‘Days Go By’, as a track title, holds high hopes for the Offspring’s ninth studio album – it seemed to imply that the band were aware that they, as middle-aged rockers, should maybe move on from nostalgia punk for teens. That maybe their music should mature, and grow. There are hints of where they came so close – before sadly falling short over and over again.
‘Dividing By Zero’ is one such track. A short slice of punk, it rejects the dated feel that often pervades the album and blasts attitude and anger. Why couldn’t it all be like this? ‘Hurting As One’ is another stand-out, aggressive and in your face. Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t adhere to the same standards.
‘OC Guns’, for example, is borderline embarrassing – it’s difficult to tell exactly where the band were going with this. A lot of record-scratch sound effects and a stylised reggae beat do nothing to help it, and the nonsensical lyrics are headache-inducing – “Tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki, whaddup holmes?” sings Dexter Holland, as though anyone has any idea what he means by that.
And of course, ‘Cruising California (Bumpin’ In My Trunk)’ has to be mentioned. Initially thought to be – or rather, hoped to be – a joke track when it was released, and it kind of is in the same way that ‘Pretty Fly’ was. Which means, really, that the Offspring will play it off as not to be taken seriously but they’ve still made the choice to include it on their album and it’s still getting radio play. So what’s the point? Cheesy ‘uh huh’s aside (have they really not moved on from those?), ‘Cruising California’ drags the entire album down to a lower level. Even as a so-called joke, there’s really nothing redeeming about this track in the slightest.
The band follow that up with an attempt at a more serious ballad, or as close as they ever come to one. ‘All I Have Left Is You’ is just bizarre. It’s difficult to know how to receive it – it’s a solid track, dependable, but generic. There’s nothing about it that couldn’t be done by any other band. Disappointingly, a lot of the songs seem to fall into that same trap – ‘Days Go By’ sounds like an offshoot of a Foo Fighters album, whereas ‘The Future Is Now’ is unmistakeably Rise Against influenced.
There’s a lot to appeal to old fans here – as evidenced by the unnecessary rerecording of ‘Dirty Magic’ – but it’s very unlikely that ‘Days Go By’ will gain the Offspring any new ones. All in all, the Offspring do what they do well, but it’s not ground breaking. Enjoyable, but nothing new.