The Kids Aren't Alright

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"The Kids Aren't Alright"
Single by the Offspring
from the album Americana
ReleasedSeptember 21, 1999[1]
Songwriter(s)Dexter Holland
Producer(s)Dave Jerden[6]
The Offspring singles chronology
"Why Don't You Get a Job?"
"The Kids Aren't Alright"
"She's Got Issues"
Alternative cover

"The Kids Aren't Alright" is a song by the Offspring. It is the fifth track from the band's fifth studio album, Americana (1998), and was released as its third single. It became another top 10 hit on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart.

The song was played over the end credits of Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage. The song was used in the opening scene of the film The Faculty and appears on the soundtrack album.[7] It is also available as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game series.[8]

Q reported that the song's title is an allusion to the Who song "The Kids Are Alright" (from My Generation). The magazine also argued that the track "borrows heavily" from "Electricity" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, and pointed to NOFX's punk rock cover of "Electricity" as evidence.[9]


The song lyrics tell the stories of several people from a town and the problems they faced growing up (unplanned pregnancy, unemployment, drug addiction, and suicide). Dexter Holland wrote the song after visiting his home town, Garden Grove, California. Holland said, "You grow up in America, and you're supposed to have a bright future." During his visit he discovered that was not the case for many residents of the town.[10]

Track listing[edit]

Original pressing[edit]

1."The Kids Aren't Alright"3:00
2."Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" (Live) 
3."Walla Walla" (Live) 

Alternative pressing[edit]

1."The Kids Aren't Alright"3:00
2."Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" (Live) 
3."Walla Walla" (Live) 
4."Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" (CD Extra Video) 

Second alternative pressing[edit]

1."The Kids Aren't Alright"3:00
2."Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" (Live) 
3."Walla Walla" (Live) 
4."Why Don't You Get a Job?" (Live) 

Third alternative pressing[edit]

1."The Kids Aren't Alright"3:00
2."Walla Walla" (Live) 
3."Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" (CD Extra Video) 

Promo CD[edit]

1."The Kids Aren't Alright"3:00

Cassette single

1."The Kids Aren't Alright"3:00
2."Pretty Fly (For a white guy)" (Live)3:10

Music video[edit]

It features a room with a background of abandonment or family activity at different times. In the center of the room, there are scenes of various persons, including an appearance by Bif Naked, doing stereotypical things and moves; occasionally band members show up. The camera pans around the room and the changing of the scenes of persons constantly morphing and shifting between each other.

The background can be seen shifting between two time lines, one where the scene is the past, where things are new and white, and modern days where it is dreary and drab.

The music video, directed by Yariv Gaber, released a month before the CD single,[11] received heavy airplay on MTV. It was later nominated for Best Direction on the MTV Video Music Awards. The visuals in the video are made with rotoscoping techniques.

DVD appearances[edit]

The music video also appears on the Complete Music Video Collection DVD, released in 2004.

Album art[edit]

The album art features two different drawings for this song. The first depicts a scarecrow falling into the tentacles shown prominently in other single and album covers from Americana. This art also appeared in the accompanying booklet for the album (however, this drawing appeared with the song "Have You Ever"). The second, alternative cover shows a young child reaching for a gun, with ominous blood near to it (the drawing that appears with the song in the Americana booklet).

Critical reception[edit]

"The Kids Aren't Alright" is widely considered one of the Offspring's best songs. In 2012, Loudwire ranked the song number three on their list of the 10 greatest Offspring songs,[12] and in 2021, Kerrang ranked the song number one on their list of the 20 greatest Offspring songs.[13]

Other versions[edit]

Live versions of the song were released with "Want You Bad" and "Hit That". A remix (by the Wiseguys) appeared as the b-side to "She's Got Issues" and was later included on the Greatest Hits album. The download version of Splinter (2003) included "The Kids Aren't Alright (Island Style)", an instrumental version of the song featuring ukulele and steel guitar.It is also avaliable on the Enhanced CD version of the album under the folder MP3

Evergreen Terrace recorded a version of the song for their 2004 covers album, Writer's Block. The same year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology a cappella group Logarhythms recorded the song for their album Soundproof. Chris Webby's "Fragile Lives" samples the song's chorus and uses a similar four-chord progression.



Certifications and sales for "The Kids Aren't Alright"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[25] Platinum 50,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[26] Gold 400,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[27] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "The Kids Aren't Alright" was released as a single on this day in 1999! What are your favorite lyrics from the song? Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  2. ^ Harrington, Richard (May 21, 2004). "Offspring's Roots Are Showing". Washington Post. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  3. ^ Carmody, Dan (May 26, 2016). "The 15 Best Uses of Punk Music in Films". Taste of Cinema. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  4. ^ Hilberath, LJ. "Top 10 Punk Rock Songs of All-Time". Man of the Hour Magazine. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Kids Aren't Alright". Rate Your Music. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  6. ^ "The Offspring – Kids Aren't Alright [US CD Single]". Allmusic. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  7. ^ "The Faculty (1998) – Soundtracks". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  8. ^ Rainier (March 6, 2009). "Rock Band (ALL) to Get The Offspring, R.E.M. and Richard Thompson Tracks". Worthplaying. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  9. ^ Roden, Al (May 2009). "Now Tip Your Hat (supplement)". Q. Bauer Media Group.
  10. ^ Montgomery, Nikki (October 23, 2018). "90s at 9 'The Kids Aren't Alright'". Rock 94.7. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  11. ^ "the Offspring - "The kids aren't alright"". 1999-07-14. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
  12. ^ Childers, Chad (December 29, 2012). "10 Best Offspring Songs". Loudwire. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  13. ^ Law, Sam (April 27, 2021). "The 20 greatest The Offspring songs – ranked". Kerrang. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  14. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  15. ^ "The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  16. ^ "The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in French). Les classement single.
  17. ^ "The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  18. ^ "The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  19. ^ "The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright". Top 40 Singles.
  20. ^ "The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright". Singles Top 100.
  21. ^ "Offspring: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  22. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard.
  23. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  24. ^ "Jaarlijsten 1999" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  25. ^ "Italian single certifications – Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved December 2, 2019. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "The Kids Aren't Alright" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  26. ^ "British single certifications – Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  27. ^ "American single certifications – Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 23, 2021.