The Offspring

Conspiracy of One

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Contrary to the popular belief of music critics, listeners and artists alike, a band that doesn't deviate from its genre on its albums isn't musically limited. There are many layers to any given genre of music, and growing into it is just as much of an accomplishment as, say, experimenting with several different categories. What's wrong with sounding the same if you get better and better at it with each album? On Conspiracy of One, the Offspring do just that, resulting in their most musically mature collection to date. The tight arrangements, vocal interplay and refined guitar work on "Original Prankster," "Want You Bad," and "Million Miles Away" sound like Offspring songs, but don't all sound the same. The band departs from its SoCal punk roots at times -- a ballad called "Denial, Revisited" provides one of the album's slower instances. They also inject elements of hip-hop, rap-metal, and Nirvana-like grunge into a few songs, giving Conspiracy of One some musical diversity, but it's subtle; the album remains firmly planted in the world of punk. Each song features Dexter Holland's lead vocals and Noodles and Holland's crafty guitar playing, the group's two defining factors. The album also features some smart lyrics, though the Offspring do have some sophomoric fun on the party anthem "One Fine Day." Conspiracy of One is a solid and well-crafted recording and offers a fine progression from a band that has no qualms about doing what they do best.

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