Smash is a generous helping of guitar power-pop. The delightful Middle-Eastern surf guitar on "Come Out And Play" hides harsh sentiments in poppy guitar riffs. Singer Dexter Holland mocks the school systems that think the solution to school violence is to "keep them separated," to segregate rather than educate the kids about the dangers of carrying guns. As Holland advises his fans, "Hey pay no mind/If you're under eighteen you won't be doing any time." Offspring's power is in writing anthemic guitar rock that effortlessly slips from genre to genre. From the humorous ska-flavored "What Happened To You?" to the sing-along guitar riff in "No Self Esteem,".
Yes, they (along with Green Day) finally brought skate-rock into the world of John Q. Mallrat, but the Offspring were hardly spring chickens at the time of this breakthrough album's release. They'd been slogging away since 1987, a span that allowed them to amass all the clever tricks showcased here, most notably the Latino-rap/moshpit-riff mega-hit "Come Out and Play." Just about every track on the disc (the band's third, if you were counting) keeps that careful balance between aggression and accessibility, from the surf-punk self- help rant of "Self-Esteem" to the airy ska-pop of "What Happened to You?" If Green Day are the '90s punk equivalent of the Beatles, and Rancid its Rolling Stones, the Offspring might be its Monkees--remembered for nothing more important than simple, indelible pop. --David Sprague