California punk group the Offspring is back on the charts with its new single, "Days Go By," which rises 14-12 this week on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart. The song is the title track and lead single for the band's ninth studio album (and sixth with Columbia) and its first in four years. It arrives June 26.
The success of the hard-rocking single, which was produced by Bob Rock and is connecting across the charts (it also rises 18-15 on Active Rock and 14-13 on Rock Songs and bows at No. 17 on Heritage Rock), has been especially sweet for the band as the song was initially not a slam-dunk to even appear on the album.
"That song literally went up and down in relation to how it was doing next to the other songs as the record went forward," frontman Dexter Holland says. "It was probably the first song we started working on and just about the last song that we finished. We really kept coming back to it over the course of the record."
The Offspring also road-tested the tune. "There are versions on YouTube where the guitar riff is different, the verse is different, the chorus is different-so it's a totally different song now, really," Holland says, adding, "It was kind of toward the end [of recording] when people started listening to it. My friends, my manager started pointing at it, saying, 'That's the one you've got to go with.'"
Formed in 1984 in Huntington Beach, Calif., the Offspring has been a consistent chart performer since the band's breakout third album, Smash (Epitaph), which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 in 1994 and has sold 6.3 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The band has notched 16 top 10s on the Alternative chart since then, including three No. 1s, the most recent being "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid," the second single from previous album Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace (2008). "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid" held the top slot for 11 weeks and has sold 1.6 million copies.
Considering the group's track record, Keith Cunningham of Michigan-based radio consulting firm Jacobs Media says that a big start for a new single from the Offspring, especially in front of an album release, should be expected. "The Offspring have earned their stripes and the right to be given the benefit of the doubt, so this was an easy airplay decision," he says. "The song has a very catchy riff and Dexter's infectious vocal style, so it's like a warm blanket-it just feels familiar and good."
Still, the song's lyrics do hail from a more serious place than previous Offspring hits like "Self Esteem," "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" and "Original Prankster." "It's me observing that people have been going through a shitty time in the last few years, including myself," Holland says. "I just wanted to put some hope out there and say that no matter how bad it is, nobody's going to pick you up. You've got to do it yourself and there is hope and you're going to do it."