Twenty years ago today, the highest-selling independent album of all time was released: “Smash” by The Offspring hit shelves of music stores (remember those?) on April 8, 1994.
April 8, 1994:
As a third-grader at the time, I wouldn’t hear any of the tracks until MTV occasionally interspliced “Come Out and Play” and “Self Esteem” into episodes of Beavis & Butthead. “Smash” had so many hits: the road rage ballad “Bad Habit”, the paranoid thriller “Gotta Get Away”, the peppy ska “What Happened To You”, and of course, “Nitro (Live Like There’s No Tomorrow)”
In the spring of 1994, I remember that the Milwaukee Brewers had just unveiled a new logo in April. It was a year that also brought “Dookie” by Green Day, “The Blue Album” by Weezer, “Punk in Drublic” by NOFX, not to mention Ace Ventura, and the OJ Simpson White Bronco chase.
All these years later, “Smash” still endures. As I think about this 20-year milestone, I visualize the montage of times this album serenaded life: while at my desk doing Algebra and studying Hebrew, to my Discman during long XC runs in high school, to blazing on max-volume while speeding down the 405. “Smash” will always be my favorite.
The first songs I learned to play on the guitar were from this album. The first live show I ever played, we closed the night with “Self-Esteem” like the vicarious Offspring devotees we were. And to this day, the hits from “Smash” are still among my favorite to play.
And at its core, “Smash” is just 46 minutes of distorted rock songs recorded by four six-foot-tall geeks from Garden Grove. I’ve had the fortune of meeting original members Dexter, Noodles, and Greg. And yes, it made me appreciate “Smash” just a little bit more.
Some people love the Beatles. Some people love Beyonce. Many people love Sinatra. Tons of people adore Garth Brooks. I love the Offspring. And today, their break out album “Smash” turns 20. Stupid Dumbsh!t G0dd&mn Mother Fu#ker.