Americana (The Offspring album)

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Americana
TheOffspringAmericanaalbumcover.jpg
Studio album by The Offspring
Released November 10, 1998
Recorded
  • 1996 ("Pay the Man")
  • July–September 1998 (All songs except "Pay the Man")
Studio
Genre
Length 46:06
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 10, 1998. Following a worldwide tour in support of its previous album, Ixnay on the Hombre (1997), The Offspring commenced work on a new album.

Americana was a major success, debuting at number six on the Billboard 200 with around 175,000 copies sold in its first week[6] 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,[7][8] 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". 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 album's 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.[9] 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), which wasn't as successful as Smash. Although Ixnay on the Hombre was not as well received as Smash, it managed simultaneous gold and platinum certifications 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."[10] 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."[11] While most songs are the regular punk rock the band popularized, others such as the Latino-influenced "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" and the psychedelic "Pay the Man" add variety "so that there's enough in there so people don't get bored".[12] "Pay the Man" was even left off Ixnay on the Hombre for sounding too different from anything else the band had currently made at that time. The structure of the song more resembles progressive rock (having no repetitive sections, and no continuous musical theme).[13] 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."

Composition[edit]

"I was thinking about how American culture is distorted really. It's not Norman Rockwell anymore; it's Jerry Springer. It's not living on the farm, it's going to Burger King. So, I kind of expanded on that and made a lot of the songs kind of vignettes of my version of America in 1998"

—Dexter Holland on Americana's lyrics[12]

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."[14] He detailed that Americana was not thought right away as a concept album and "this really cool social statement", though once the band recorded a few songs complaining about 1998 America, "then we realized we had a theme".[15] Holland also explained that Americana served as "a commentary on American culture", satirizing hypocritical lives and political correctness.[16] One of the influences was The Jerry Springer Show, with the band even considering naming the album after the show's news tickers such as "Stripper Wars".[14] A major source of inspiration was seeing the people in Holland's hometown of Huntington Beach, such as the "wiggers" who were mocked in "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)". Despite dealing with aimlessness and disillusionment, derived from how the generation that had just got to adulthood was having problems in getting jobs and sustaining themselves, Holland declared that "I didn't want it to be a record that made you feel hopeless. At the end of the day I hope that you can get something positive out of it."[17]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AbsolutePunk 87%[18]
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly B+[19]
Kerrang! 5/5 stars[citation needed]
Los Angeles Times 2.5/4 stars[20]
Robert Christgau A-[21]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[22]

Americana was released on November 17, 1998 and peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 album chart,[23] 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.[24]

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] Americana is the 224th best selling album of all time according to Billboard as of 2009.[25] The album was included in Rock Sound's 101 Modern Classics list at number 79.[26] The album was included at number 23 on Rock Sound's "The 51 Most Essential Pop Punk Albums of All Time" list.[27] BuzzFeed included the album at number 15 on their "36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You F——ing Die" list.[28] NME listed the album as one of "20 Pop Punk Albums Which Will Make You Nostalgic".[29]

Packaging[edit]

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."[14] Kozik, who had 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.[30] On the booklet, which Holland described as "a little Kozik picture book", every song has its own accompanying illustration.[14]

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.[31]

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, 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
  • "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 online download release of Americana has "Pay the Man" as track 13 and "Pretty Fly (Reprise)" separately, with the reprise of "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" as track 14.
  • 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".

Charts and certifications[edit]

Personnel[edit]

The Offspring[edit]

  • Dexter Holland – Lead vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar on "Pay the Man"
  • Noodles – Lead guitar, backing vocals, rhythm guitar on "Pay the Man"
  • Greg K. – Bass, backing Vocals
  • Ron Welty – Drums

Additional musicians[edit]

  • Carlos Goméz – guitar on "Why Don't You Get a Job?" & "Pay the Man"
  • Derrick Davis – flute on "Why Don't You Get a Job?" & "Pay the Man"
  • Chris "X-13" Higgins – vocals (background) on "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"
  • Gabrial McNair – horn on "Why Don't You Get a Job?" & "Pay the Man"
  • John Mayer – vocals on "Why Don't You Get a Job?"
  • Alvaro Macias – viguela on "Why Don't You Get a Job?" & "Pay the Man"
  • Phil Jordan – horn on "Why Don't You Get a Job? & "Pay the Man"
  • Calvert DeForest - vocals (background) on "Why Don't You Get a Job?"
  • Heidi Villagran - vocals (background) on "Why Don't You Get a Job?"
  • Davey Havok – vocals (background) on "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)", "Why Don't You Get a Job?" & "Pay the Man"
  • Jack Grisham – vocals (background) on "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)", "Why Don't You Get a Job?" & "Pay the Man"
  • Nika Frost – vocals (background) on "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)", "Why Don't You Get a Job?" & "Pay the Man"

Production[edit]

  • Dave Jerden – producer, mixing
  • Bryan Carlstrom – engineer
  • Annette Cisneros – assistant engineer
  • Eddy Schreyer – mastering

Artwork[edit]

  • Sean Evans – art direction
  • Justin Beope – artwork
  • Frank Kozik – artwork

References[edit]

General references
  • Americana (CD liner). The Offspring. Columbia Records. 1998. 
Notes
  1. ^ a b c d e "Americana". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2007-12-01.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "allmusic" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ Spyder Darling. "Americana in Action: the Offspring at Irving Plaza, 12/8/98 (NY Rock Concert Review)". NY Rock. 
  3. ^ Diehl 2007, pp. 71–72.
  4. ^ Gemma Tarlach (November 16, 1998). "Offspring finds punk success in mainstream". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 1E. 
  5. ^ "THE OFFSPRING Americana, Columbia". Star-News. November 20, 1998. p. 4D. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ a b THE OFFSPRING HISTORY offspring.com/thehistory. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  8. ^ "The Offspring - Americana". Rockfreaks.net. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  9. ^ We'll be performing our album Americana in its entirety for the first time ever at the 10th Anniversary of Amnesia Rockfest! facebook.com/Offspring. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  10. ^ Turman, Katherine (August 26, 1998). "Offspring Prep for Next Album". Rolling Stone. 
  11. ^ Gill, Chris (November 1998). "The Song Remains the Same". Guitar World. 
  12. ^ a b Offspring Explores Theme Of 'Americana' in New Columbia Set, Billboard
  13. ^ Interviews: The Offspring
  14. ^ a b c d 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. 
  15. ^ White Punks on Dope
  16. ^ Dexter Holland's Americana Tour
  17. ^ How to Survive in Suburbia, Los Angeles Times
  18. ^ "Album Review: Offspring, The - Americana". AbsolutePunk. Retrieved 2013-06-19. 
  19. ^ Snierson, Dan (1998-11-20). "Americana Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  20. ^ "Top Pop Albums - Page 2". Los Angeles Times. December 3, 1998. Retrieved 2012-10-25. 
  21. ^ "CG: the offspring". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  22. ^ Kot, Greg (1998-11-17). "The Offspring : Americana : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  23. ^ "The Offspring Chart History". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  24. ^ "RIAA Certification (type in "Offspring" in the artist box)". RIAA. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  25. ^ "Billboard Magazine: 300 Best Selling Albums". Billboard. 2009. Retrieved January 31, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Rock Sound’s 101 Modern Classics: 101 - 75". Rock Sound Magazine. June 27, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2015. 
  27. ^ Bird, ed. 2014, p. 71
  28. ^ Sherman, Maria; Broderick, Ryan (July 2, 2013). "36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You F----ing Die". BuzzFeed. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  29. ^ "20 Pop Punk Albums Which Will Make You Nostalgic". NME.com. June 9, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2015. 
  30. ^ [2]
  31. ^ BMI Entry
  32. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Americana - Chart Positions" HitParade.ch.
  33. ^ "Associaчуo Brasileira de Produtores de Disco". ABPD. Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 
  34. ^ "Media Control Charts - The Offspring" Media Control Charts.
  35. ^ "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. 
  36. ^ "Polish Charts Database - Search for The Offspring - Americana" Polish Albums Chart.
  37. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/29597/OFFSPRING/
  38. ^ "Chart Log UK (1994–2006) The O – Ozric Tentacles" Zobbel.
  39. ^ 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. 
  40. ^ "Argentinian album certifications – The Offspring – Americana". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. 
  41. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1999 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  42. ^ "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
  43. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – The Offspring – Americana" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  44. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Offspring – Americana". Music Canada. 
  45. ^ a b "Offspring" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. 
  46. ^ "French album certifications – Offspring – Americana" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  47. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Offspring; 'Americana')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  48. ^ "RIAJ > The Record > December 1999 > Certified Awards (October 1999)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  49. ^ "Certificaciones – The Offspring" (in Spanish). Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. 
  50. ^ "Dutch album certifications – The Offspring – Americana" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  51. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – The Offspring – Americana". Recorded Music NZ. 
  52. ^ "Norwegian album certifications – The Offspring – Americana" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. 
  53. ^ "Polish album certifications – Offspring – Americana" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. 
  54. ^ "Discos de platino y oro 1999". El Mundo (in Spanish). Archived from the original on March 12, 2005. Retrieved July 14, 2012. 
  55. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1999" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  56. ^ "British album certifications – The Offspring – Americana". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Americana in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  57. ^ "American album certifications – The Offspring – Americana". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  58. ^ NO certyear WAS PROVIDED for GCC CERTIFICATION.
  59. ^ NO certyear WAS PROVIDED for EUROPEAN CERTIFICATION.
Bibliography
  • Bird, Ryan, ed. (September 2014). "The 51 Most Essential Pop Punk Albums of All Time". Rock Sound (London: Freeway Press Inc.) (191). ISSN 1465-0185. 
  • Diehl, Matt (2007). My So-Called Punk: Green Day, Fall Out Boy, The Distillers, Bad Religion---How Neo-Punk Stage-Dived into the Mainstream. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0312337810. 

External links[edit]

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