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]
FormatCD single[2]
Songwriter(s)Dexter Holland
Producer(s)Dave Jerden[7]
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[8] 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.[9] It is also available as downloadable content for the Rock Band video game series.[10]

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.[11]

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,[12] 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.

Covers/alternative versions[edit]

  • Hardcore band Evergreen Terrace recorded a cover of The Kids Aren't Alright for their album Writer's Block, which is comprised almost exclusively of covers.
  • The "blue cover" version of the "She's Got Issues" single includes as B-sides a remix of The Kids Aren't Alright by The Wiseguys, and an instrumental of this remix. The remix takes a different approach to the song, removing the energetic, angry guitars and instead trying to create something bleaker, more of a sad lament than an angry one. This version also appears as a bonus track on the European and South American releases of the band's Greatest Hits.
  • The college marching band version can be heard in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum during home football games of the USC Trojans. The USC Trojan Marching Band plays the song during referee time-outs for viewing replays of critical plays; it is played at least once each home and away football game. The song has thus been broadcast on network television on weekly ABC network College Game Day broadcasts, several Rose Bowl broadcasts, and at least two BCS National Championship game broadcasts. The marching band added the song to its game day repertoire back during the year Offspring appeared with the band during a half time show for fans.
  • One of the two versions of the "Want You Bad" single released in the UK has a live version of the song as one of the B-sides. The guitars in it are slightly different from the original's.
  • Another live version of the song appears on the "Hit That" single. This version comes from a session recorded for BBC Radio 1, and features more subdued instrumentation than the original.
  • On The Making of the Da Hui Video, in the Music DVD Bonus Material, a Hawaiian guitar version of the song can be heard. This version is also included as an MP3 download on the Splinter album as "The Kids Aren't Alright (Island Style)".
  • The Logarhythms, an all-male a cappella group from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recorded an a cappella version of the song for their 2004 album Soundproof. Their version of the song was also chosen for included in the 2005 "Best of College A Cappella" (BOCA) album.
  • While it is not a cover of the song, Chris Webby's "Fragile Lives" includes recordings of The Kids Aren't Alright and uses a similar beat throughout the song.
  • While it is also not a cover of the song, in 2014, Fall Out Boy recorded a promotional single with the same title.


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


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[23] Gold 25,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[24] Silver 200,000double-dagger

^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+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. ^ "Offspring, The – The Kids Aren't Alright". Discogs. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  3. ^ Harrington, Richard (May 21, 2004). "Offspring's Roots Are Showing". Washington Post. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  4. ^ Carmody, Dan (May 26, 2016). "The 15 Best Uses of Punk Music in Films". Taste of Cinema. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  5. ^ Hilberath, LJ. "Top 10 Punk Rock Songs of All-Time". Man of the Hour Magazine. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  6. ^ "The Kids Aren't Alright". Rate Your Music. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  7. ^ "The Offspring – Kids Aren't Alright [US CD Single]". Allmusic. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  8. ^ "The Offspring". Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  9. ^ "The Faculty (1998) – Soundtracks". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  10. ^ Rainier (March 6, 2009). "Rock Band (ALL) to Get The Offspring, R.E.M. and Richard Thompson Tracks". Worthplaying. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  11. ^ Montgomery, Nikki (October 23, 2018). "90s at 9 'The Kids Aren't Alright'". Rock 94.7. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  12. ^ "the Offspring - "The kids aren't alright"". 1999-07-14. Retrieved 2012-08-20.
  13. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  14. ^ " – The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ " – The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in French). Les classement single.
  16. ^ " – The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  17. ^ " – The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  18. ^ " – The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright". Top 40 Singles.
  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 Songs)". Billboard.
  23. ^ "Italian single certifications – Offspring – The kids aren't alright" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved August 27, 2018. Select "2017" 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. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type The kids aren't alright in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.