Singles like "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)" and "Why Don't You Get A Job?" were what catapulted this album into mainstream media, and by extension, my middle school class. At the time I was working on the school radio and these songs were requested and played pretty much every day. So along side nu metallers KoRn, hip-hop acts like Nelly and Cypress Hill, and the alternative rock band Weezer, The Offspring became on my most-listened songs list.
While those singles enticed me to the album, it was their lesser-known songs that kept me there. See this was the time before iPods and computers in every room of the house. I had a CD player and head phones, a carrier case that held 5 albums, and a 2 mile bike ride to school every day, so if I chose a CD to listen to it would get a dozen listens per week. "Walla Walla" with it's silly sound and lyrics immediately became one of my favorites, along with "Americana," "Have You Ever," "Staring At The Sun," and "She's Got Issues." It was at this time that I knew that Americana was one of my favorite albums.
Even though I listened to the record (is it ok to call a release that was never released on vinyl a record?) hundreds of times in my life, there still were some songs that were out of my reach or comprehension; I remember that "Pay The Man," a long psychedelic semi-stoner style song, was one of the last songs that I didn't much care for - but now it reigns as one of my favorites, with my changing tastes over time. "The Kids Aren't Alright," a play off of The Who's "The Kids Are Alright," and "Feelings," a semi-cover/spoof of the same song (except with opposite meaning) by Morris Albert, were both very dark and depressing, and filled with subject matter that my 12-year-old brain could not understand, but as I grew up and learned the woes of the world, these songs began to take hold and have meaning for me.
As you can see, Americana is an album of layers, some songs are simple enough for a prepubescent mind to get, and some are deep and dark enough for the older crowd. It is the perfect album to grow with, with the understanding of songs being modified as you grow and experience new things. It is the oldest album in my collection (as far as how long I've owned it) and one of my most played. It is also one of the only albums that I still listen to from this era (Nelly doesn't do it anymore for me), with only the KoRn albums Follow The Leader and Issues having more nostalgia for me.
Americana may not be The Offspring's most popular work, and it didn't launch off their best singles (to the popular mind), but it was their best work to me, and really that's all I care about.
- Have You Ever
- Staring At The Sun
- Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)
- The Kids Aren't Alright
- She's Got Issues
- Walla Walla
- The End of The Line
- No Breaks
- Why Don't You Get A Job?
- Pay The Man