The Offspring – Americana (1998)

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Americana is the fifth studio album by the American punk rock band The Offspring, released on November 17, 1998 (see 1998 in music). Following a worldwide tour in support of its previous album, Ixnay on the Hombre (1997), The Offspring commenced work on a new album. The music on the album marked a change, expanding their sound and exploring more pop punk elements.

Americana was a major commercial success, debuting at number six on the Billboard 200 with around 175,000 copies sold in its first week and peaking at number two for two nonconsecutive weeks, spending 22 nonconsecutive weeks in the top 10, becoming the Offspring’s highest ever chart position. It is the band’s second best selling album to their 1994 breakout Smash. Americana has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, with over 9 million copies certified, while achieving 5x platinum status alone in the United States for 5 million copies shipped.

The album contains the hit singles “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)”, “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” and “The Kids Aren’t Alright” which comprise the band’s 3 biggest hits to date. Crossing over from mainstream rock and alternative rock radio to Top 40 pop radio stations, the tracks enjoyed similar success to the singles from Smash. “She’s Got Issues,” the final single of the album, was moderately well-received, though not as successful as the 3 preceding hits. The singles (excluding “She’s Got Issues”) were included on the band’s Greatest Hits compilation. The CD version of the album also includes the music video for “The Meaning Of Life”, a song from their 1997 album Ixnay On the Hombre, playable on DVD ROM. Americana was nominated for the 1999 MTV Europe Music Awards for “Best Album”, but lost to Boyzone’s By Request. The Offspring supported the album with a worldwide tour and appeared at the infamous Woodstock 1999, where their performance was broadcast live on pay-per-view television. The band played Americana in its entirety for the first time in 2015, at Amnesia Rock Fest. It is also the last Offspring album to contain a hidden track. (by wikipedia)

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With integrity intact and a hearty combination of poppy punk and wit throughout, the Offspring’s fifth album is a raucous ride through America as seen through the eyes of a weary, but still optimistic, young kid. Riffs on political correctness, ’70s radio fodder, and suburban disquiet are spread thick on Americana. If the band’s targets seem a bit simple and predictable, its music rarely is. The SoCal roots aren’t played to a fault, the blend of salsa and alterna-rock sounds natural, and the Offspring pretty much laugh at their culture, as well as themselves, the entire time. Best track is “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy),” which manages to bridge Def Leppard and Latin hip-hop (and the musical timeline they represent) and, in the process, disrobes Middle America’s average white teen’s quick fascination with and instant disposability of a once-regional heritage. With Americana, the Offspring are merely contributing their part. (by Michael Gallucci)

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Artist Frank Kozik was hired to do the artwork for the album as Holland found that his concert tour posters “had all the connotations we associated with Americana: very glossy, innocent and 1950s, but with a twisted aspect.” Kozik, who Frankhad known the singer for a long time, was reluctant to work for the band due to the reception his fans would have, eventually demanding $75,000 to do the Americana illustrations. The album’s cover art features a blonde boy with an orthopedic boot seated on a swing holding a sand flea with a tentacle reaching out to him. Kozik had originally done said illustration for a Nebraskan band, Ritual Device, and reused it as the cover of his book Man’s Ruin: The Poster Art Of Frank Kozik. On the booklet, which Holland described as “a little Kozik picture book”, every song has its own accompanying illustration. (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Dexter Holland (vocals, guitar)
Greg K. (bass, background vocals)
Noodles (guitar, background vocals)
Ron Welty (drums)
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Derrick Davis (flute)
Nika Frost (background vocals)
Carlos Gomez (guitar)
Jack Grisham (background vocals)
Davey Havok (background vocals)
Chris “X-13” Higgins (background vocals)
Phil Jordan (horn)
Alvaro Macias (biguela)
John Mayer (vocals)
Gabrial McNair (horn)

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Tracklist:
01. Welcome (Holland) 0.09
02. Have You Ever (Holland) 3.56
03. Staring At The Sun (Holland) 2.13
04. Pretty Fly (for a White Guy) (Holland) 3.08
05. The Kids Aren’t Alright (Holland) 3.00
06. Feelings (*) (Albert/Gaste/Holland) 2.52
07. She’s Got Issues (Holland) 3.48
08. Walla Walla (Holland) 2.57
09. The End Of The Line (Holland) 3.02
10. No Brakes (Holland) 2.04
11. Why Don’t You Get A Job? (Holland) 2.52
12. Americana (Holland) 3.15
13. Pay The Man (Holland) 10.21

(*) (Parody/cover of Morris Albert’s 1975 single)

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