Smash (Remastered)

Smash (Remastered)

Arriving on the heels of Green Day’s blockbuster Dookie, The Offspring’s third album completed the one-two punch of records that forever transformed the ’90s alt-rock landscape into a pop-punk playground. But compared to their Californian peers—who benefitted from Warner Brothers’ promotional muscle—The Offspring were an even more unlikely success story, given that Smash lived up to its truth-in-advertising title as a shoestring release issued through Bad Religion’s Epitaph Records imprint. At more than 10 million copies sold, it became the biggest-selling independent release of all time. But even in a post-Nirvana marketplace that was more receptive to aggressive sounds, you certainly couldn’t accuse the Orange County band of taking the obvious path to stardom. Smash’s breakthrough single, “Come Out and Play,” not only represented a change in pace from The Offspring’s typical pogo-ready thrashers, it sounded like absolutely nothing else on radio at the time—an eccentric, insidiously catchy account of L.A. gangland violence spiked with a Latino-accented spoken-word hook and a wobbly Arabian guitar melody that snake-charmed millions of non-punks into the mosh pit. But if the song had all the makings of a novelty hit, Smash confirmed The Offspring’s staying power by harnessing their hardcore-schooled abandon into the steely, grungy grooves of “Gotta Get Away” and “Self Esteem.” And in these more controlled environments, frontman Dexter Holland emerged as one of the most charismatic and commanding vocalists in modern rock, flexing a mix of authentic, street-level angst and arena-ready bravado on the road-rage anthem “Bad Habit.” Riotous and irreverent in equal measure, Smash took a battering ram to the divide between the underground and the mainstream, clearing a path for the Warped Tour generation’s takeover of American youth culture.

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