Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is It Over Yet?

Pop Punk has always existed on the border of legitimacy and farce. For every Buzzcocks record, there was an Enema of the State. And for the bands that have always lived on that precipice, such as the Offspring, balancing the tight rope of mainstream acceptance and satisfying the best and worst of their fanbase has led to a variety of comic, terrible, and comically terrible results. The following is perhaps the most perfect of the last.

Show me how to lie
you're getting better all the time
And turning all against the one
Is an art that’s hard to teach

Another clever word
Sets off an unsuspecting herd
And as you step back into line
A mob jumps to their feet

"You're Gonna Go Far Kid." (Offspring - MySpace)

(Alternatively Panic! At The Disco's Myspace, where the album version's lack of an intro makes the point even clearer)

The troubling part of this comparison isn't that the Offspring ripped off Panic! At the Disco, it's that they somehow took the concept of the speak/sing diatribe and made it worse. To start, they copped the theme of deceit and made it even more painfully obvious, turning it from the agonizingly emo to the vacuously vague social criticism of 90's California punk. If there's one thing less interesting than hearing breathy teenage breakup angst, it's angsty teenage Soc 101.

Still, these things might be forgivable for the backbeat, the melody, and the powerchords, because that's pop punk's point, anyways. But that's where the wheels fall off. Assuming you're still reading this having listened to both of these songs, there's not much more I need to say: the vocal phrasing is identical; the only thing keeping the verse drum parts from being carbon copies is Panic's willingness to mix it up a bit, and the emo kids' instrumentation is infinitely more interesting than the Offspring's, which gets through the words with little more than stabbed powerchords. But I suppose finding room for one of the members of the trinity ain't bad. However much I loved Ixnay on the Hombre and Smash in my adolesence, time comes to admit they were never the Buzzcocks.

First there was the unlistenable kitsch of Pretty Fly for a White Guy, then the blatant theft of the most godawful Beatles song, and then a string of forgettable attempts to recapture the cultural zeitgeist. But this is enough, this is where we have to draw the line. This is Offspring's own "Greatest Man That Ever Lived," their Cut the Crap, their Return of Saturn. This is the proof that the band has finally outlived its usefulness and need never be heard from again. Find other projects, fade quietly into that good night, take up needlework or woodcraft. But please: no more Offspring.

1 comment:

Brendan K. said...

Speaking of pop punk. I'm goin' to see the Ergs on Tuesday. Whoo!!!