About 9 months ago, I floated an idea of a night out that really only exists in my own head. The idea of a club night with a singular band as the focus is not a new one, there is a club in Manchester that regularly hosts after-parties after gigs held all over the city.
My idea is a more interactive version of this, averaging out the preferences of the patrons in attendance for a more pleasing and well rounded evening. Or that's the intention. There's a chance that the evening would end up exactly the same as if the DJ had just picked up a greatest hits CD. After all, the clue being in the name, those are their most popular songs.
Plus, a more horrifying alternative would be some hipster affair full of album tracks and demos from before they got their record deal and "sold out". God, I hate pretentiousness.
When I completed my first list earlier in the year, it was based entirely on my own personal tastes. In an evolution of this project, I have taken input from my lovely wife, as The Offspring were the last band we saw live. This is still my list, but has her input in the matter of tiebreakers and order etc.
Preamble aside, The Offspring are a fantastic band, and were directly responsible for starting my love of music. Listening to Americana at the age of 13 whilst working in my brother's kitchen was a revelation for me, although I have to admit that at first I didn't understand music that well. I had an irrational hatred of Green Day for about 6 months because I thought it was like football, and they were a rival band. Luckily, the stupidity of that idea dawned eventually.
As always with these sorts of things, the below list is subjective, and your favourite songs may not appear here, and if they do it most likely won't be in the same order, but hopefully you gain some enjoyment from this nevertheless.
10: You're Gonna Go Far, Kid - Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace
A fun, upbeat song to start our list, towards the end of what could be called the band's original heyday. A real crowd pleaser of a song that as promised, had everyone dancing.
9: One Fine Day - Conspiracy of One
The first song on this list that really has a personal connection. The song itself is incredibly catchy, and like a lot of their work, a satirical version of the party boy lifestyle. The personal aspect just comes from fond memories of listening with my brother, not even specific events, just good and peaceful times.
8: Gotta Get Away - Smash
Back in the days that Dexter was rocking dreds, the Offspring of Smash were a different sound to the happy-go-lucky pop punk band that became so popular in later years. They had a heavier sound on this than most of their singles, and works really well as a contrast. The guitar conveys a sense of being panicked way before the lyrics let you know, and for a song that was rushed out to fill out the album it is among their best work.
7: This is Not Utopia - Let The Bad Times Roll
So buying a vinyl record last year allowed me early access to purchase tickets for Royal Blood's tour, but I didn't own a record player. I did after a gift from my wife, and she also got me a neon orange copy of Let The Bad Times Roll, the first new Offspring album for 9 years. It's a good album, and the jewel is the opening track. The boys are in fine form on this one, the beat is catchy with an upbeat tempo, and the repetitive lyrics will stick in your head for days.
6: Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) - Americana
If you've got any idea what it is that I'm talking about here, then you know this song. If you're a fan then there is a good chance that this is the song that made you a fan, it did for me. The first thing that you notice is that Noodles is a really, really good guitarist. The song is fun and memorable, and the story that it takes you on is both believable and hilarious. There might not be a more fun song out there.
5: Come Out and Play - Smash
For a man as smart as Dr. Dexter Holland Phd, he certainly does portray a convincing caricature of someone making bad choices. This tongue-in-cheek look at kids falling into gang culture has the message that these things can only end badly, and pairs this with memorable and unique guitar riffs, the end result being a great song.
4. Defy You - Orange County Soundtrack
I've never actually seen the film, but the soundtrack is banging. Crazy Town, The One by Foo Fighters (arguably their best song), and this little ditty. More rock then pop punk, the music is great and the lyrics, whilst not as fun as others, are uplifting and full of spirit. There's a reason that despite not being on an album this song still makes their greatest hits.
3: Million Miles Away - Conspiracy of One
I've been staring at this one for over an hour now. This is a magnificent song, and deserves a place this high on the list, but the foremost reason is how it makes you feel. The music is typical high energy Offspring, but the lyrics are both sad and inspiring, and 15 year old me found meaning in the words.
2: Self Esteem - Smash
We are really into the good stuff now. When compiling this list I fought myself for so long over whether this was going to be #1 or #2. Self Esteem is the tale of a man that is in an unfulfilling, one sided relationship. He knows it is bad, but he can't find the strength to quit it. But the really important thing is that the song absolutely slaps. It is a triumph of pop punk fun and great music.
1: (Can't Get My) Head Around You - Splinter
Making this list was so much fun. It was good to give myself the opportunity, and the permission, to trawl back through the music that helped define my youth. I may have spent an age tinkering with the order, one way and then another, but it finally came with the satisfying feeling that once I finished, I knew it was right. This is the best song The Offspring have to offer. It only clocks in at 2:14, but it fits so much into such a short space of time. a short story about recognising that you sometimes can't work people out.
So that's the end of this list. If you have any interest, check out some of these songs, they might bring you some joy. If you have any opinions on tracks, please let me know.