When I got the Offspring’s 1994 album, Smash, I was an angry eighth grader whose favorite hobby consisted of wandering around town breaking things. Beyond the appropriate title, Smash was high speed, catchy, and full of profanity – a perfect soundtrack for that time of mindless rebellion.

The new record, Splinter, is also aptly titled in that it is insignificant but extremely annoying. Even the degenerate middle-schooler who thought that “studpiddumbshitgoddamnedmotherfucker” represented lyrical genius would have recognized this as horrible garbage.

The lead track, “Neocon,” sets the comedic tone for the album as singer Dexter Holland’s squealing brings to mind those clips they show on “American Idol” of the people who didn’t make the cut. You can picture him in the studio, hands on the headphones, eyes squinted toward the ceiling, sounding like some drunk trying to sing Zeppelin on karaoke night.

“The Noose” begins with a guitar solo that could be sampled from some ’80s metal band, a sound that shows up throughout the record. On “Hit That,” they try to make a catchy refrain out of beep-boop video game noises – again, very funny.

“Spare Me the Details” features an acoustic guitar and bubble gum melody (think Sugar Ray), and a prime example of the album’s consistently asinine lyrics. “I’m not the one who acted like a ho/Why must I be the one who has to know?/I’m not the one who messed up big time/So spare me the details if you don’t mind.”

Spare yourself this CD. Breaking bottles may have gotten a lot less fun since middle school, but I’d probably send one over my own head to avoid hearing Splinter again.
[Travis Hunter realized in middle school that his parents loved his sister better. Rightfully so.]