For all of the disturbances it causes, the political ineptitude and deceit of the last few years has proven fodder for punk inspiration; the rally against Trump and co. in addition to continuing frustrations with social inequity has led to some barrelling releases. It was a temptation So-Cal veterans The Offspring couldn’t ignore, forcing them back into the studio to record their first album since 2012’s ‘Days Go By’. ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ however indicates they were perhaps wiser to remain outside of the limelight, as their attempt to tap into the manic paranoia and fracturing of society misses the mark by some magnitude.
Rarely have Dexter Holland’s lyrics been so cliche, or the band as a whole revert to tropes worn thin before the group dropped their 1994 magnum opus, ‘Smash’. The faux-protest chorus of opener ‘This Is Not Utopia’ dilutes any earnest hostility with its inane repetition of “the roots” as Dexter chants “The roots of America / the roots of hysteria”. The use of lazy rhyming of couplets such as “Breakdown / takedown” on ‘Coming For You’ further blunt the impact of the band’s core messages, and are an unfortunately apt reflection of the listless chugging guitarist Noodles and co. enact throughout the record. ‘Hassan Chop’ is a welcome reprieve towards the end, introducing some of the relentless punk drive of the band at their best, but it does little to revive the rebellious ethos ‘Let The Bad Times Roll’ clearly strives for. Forged from our current volatile climate this may be; an appropriately cutting and volatile response, however, it certainly is not.