Hammerhead (song)

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"Hammerhead"
Single by The Offspring
from the album Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace
Released May 6, 2008
Format CD[1] and digital download[2]
Recorded November 2006-April 2008 in Maui, Hawaii and Orange County, California
Genre Punk rock, skate punk
Length 4:38 (Album version)
4:13 (Radio Edit)
Label Columbia[3]
Writer(s) Dexter Holland
Producer(s) Bob Rock
The Offspring singles chronology
"Can't Repeat"
(2005)
"Hammerhead"
(2008)
"You're Gonna Go Far, Kid"
(2008)

"Hammerhead" is a song by American punk rock band The Offspring. The song is featured as the fourth track on the band's eighth studio album Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace (2008) and was released as the first single from the album. The song was first played at the Summer Sonic Festival in 2007. It peaked at No. 2 on the US Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.

The song was originally set to go to radio on May 6.[4][5] However, the world premiere of the song took place on May 2 at 6 PM PST on KROQ Los Angeles (their hometown station). On May 5, 2008, The Offspring's official website released a free download of the song MP3 format,[2] in much the same style as "Original Prankster" (from 2000's Conspiracy of One). To download it, users were required to provide an email address to receive a link to a high-quality MP3 of the track, which comes free of digital rights management.

Song meaning[edit]

According to singer/guitarist Dexter Holland, the lyrics are from the perspective of a gunman in a school shooting.[6] This is supported by the closing lyrics "and you can all hide behind your desks now/and you can cry teacher come help me". Lead guitarist Kevin 'Noodles' Wasserman elaborated on this, stating that the lyrics describe a gunman who believes that everything he does is for the greater good - "take a life that others may live". He is affected by a huge force (Hammerhead - "it hammers in my head") in his mind that makes him deluded.[7]

The official music video follows suit, alternating between the perspectives of the deluded shooter (who believes that he is a soldier) and that of the real world, often blending the two together. For instance, two children are shown tossing a "bomb" between one another, presumably simply a ball, while birds take the image of stealth fighters, and the shooter is consistently accompanied by the warped image of a military commander, presumably a personification of his military delusion.

There is also a Biblical reference to Psalm 23:4 through the lyrics "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me."

Music video[edit]

Video contest[edit]

The band created a competition for fans of the band to create their own video for the song with their own original material.[8] A YouTube group had been set up for this purpose. The band picked their favorite video and the winner received $10,000. The contest was only available to U.S. residents.

Video[edit]

The music video was directed by Teqtonik and debuted on IGN's website on June 9, 2008 11pm UTC.[9]

Reception[edit]

Reaction to the song has been generally positive. Describing it as a 'good harbinger' to base the album off of,[10] Michael Roffman of Consequence of Sound also said that the song 'works lyrically', and that 'Holland hasn't sounded quite this sincere since the very best Americana had to offer'. Richard Cromelin of the Los Angeles Times also claimed that "Hammerhead" had the strongest lyrics of the album,[11] and The Dreaded Press praised the song's 'hard-hitting drums' and Dexter's 'urgent howling' giving a 'surprisingly fresh' result.[12] However, Chris Fallon of AbsolutePunk.net claimed that it was too long[13] and Roffman later commented that 'uninspired riffs' resulted in a lack of enthusiasm from the song.

Track listing[3][edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Hammerhead"    
2. "Hammerhead" (Radio Edit)  

Chart performance[edit]

The song debuted at number five (based on airplay alone) on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks, making it the first song to debut on the top five of the Modern Rock Tracks since "What I've Done" by Linkin Park, and the band's highest debuting Modern Rock single. It went on to peak at number two for six weeks on that chart. It also debuted at number eighteen on the Mainstream Rock Tracks, peaking at number eight on that chart.

Chart (2008) Peak
position
Australian ARIA Charts 91
Canadian Hot 100 53
Polish Singles Chart[14] 45
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks 8
U.S. Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks 2
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles 5

In popular culture[edit]

  • The censored version of "Hammerhead" is featured in the soundtrack for the American football videogame Madden NFL 09.[15]
  • "Hammerhead" is featured as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game. It was released on June 17, 2008.[16] It was the first Offspring song to be released for the game.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Hammerhead". Rate Your Music. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b 'Free "Hammerhead" download available now' Offspring news item 05-05-08
  3. ^ a b "Offspring, The – Hammerhead". Discogs. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ The Offspring to release new single in May TuneLab Music article 03-28-2008
  5. ^ The Offspring announce album title; release date TuneLab Music article 04-10-2008
  6. ^ 'Spring Is Here Again' Article by James Cotterell
  7. ^ (French) 'The Grace, The Furor', Article by Eric Maggiori
  8. ^ 'Hammerhead Video Contest Announcement' Offspring news item 05-14-08
  9. ^ 'New album and music video to premiere online' Offspring news item 06-06-08
  10. ^ Album Review: Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace by Michael Roffman, 06-09-2008
  11. ^ New CDs: The Offspring and 2 pistols - Los Angeles Times by Richard Cromelin 06-17-2008
  12. ^ Album review: The Offspring - Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace by The Editor 06-13-2008
  13. ^ Offspring, The - Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace - Album Review by Chris Fallon, 06-10-2008
  14. ^ "Polish Singles Chart |". 
  15. ^ Hayward, Andrew. "Madden NFL 09 Soundtrack Revealed". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  16. ^ "Hammerhead by The Offspring". Rock Band. June 17, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 

External links[edit]