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23 Best Songs by The Offspring: What Are the Pop-Punk Band’s Greatest Hits?

The Offspring pop-punk band

The Offspring achieved monumental success in the 1990s. It was all astonishing at first. But it was sustainable. They followed it all up by releasing songs after songs that were inescapable hits and which lodged themselves deep into American pop culture.

The story of The Offspring is that of pop-punk songwriters capable of producing riotous but polished hooks that not even radio, television or large festivals could ignore.

I’ve always had a soft spot for The Offspring. To me, they’re far from a guilty pleasure; they’re a rock band that’s hard to resist. Their entire discography deserves attention. That’s why I am looking at the best songs today I’m looking at the 23 best songs by The Offspring.

The Offspring pop-punk band best songs

“Kick Him When He’s Down” (1992)

The Offspring have always managed to inject their songs with enough energy to light up a power plant. “Kick Him When He’s Down” is one of the highlights of their second album, “Ignition.” The song finds a nastier, slightly more aggressive band. But, while the production is not as glossy as it would soon become, the band’s sharpest hooks are being developed. “Kick Him When He’s Down” is the first song worthy of inclusion on The Offspring’s Greatest Hits, a collection that the band was slowly building.

“Jennifer Lost the War” (1989)

Few could have predicted the rise of The Offspring based on their 1989 self-titled debut. What it did show, however, was that the California punk band was in tune with the philosophy of punk rock. “Jennifer Lost the War” is a powerful song in which Bryan “Dexter” Holland delves into issues related to violence and abuse.

“Beheaded” (1989)

Like many other pop-punk bands (Green Day, Rancid or Blink-182), The Offspring send their debut figuring out what kind of band they are. Regardless, it sounds like they have a good time finding out. “Beheaded” lets them experiment with a horror-punk, almost Misfits-like format. The song tells a gory story, and the topic was suggested by original drummer James Lilja.

“Let The Bad Times Roll” (2021)

I suppose that The Offspring are too famous at this stage for a return to avoid their most notable traits. “Let The Bad Times Roll” is the lead single off the band’s 2021 return record. And while it strategically avoids punk-rock edginess, it’s got a bit of a groove and pop hooks that, I confess, are relatively satisfying.

(Can’t Get My) Head Around You (2003)

It’s not unfair to call songs by The Offspring formulaic. But it’s important to remember that they’d figured out the formula on their own and polished it with each new album. “(Can’t Get My) Head Around You” is written with “Starring at the Sun,” one of their best songs, in mind. However, it’s a mighty memorable punk jingle.

“Splinter” wasn’t a colossal hit akin to its predecessors. But at least it added a few fresh hits to be played live to fans. At this stage in their careers, The Offspring’s logo and t-shirts were themselves ingrained in American popular culture.

The Offspring pop-punk band best songs

“You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” (2008)

The Offspring had completed the rockstar journey. They now had enough hits to allow them to tour arenas for the rest of their careers. All they needed to do now was enjoy themselves and, occasionally, come up with another tune to add to their live setlists. “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” fits in snuggly. That’s great because little else off the album “Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace” manages to do that.

“Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?” (2008)

The Offspring sound like they’ve saved up on a song like “Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?” until they were damn sure that they had enough pop-punk hits to satisfy an arena crowd. “Kristy, Are You Doing Okay?” is unlikely the kind of song that they’d like to hear. This is a bit of a shame because it clearly is the kind of emo-rock ballad that frontman Dexter Holland feels inclined to write. The Offspring don’t have many love songs, but this could qualify as one, as well as a late-career comeback hit.

“Days Go By” (2012)

Every pop-punk band has to grow up eventually. The Offspring were just less incentivized to do so than others. The album “Days Go By” sees Dexter Holland uncharacteristically taking stock of life. “Days Go By” is a mid-paced modern-rock number. But it’s nice, I guess, to see these kids turn out alright.

“Gotta Get Away” (1994)

Many a punk-rock band got to record an album for a major record label in the 1990s. Bad Religion’s Epitaph took on The Offspring and provided them with some resembling a production budget. No other pop-punk band took advantage of this luxury in the same way as The Offspring. “Gotta Get Away” featured grunge-like tones that fit nicely with the music of the time and gave the band one of their first breaks. If nothing else happened, the band could have coasted by on playing “Smash” songs for the rest of their career.

“Gone Away” (1997)

On “Ixnay on the Hombre,” the band embraces its hard-rock and heavy-metal leanings. It got them on the list of bands, that nu-metal and industrial groups, playing top festivals. Naturally, they pack the songs with plenty of hooks. A track like “Gone Away” allowed the group to transition from punk to alternative rock and back again.

“All I Want” (1997)

After all, the Offspring was a band born out of the California hardcore punk scene. On “All I Want,” the band proves they have no trouble getting their sizable new audience to join a circle pit. “All I Want” and the songs on the album are, in some ways, a return to the band’s more rock-oriented roots.

“Why Don’t You Get a Job?” (1998)

Like it had happened in 1994, by 2000, The Offspring were inescapable. This was especially true if you were watching MTV, where the band’s colourful music videos were not near-permanent rotation.

No punk band has done as well with a glossy track production as The Offspring. “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” might be a rewrite of The Beatles‘ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” But it’s also an inescapable earworm that got the band back on the radio.

The Offspring have had no number-one hits on the Billboard chart. That in itself is surprising. Still, “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” spent a whopping 74 weeks in the charts.

And, yes, that was an era in which rock bands were successful. Still, this The Offspring track, with a little help from Paul McCartney, is one of the best hits of the period.

“Come Out Swinging” (2000)

It was unclear how many actual punks were buying The Offspring albums. One thing was evident, and that was that the records were indeed flying off the store shelves. The new fans needed some education in skatepunk and hardcore just as well. This is what is provided on “Come Out Swinging.”

“A Million Miles Away” (2000)

You could call The Offspring bonafide pop hitmakers. That is what, in reality, the kind of band that they are. On songs like “A Million Miles Away,” they show they can take just about any metal and punk guitar tone and turn it into a potential arena anthem.

“Defy You” (2001)

“Defy You” may sound like an all-too-obvious song title from a punk-rock group. It may sound like the kind of song a movie studio orders from the only rock band they know. And it may sound like the kind of song that The Offspring might strategically keep off a studio album. Yes, it’s likely both of those things. But it’s also hard to deny that, at this stage, The Offspring flavours went along with just about any recipe.

“Staring at The Sun” (1998)

“Staring at The Sun” is one of the greatest songs released by The Offspring. Its inclusion on “Americana” served three purposes. First, it showed people they could still play hardcore-punk-inspired music if they wanted. Secondly, it showed that they could use this format as well as straight pop and create catchy tunes. Lastly, it was an obligatory soundtrack to the circle pits started at the band’s live shows.

It wasn’t a single, but it’s considered one of Offspring’s greatest hits among fans. Which helps make a case for “Americana” as The Offspring’s best album.

“Hit That” (2003)

An album by The Offspring that featured no hit singles would immediately have been perceived as a failure. This would be the belief even though by 2003, few pop-punk bands were using fast riffs and dirty satire to earn success.

“Hit That” doubles down on the jokes and the silliness. It’s one of the band’s most memorable songs. It’s also one of their ludicrous, featuring an 80s-styled synth line and proclaiming, “Sex is a weapon/It’s like a drug.”

“Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” (1998)

Just like Blink-182, The Offspring injected a lot of songs with their humour. Their brand of comedy, however, I suppose, had more in common with the kind of jokes a dad tells his former frat buddies. All of this, however, translated well to MTV.

“Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),” with its catchy chorus, shiny video, Ron Welty’s dependable drumming and lyrics deploring wannabe rapper dudes, was a smash. For better or for worse, it defined rock in the early 2000s. No pop-rock playlist of the era is complete without “Pretty Fly.”

“Americana” also answered critics believing that their earlier success could’ve well just been a flash in the pan. Several hit albums and decades later, The Offspring were still a large crowd draw.

“Want You Bad” (2000)

By the near-turn of the century, The Offspring’s Dexter and Noodles knew what they were good at. And they were finally ready to embrace it. “Want You Bad” is one of the most direct and catchy numbers the band has ever produced. It provided a well-needed dose of energy on the TV and radio programs that still featured The Offspring, but not many of their contemporaries (blink-182 or Green Day were exceptions).

“Original Prankster” (2000)

“Original Prankster” is the follow-up to “Come Out and Play.” This one features Redman doing the hook. And it was, predictably, a giant of a hook.

Yes, it’s exactly what you’d expect from The Offspring. But, listen closely, and you’ll discover a band that had become Brian Wilson-like proficient in writing pop-punk jingles. It’s one of Offspring’s greatest hits.

The Offspring pop-punk band

“Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated)” (1994)

I resisted liking this song as much as I could. Many might have considered The Offspring’s brand of pop-punk silly. But in many ways, they were the natural continuation of the work pioneered by Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.

Here was a band adding silly comedy over distorted guitars and hooky vocals. Noodles’ guitar riff to “Come Out and Play” remains a highlight in the band’s discography and, arguably, the band’s most famous songs.

“The Kids Aren’t Alright” (1998)

“The Kids Aren’t Alright” was one of the best singles in years by the California quartet. It helped show that the band’s songs could hit a serious tone. The title is a play on The Who‘s “The Kids Are Alright” and became one of The Offspring’s greatest hits. This starkly contrasted with the humorous videos for which they were best known. “The Kids Aren’t Alright” hints at the band’s opening albums, including songs like “Jennifer Lost the War.” It also proves that the band’s music had more weight than it initially appeared to.

“Self Esteem” (1994)

The 1990s and 2000s have many anthems for teenage self-loathing. “Teenage Dirtbag” or “The Middle.” None are as immediate or funny as “Self Esteem.” the song functions as a brilliant pop-punk SNL sketch.

Guitarist Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman shows the Seattle kids some new tricks. And the music video made Dexter’s braids, later the subject of a fight with Axl Rose, and the band’s sound internationally famous. The “Smash” album sold by the boatloads, over 11 million copies, making The Offspring one of biggest selling pop-punk bands of the 90s and likely one of the greatest too.

About author

Eduard Banulescu is a writer, blogger, and musician. As a content writer, Eduard has contributed to numerous websites and publications, including FootballCoin, Play2Earn, BeIN Crypto, Business2Community, NapoliSerieA, Extra Time Talk, Nitrogen Sports, Bavarian FootballWorks, etc. He has written a book about Nirvana, hosts a music podcasts, and writes weekly content about some of the best, new and old, alternative musicians. Eduard also runs and acts as editor-in-chief of the alternative rock music website Mr. Banulescu is also a musician, having played and recorded in various bands and as a solo artist.
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