~ Maybe hanging out with Jello Biafra put the fun-loving spring in Offspring's step. Or perhaps it was just the
royalty checks, hot babes, and fast cars. Whatever the case, the band's fourth record, Americana, is its most lively
offering to date, replacing angst and rage with energy and sarcasm. The novelty single "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"
matches infectious riffing and shout-along vocals with fly-girl chants of "Give it to me, baby" and lyrics
about wannabe scenesters; and a storming punk-rock version of Morris Albert's "Feelings" sees the band
hitting a new level of, er, (in)sensitivity. Elsewhere, the humor is slightly more subtle; "She's Got Issues"
cops a new-wave guitar line from the Cars songbook, "The Kids Aren't Alright" opens like an Iron Maiden
anthem, and "Why Don't You Get a Job?" is a blatant reggae-style spoof of the Beatles' "Ob-La-Di,
Ob-La-Da." Musically, Americana offers no real revelations, but the songs are a bit craftier and more diverse
than the rest of the Offspring oeuvre, veering haphazardly between anthemic punk metal, blistering hardcore, and
near-psychedelic experimentation. --Jon Wiederhorn