like a Coldplay clone song. Not at all. It may have piano elements, but you can clearly hear the punk sound from Gone Away. Quite possibly one of the best songs by them in a while, and it has pure potential as a single accompanied by an epic video (if they are smart). Some say the song shares some similarities with Linkin Park’s What I’ve Done, but IMO, it’s more harder and powerful. 10/10

06 – Takes Me Nowhere

Surprisingly, this track also rocks too. Maybe not as much as the first 5 tracks, but it’s pretty good. Kind of shares some traits from Conspiracy of One, but not much. 9.5/10

07 – Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?

Ok, here’s the first lowlight of the album. “Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?” is another ballad about a girl who was abused when young. However, it feels kind of dull and is an attempt to match Green Day’s Wake Me Up When September Ends. This isn’t a track I’ll be blasting a lot, and I’m glad that The Offspring didn’t choose to release Kristy as a second single. 5/10

08 – Nothingtown

Well, while Nothingtown is catchy and has a good guitar riff during the Bridge, it pales in comparison to the first 5 tracks. Still, it ain’t that bad of a song and definitely beats out most of Splinter, and poor CoO tracks like denial, revisted and Damnit, I Changed Again. 8/10

09 – Stuff Is Messed Up (Or…Shit Is Fucked Up

Now, on every album, there’s this one track that is badass and fun. Bad habit, Cool To Hate, Americana, One Fine Day, just to mention a few. For Rise and Fall, THIS IS THE BADASS TRACK. Well as the song implies, it’s about how the world is seriously…fucked up. And everything about pop culture is compacted into a fast spoken line by Dexter:

Shopping Sprees, RPG’s, Ecstasy, Atrophy, Genocide, Pimp my ride, Politize, Euphemize, Injustice everywhere, Apathy, I don’t care, Hurricanes, Climate change, Huh!

Therapy, I won’t tell, Rehab and LOL, Worldwide calamity, TV Reality, Euthanize, supersize, Death squads and boob jobs, VIP infamy, Gratify instantly

The lyrics and style makes it probably the best track on the album. 10/10

10 – Fix You

Nope…This is not a Coldplay cover, but it’s another , relying on acoustic guitars and pianos. The title “Rage and Grace” is mentioned in this song. It appears the song is about fixing up damaged relationships. Unfortunately, this is probably the least Offspringish song ever made along with The Worst Hangover Ever. And honestly even as a piano ballad, it could have been done better. Once again, you hear traces of Green Day’s Wake Me Up. 6/10

11 – Let’s Hear It for Rock Bottom

This is the song on the album, and it’s still a little original. During the verses, a ska/reggae like sound plays. The song is about well…hitting rock bottom. While the chorus is a little weak, the bridge portion/breakdown is the best part of the song, and all and all, it’s a decent song. The fade out stings though. 9/10

12 – Rise and Fall

This is the title track for the album…also the closer…and unfortunately, it’s weak. First off, as everyone probably could figure out, it’s virtually a clone of Green Day’s American Idiot. Unfortunately, it’s very inferior, but still listenable. American Idiot itself wasn’t a great song to begin with. Easily the weakest song on the album. 3/10

13 – O.C. Life

And for the Japanese, they get a bonus track…always getting the bonus stuff. And it’s a shame, because this song (or cover if I’m correct) kick ass. It’s straight-out punk rock that past Offspring fans will like. You may want to download this song if you’re a die hard fan. 10/10

All and all, this was a huge improvement over Splinter and Conspiracy of One. I will give this a 9.5/10 mainly for the tracks it delivers. It does lose ½ point though for some American Idiot-influences near the end. However, Rise and Fall doesn’t sound at all like Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte, or any other pop punk clone that has been revered by many. My only worry is that it won’t see commercial success like past albums while the latest Nickelback and Fall Out Boy clone sees mass success.

Now, one final word. If you’re trying to get another Ignition or Smash…well, it just ain’t happening. Bands shouldn’t make carbon copies of album. The Offspring needs to change…and they’ve been doing it for a while. If you enjoyed the album a lot but haven’t purchased it, please do so.

<B>FINAL RATING</b>: 9.5/10

Related artists: MetallicaRHCPSOADblink-182Linkin ParkNirvanaFoo FightersSum 41


  • maplejet

    Should also let you know that you can listen to the full album legally on their imeen site:

    Jun 26 2008, 4h46
  • GrantRS

    So you finally got round to reviewing it in full? I had very similar thoughts, but never made a comparison to Muse. Might've rated A Lot Like Me a little lower and Rise and Fall a little higher, but otherwise I pretty much agree on most counts. The best track on Splinter though was Lightning Rod by a long way. Hit That was a bit of a gimmick. Catchy? Yes. Enjoyable? Yes. But still a gimmick. Much like Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) or Why Don't You Get a Job?. Incidentally, the best track on Americana was The Kids Aren't Alright which is probably my favourite Offspring track, and one that I love to play on my guitar when I'm randomly noodling* around sometimes. *Apologies for the pun

    Jun 27 2008, 10h15
  • maplejet

    Well, song-by-song review can give a listener a look at what would be on the album. Later reviews though will probably take in other elements. I just wanted to review RAFRAG before I forget. I got to review Disturbed's new one this weekend and maybe one more in my collection next week.

    Jul 2 2008, 13h45
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