The Offspring

Conspiracy of One

by James Mann

13 November 2000

 

This is one of those records that are pointless to review. Fans of The Offspring’s brand of mall punk—a derivative, minor music form if ever one existed—will have already purchased (or more likely downloaded) this by now, and the rest of us, well, there’s nothing here that will sway us into giving it a listen. The first single from it, “Original Prankster” is just a rehash of the last big hit, “Pretty Fly For a White Guy”, this time with Redman on guest vocals. Same guitar riff, same chorus to be song by a crowd, yada yada yada. The fact that the song incorporates a touch of “Low Rider” by War, and is opened with Mike Love at a Beach Boys concert only reminds listeners above the age of 12 that in some circles it is possible to create GOOD pop music.

Which this certainly isn’t. Nor is it even Green Day-level punk. Where Green Day has moments that rise above the rest (such as the mind-melting “Brain Stew”), The Offspring makes music that is faux punk, faux pop, hell, just faux everything. Sorta hard to come across as young, loud and snotty on a major label like Sony one suspects. The tired theme of “us against them” doesn’t ring true, mainly because by this point, The Offspring IS the “them”, and can never return to the land of indie-cred or “Maximum Rock and Roll” correctness, which isn’t a great endorsement either, but at least contains a touch of credibility. While the record sounds great—producer Brendan O’Brien does wonders with what he was handed, and the guitars sound awesome—it’s all for naught.

cover art

The Offspring

Conspiracy of One

(Sony)
US: 14 Nov 2000

If your day involves any of the following aspects of our culture—skateboards, Napster and beer sold in “Tall Boys”—then by all means, purchase this CD. For the rest of us, well, we’ll have to fill up the disc changer with the Sex Pistols, the Beach Boys and the ultimate pop/punk band, the Buzzcocks. Because really, there is a difference between a diamond and a cubic zirconia. And I pity somewhat those who can’t see what it is.

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