Meaning of The Kids Aren’t Alright by The Offspring

Not becoming commercially successful, The Kids Aren’t Alright became one of the most famous compositions of the punk band The Offspring. In the nineties, the track was incredibly popular on music radio stations and TV channels.

Let’s remember how the famous track was written and what is dedicated to.

The story of creation & the meaning of the song The Kids Aren’t Allright

It is said that Dexter Holland wrote it after visiting his native Garden Grove, in Orange County, California, where he was born and raised. Traveling around his small homeland turned out to be not the most pleasant for him, because most of his friends, to put it mildly, did not succeed in life, and some of them even died. Impressed by the trip, he composed The Kids Aren’t Alright.

Explaining the meaning of The Kids Aren’t Alright, Kevin “Noodles” Wasserman said:

There are always guys who become a victim of circumstances and go to the bottom. That’s what “The Kids Aren’t Alright” was about. We grew up in the suburbs among these nice houses and people tending their lawns. But there were many secrets behind this facade of white fences: drugs, anger, frustration.

Noodles, Rolling Stone, May 31, 2013

Asked by a reporter if The Kids Aren’t Alright mentions real people, Kevin replied:

Dex and I grew up together. We knew the same people and, yes, he was thinking about a guy we knew when he wrote this song. That guy died driving while high. Some people had nervous breakdowns when they were teenagers. People who kind of failed, who managed to break free from the networks of what we call society. I think this is a serious topic., 2009

The title of the song clearly refers listeners to the famous composition The Kids Are Alright by the legendary British rock band The Who.

Release and achievements

The Kids Aren’t Alright was released as the third single from Americana in September 1999. It peaked at number eleven on the UK Singles Chart. The track achieved the same success on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks, and on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks the song was at number six.

Video of The Kids Aren’t Alright

The music video for The Offspring was directed by Yariv Gaber. The video was nominated for the MTV Video Music Awards.

Interesting Facts

  • The Kids Aren’t Alright is featured in the film The Faculty.
  • Rock singer Beef Naked appears in the music video for the song.

The Kids Aren’t Alright Lyrics by The Offspring

When we were young the future was so bright
The old neighborhood was so alive
And every kid on the whole damn street
Was gonna make it big and not be beat

Now the neighborhood’s cracked and torn
The kids are grown up but their lives are worn
How can one little street
Swallow so many lives

chances thrown
Nothing’s free
Longing for what used to be
Still it’s hard
hard to see
Fragile lives, shattered dreams

Jamie had a chance, well she really did
Instead she dropped out and had a couple of kids
Mark still lives at home cause he’s got no job
He just plays guitar and smokes a lot of pot

Jay committed suicide
Brandon OD’d and died
What the hell is going on
The cruelest dream, reality

Lyrics The Kids Aren’t Alright by The Offspring Alternate

When we were young, the future looked so bright
And our old quarter was so alive
And every guy on that whole damn street
I was going to succeed and not fall face down in the mud

Now our quarter is dilapidated and worn out
The guys have grown up, and life has pretty battered them
How can one small street
Swallow so many lives

Chances missed
Nothing is free
Longing for the past
Still hard
hard to see
Fragile lives, broken dreams

Jamie had a chance – really had
But she dropped out of school and got a couple of kids
Mark still lives with his parents because he doesn’t have a job.
He just plays guitar and smokes weed all the time

Jay committed suicide
Brandon died of an overdose
What the hell is going on
The cruelest dream is reality

Song quote

You are growing up in America and it is believed that you should have a bright future.

Dexter Holland

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