Americana (The Offspring album)

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Americana
Studio album by The Offspring
Released November 17, 1998
Recorded July–September 1998
Studio
Genre Punk rock, skate punk, pop punk, ska punk[1]
Length 43:35
Label Columbia
Producer Dave Jerden
The Offspring chronology
Ixnay on the Hombre
(1997)
Americana
(1998)
Conspiracy of One
(2000)
Singles from Americana
  1. "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)"
    Released: November 9, 1998
  2. "Why Don't You Get a Job?"
    Released: March 30, 1999
  3. "The Kids Aren't Alright"
    Released: September 21, 1999
  4. "She's Got Issues"
    Released: October 19, 1999

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 huge commercial success, debuting at number six on the Billboard 200 with around 175,000 copies sold in its first week[2] and peaking at number two for two nonconsecutive weeks, spending 22 weeks nonconsecutive 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 15 million copies worldwide[3] with over 9 million copies certified, while going 5x platinum 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" being the band's 3 biggest hits to date all crossing over from mainstream rock and alt-rock radio to Top 40 pop radio stations and sharing the similar success to the singles from Smash. "She's Got Issues" was the last single from the album and it only received some moderate success and it was not as popular or successful as its 3 prior hit singles making the song an unsuccessful finish for the album. The singles (except "She's Got Issues") can also be heard on the band's Greatest Hits compilation. The Compact Disc version of the album also featured, "The Meaning Of Life" music video from the 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. It is also the last Offspring album to contain a hidden track.

Background and recording[edit]

After the unexpected success of Smash (1994), The Offspring were signed to Columbia Records in 1996, releasing the fourth studio album Ixnay on the Hombre (1997) to moderate success. Although Ixnay on the Hombre was not as well received as Smash, it managed simultaneous gold and platinum certification in the United States in April 1997. After touring in support of Ixnay on the Hombre, The Offspring began writing new material for their next album. Frontman Dexter Holland told Rolling Stone in August 1998 that, "I wanted to write a record that wasn't a radical departure from what we've done before. I feel like we have managed to change stuff up from Ignition to Smash to Ixnay. We're in a place where we more or less set the boundaries where we can do a lot of stuff without having to stretch it out farther ... and do a swing song or something."[4] Recording took place from July to September 1998 at Eldorado Recording Studios with producer Dave Jerden, who also produced Ixnay on the Hombre. On the album's direction, Holland told Guitar World, "The idea wasn't to reinvent the wheel. We expanded our horizons on our last record and that's okay, but I don't feel like you have to be a completely different band on every record."[5]

One of the songs, "Pay the Man", was actually recorded during the making of Ixnay on the Hombre, but was left out because it sounded too different from anything else the band had currently made[citation needed], in a dark, psychedelic rock/heavy metal sound, comparable to stoner rock. The structure of the song more resembles progressive rock (having no repetitive sections, and no continuous musical theme).[6] Holland also contributed the song "Too Much Drama" to The Vandals' album Hitler Bad, Vandals Good, which was released five months before Americana. The chorus melody is reused on this album on the song "Walla Walla."

Music[edit]

Americana contains themes of unhappy American lifestyles. Speaking of the album shortly after its release, Holland explained, "The songs on Americana aren't condemnations, they're short stories about the state of things and what we see going on around us. We want to expose the darker side of our culture. It may look like an episode of Happy Days out there in America, but it feels more like Twin Peaks."[7]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk 87%[8]
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly B+[9]
Kerrang! 5/5 stars[citation needed]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[10]
Robert Christgau A-[11]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[12]

Americana was released on November 17, 1998 and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart,[13] the highest position the band attained at the time, and so their highest thus far. Shortly after its release, the album was certified gold and then later platinum.[14]

The album received positive reviews, Michael Gallucci of Allmusic described the album as a "raucous ride through America as seen through the eyes of a weary, but still optimistic, young kid". Gallucci praised the music as "a hearty combination of poppy punk" and a "blend of salsa and alterna-rock sounds", stating the band's music was taking a different direction. The album received a rating of three out of five stars, while "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)", "Why Don't You Get a Job?", "The Kids Aren't Alright" and "She's Got Issues" earned The Offspring its heaviest airplay on MTV and radio stations to date.[1]

Packaging[edit]

The album's cover art, illustrated by Frank Kozik, features a blonde boy with an orthopedic boot seated on a swing holding a sand flea with a tentacle reaching out to him. On the back cover either the flea or the unseen tentacle creature appears to have eaten the boy, as only the boot remains on the swing. Pictures in the booklet are also illustrations for the songs (the tentacle of the cover also reappears in some of these pictures) and these pictures are also used on the single covers. In the booklet of the album, where the lyrics to "Pay the Man" are, there is an image that is extremely similar to a design of a poster for the No Control tour, featuring Bad Religion. Considering both pieces of art are by Kozik, it is likely that The Offspring requested this piece of art to be used in the booklet.[citation needed] The typeface used for the band's logo on the album cover, Friz Quadrata bold, has also been used by Bad Religion.

Some pressings of Americana are also enhanced CDs and contain the karaoke videos of "Staring at the Sun", "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" and "Why Don't You Get a Job?", and the previous MTV music videos from its predecessor, Ixnay on the Hombre.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Dexter Holland, except where noted.[15]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Welcome"     0:09
2. "Have You Ever"     3:56
3. "Staring at the Sun"     2:13
4. "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)"     3:08
5. "The Kids Aren't Alright"     3:00
6. "Feelings" (Parody/cover of Morris Albert's 1975 single) Morris Albert and Louis Felix-Marie Gaste, with lyrical parody by Dexter Holland 2:52
7. "She's Got Issues"     3:48
8. "Walla Walla"     2:57
9. "The End of the Line"     3:02
10. "No Brakes"     2:04
11. "Why Don't You Get a Job?"     2:52
12. "Americana"     3:15
13. "Pay the Man"     10:21
Total length:
43:37
  • Liner notes show that all songs are written by The Offspring.
  • "Pay the Man" ends at 8:08, followed by the hidden track "Pretty Fly (Reprise)" at 9:16. The track is a mariachi reprise of the song "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" that lasts for only a minute.
  • The main drum riff on "Pay the Man" is the same drum riff found on the title track of Smash during the acoustic version of "Come Out and Play".

Chart positions[edit]

Album[edit]

North America[edit]

Albums - Billboard (North America)
Year Chart Position
1999 U.S. Billboard 200 2
1999 Top Canadian Albums 3

Australia[edit]

Albums - ARIA (Australia)
Year Chart Position
1999 Australian ARIA Albums Chart 1

Singles[edit]

North America[edit]

Singles - Billboard (North America)
Year Single Chart Position
1998 "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" Modern Rock Tracks 3
1999 "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 53
1999 "Why Don't You Get a Job?" U.S. Billboard Hot 100 74
1999 "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" Mainstream Rock Tracks 5
1999 "Why Don't You Get a Job?" Mainstream Rock Tracks 10
1999 "She's Got Issues" Modern Rock Tracks 11
1999 "The Kids Aren't Alright" Modern Rock Tracks 6
1999 "The Kids Aren't Alright" Mainstream Rock Tracks 11
1999 "Why Don't You Get a Job?" Modern Rock Tracks 4
1999 "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" Rhythmic Top 40 31
1999 "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" Top 40 Mainstream 13
1999 "Why Don't You Get a Job?" Top 40 Mainstream 21
1999 "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" Top 40 Tracks 36
1999 "She's Got Issues" Mainstream Rock Tracks 19
2000 "She's Got Issues" Mainstream Rock Tracks 19

Australia[edit]

Singles - ARIA (Australia)
Year Single Chart Position
1998 "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" Australian ARIA Singles Chart 1
1999 "Why Don't You Get a Job?" Australian ARIA Singles Chart 2

End of decade charts[edit]

Chart (1990–1999) Position
U.S. Billboard 200[16] 75

Charts and certifications[edit]

Personnel[edit]

The Offspring[edit]

Other musicians[edit]

  • Carlos Gomez – Guitar
  • Bryan Carlstrom – Engineer
  • Annette Cisneros – Assistant Engineer
  • Derrick Davis – Flute
  • Chris "X-13" Higgins – Vocals (background)
  • Dave Jerden – Producer, Mixing
  • Eddy Schreyer – Mastering
  • Sean Evans – Art Direction
  • Frank Kozik – Artwork
  • Gabrial McNair – Horn
  • John Mayer – Vocals
  • Justin Beope – Artwork
  • Alvaro Macias – Biguela
  • Phil Jordan – Horn
  • Davey Havok – Vocals (background)
  • Jack Grisham – Vocals (background)
  • Nika Frost – Vocals (background)

References[edit]

General references[edit]

  • Americana (CD liner). The Offspring. Columbia Records. 1998. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Americana". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "The Offspring - Americana". Rockfreaks.net. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  4. ^ Turman, Katherine (August 26, 1998). "Offspring Prep for Next Album". Rolling Stone. 
  5. ^ Gill, Chris (November 1998). "The Song Remains the Same". Guitar World. 
  6. ^ Interviews: The Offspring
  7. ^ Chonin, Neva (November 22, 1998). "An All-`Americana' Punk Band / The Offspring keep social criticism at the fore of new CD". The San Francisco Chronicle. Frank J. Vega. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Album Review: Offspring, The - Americana". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  9. ^ Snierson, Dan (1998-11-20). "Americana Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  10. ^ "Top Pop Albums - Page 2". Los Angeles Times. December 3, 1998. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  11. ^ "CG: the offspring". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  12. ^ Kot, Greg (1998-11-17). "The Offspring : Americana : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  13. ^ "Americana's entry at Billboard.com". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2007-12-01. [dead link]
  14. ^ "RIAA Certification (type in "Offspring" in the artist box)". RIAA. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  15. ^ BMI Entry
  16. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Americana - Chart Positions" HitParade.ch.
  18. ^ "Associaчуo Brasileira de Produtores de Disco". ABPD. Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  19. ^ "Media Control Charts - The Offspring" Media Control Charts.
  20. ^ "アメリカーナ/オフスプリング-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック" [Highest position and charting weeks for Americana by Offspring]. oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Original Confidence. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  21. ^ "Polish Charts Database - Search for The Offspring - Americana" Polish Albums Chart.
  22. ^ "Chart Log UK (1994–2006) The O – Ozric Tentacles" Zobbel.
  23. ^ "Argentinian album certifications – The Offspring – Americana". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. 
  24. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1999 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  25. ^ "Austrian album certifications – The Offspring – Americana" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter The Offspring in the field Interpret. Enter Americana in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  26. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – The Offspring – Americana" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  27. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Offspring – Americana". Music Canada. 
  28. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
  29. ^ "French album certifications – Offspring – Americana" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  30. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Offspring; 'Americana')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  31. ^ "RIAJ > The Record > December 1999 > Certified Awards (October 1999)". Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  32. ^ "Certificaciones –" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. 
  33. ^ "Dutch album certifications – The Offspring – Americana" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  34. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – The Offspring – Americana". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. 
  35. ^ "Norwegian album certifications – The Offspring – Americana" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. 
  36. ^ "Polish album certifications – Offspring – Americana" (in Polish). Polish Producers of Audio and Video (ZPAV). 
  37. ^ "Discos de platino y oro 1999". El Mundo (in Spanish). Archived from the original on March 12, 2005. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1999" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  39. ^ "British album certifications – The Offspring – Americana". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Americana in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  40. ^ "American album certifications – The Offspring – Americana". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  41. ^ "Billboard Magazine: 300 Best Selling Albums". Billboard Magazine. 2009. 
Preceded by
Highlights from The Main Event
by Olivia Newton-John, John Farnham, and
Anthony Warlow
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
January 4 - February 7, 1999
Succeeded by
Come on Over by Shania Twain

External links[edit]