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
Audio sample

"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 the third single from the album. It became another top 10 hit on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Its title is an allusion to the Who song "The Kids Are Alright" (from My Generation). Despite not being as commercially successful as its predecessor singles, "The Kids Aren't Alright" remains the most-listened to Offspring song amongst Last.FM[7] users, and still receives some radio play. The song was used in the opening scene of the film The Faculty, and appears on the soundtrack album.[8] It is also available as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game series.[9]

The song also appears as the ninth track on their Greatest Hits album of 2005.


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 2005.

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 actually appears with the song in the Americana booklet).

Rock Band[edit]

The song was also released as downloadable content for the game Rock Band, released on March 10, 2009.

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.

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.


Chart (1999) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[12] 69
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[13] 43
France (SNEP)[14] 32
Germany (Official German Charts)[15] 45
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[16] 29
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 39
Poland (LP3)[18] 8
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[19] 16
UK Singles (OCC)[20] 11
US Mainstream Rock (Billboard)[21] 11
US Alternative Airplay (Billboard)[22] 6


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[23] Platinum 50,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[24] Silver 200,000double-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 Offspring". Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  8. ^ "The Faculty (1998) – Soundtracks". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  9. ^ Rainier (March 6, 2009). "Rock Band (ALL) to Get The Offspring, R.E.M. and Richard Thompson Tracks". Worthplaying. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  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. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  13. ^ " – The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  14. ^ " – The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in French). Les classement single.
  15. ^ " – The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  16. ^ " – The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  17. ^ " – The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright". Top 40 Singles.
  18. ^ "Notowanie nr 922" (in Polish). 1 October 1999. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  19. ^ " – The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright". Singles Top 100.
  20. ^ "Offspring: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  21. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  22. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard.
  23. ^ "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 online" under "Sezione".
  24. ^ "British single certifications – Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 13, 2017.