The Offspring’s “Let The Bad Times Roll” Lyrics Meaning

The title of this song (“Let The Bad Times Roll”) is actually a mocking of “Let the Good Times Roll“, the name of a musical piece dating back to 1946. Said tune is a classic, and even more importantly in relation to the matter at hand “let the good times roll” is a phrase widely used in American society which points to the concept of having fun, i.e. partying.

Well based on their explanation of the song we’re researching today, The Offspring definitely feel that times have changed quite a bit since the 1950s’ era. To them, this is manifest not only in the pessimism of our leadership but also a general feeling amongst the masses that “it’s all going to hell”. 

And this band is not alone in recognizing such a mass sentiment. Verily within the past year, we have researched a number of songs which are premised on a feeling of widespread gloom, as the troubling 2020 would have it. But even beyond that, we can say also that this is The Offspring’s own reaction to the idea of the world progressively degenerating – a concept that has also been covered by musicians well prior to 2020.

Lyrics of “Let The Bad Times Roll”

And as we can see from the onset, the dudes are not taking the times passively, simply as spectators or analysts. For instance, in the first verse, they allude to the idea of violently confronting some unspecified individuals. But all lyrics considered, they can just be speaking to the overall notion of this being a violent world that we live in.

Yet in the pre-chorus their idealized activism becomes more pronounced. For here we see that yes, The Offspring are intent on ‘raising hell’. However, they’re not doing so just for doing’s sake. Rather the vocalist feels as if he is serving as sort of a herald. And his message is that “we’re erasing”, a statement which once again reads as if it is speaking to the gradual degeneration of humankind. 

Lyrics of "Let the Bad Times Roll"

Furthermore based on the chorus, said degeneration would be akin to a phenomenon like a universal breakdown of morality.

Meanwhile the second half of the song is a bit more specific in terms of what the crew perceives as being the pressing issues of the day. And what they point to are concepts such as an increase in sexual immorality and racism/segregation. Indeed Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) himself is given a shoutout in the chorus, in a manner which implies that the civil rights’ legend would not be pleased with what’s going down these days.


And conclusively, The Offspring gives the listener two options in terms of dealing with the matters at hand. Either they can adopt an apathetic (i.e. non-caring) disposition, or they can commit suicide. 

And of course this ultimatum is not to be taken literally. Rather it further speaks to the thesis sentiment of “Let the Bad Times Roll”. And this sentiment is basically the world being in such a messed up state that there isn’t really anything we (as individuals) can do about it. Or perhaps another way of looking at it is that to them, modern men are either engaged in one of two activities in relation to the era we live in. Either they don’t care about it, or they too are engaged in self-destructive activities.

Facts about “Let The Bad Times Roll”

Being released on 24 February 2021, this is the title track from the first album that The Offspring, a band from California, has put out since 2012’s “Days Go By”. And it also marks their debut release under Concord Records.

However, the band did release one non-album single, “Coming for You”, in 2015. And according to Loudwire they have been teasing the forthcoming of “Let the Bad Times Roll” “for years” before it finally came out.

And the actual “Let the Bad Time Roll” album came out on 16 April 2021. This is the lead single from said effort.

Let The Bad Times Roll

The members of The Offspring as of the release of this track are as follows:

  • Dexter Holland (vocals, since 1984)
  • Noodles (guitar, since 1986)
  • Pete Parada (drums, since 2007)
  • Todd Morse (bass, since 2009)

Dexter Holland, who has been a member of the band since its inception, wrote this song. And it was produced by the amply-named Bob Rock, who since the 1980s has been a fixture on the rock and roll scene. And throughout his career, Rock has also regularly collaborated with The Offspring.

“Let the Bad Times Roll” is The Offspring’s 10th studio album. It is a project they have been putting together over the course of some years. And for the record, their eponymous debut album came out in 1989.

The Album

The Offspring currently comprising four members did not release any album in a span of almost nine years after releasing “Days Go By” in 2012. That was until “Let the Bad Times Roll” was released on 16th April, 2021. 

It being the tenth studio album of the band, it was the first to be released on their new label Concord Records. One of the many factors that contributed to the distance in the time taken to release another album since 2012 was the search for a new label. This was after they split with Columbia Records.

Canadian musician, sound engineer and record producer Robert Jens Rock (Bob Rock) produced the album. 

In all there are fourteen official tracks listed on the album.

All songs on this album were composed by the primary composer of the band Holland, with the exception of the instrumental “In the Hall of the Mountain King”. The said instrumental was composed by the late Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Hagerup Grieg.

The albums official singles are:

  • “Coming for You” released on 30th January, 2021
  • “Let the Bad Times Roll” released on 23rd February, 2021
  • “We Never Have Sex Anymore” released on 2nd April, 2021

16 Responses

  1. Noelle says:

    I could be entirely wrong, but I felt the track more specifically attacked the Trump administration, along with Trump himself. From the lyrics of enjoying the crowd chanting “lock her up, lock her up,” building a wall in relation to “figuring it out” for mexicans and blacks and jews (which only really targets one of those demographics, but Trump and his administration didn’t really do much good for pretty much any minority), Lincoln being brought up to see the mockery he made the presidency, and the title itself feels like a play on the Trump slogan “Make America Great Again,” which let’s be real, the “good ol days” were never good for anyone that wasn’t middle to upper class white people, and the last administration only cared about the upper class. Feels like more of a Trump diss than a view of the world as a whole.

  2. Krotus says:

    Sounds more like an appropriate song for the Biden administration. Take what’s good and make it bad. Trump helped all Americans. The Biden admin is picking up where Obama left off with hurting America as much as possible. The part of the song describing Lincoln spinning ( in his grave) sounds like if Lincoln could see how the descendants of the slaves he freed were acting today. Erasing truth sounds like what leftist liberals and socialists are doing all over the U.S. tearing down statues and rewriting history. Bad times lie ahead that’s for certain.

  3. Michael prove me wrong says:

    Really, from the moment he took office he was attacked by blm and antifa activist praised by the the dems. Case in point it all stopped when the new dork took office cause the the collar was put back on.

  4. Chris says:

    Hey , keep in mind that this song & album were written in the middle of the Trump administration – Dexter Holland said in an interview to this question

    You mentioned earlier that you don’t want to be preachy and political, but in “Let the Bad Times Roll,” you’ve got references to Machiavelli—a hat-tip to the king of deceit and self-interest, “erasing truth” and a tongue-in-cheek chant of “Lock Her Up.” It’s impossible not to realize who that song was inspired by, right?”

    “You know, that one had some more specific references, and I even went back to it like, “Eh, maybe I might want to make it a little more obtuse.” I definitely don’t want to make a song called “The Trump Song” or whatever, it’s not that. But some of those specifics are, I mean, look, it’s the elephant in the room. How could we write an album and not talk about some of the things that have happened over the last couple of years? And that’s a part of it, but it’s not the whole thing. ”

    Now you know

  5. Binx says:

    Ironically the division in the comments alone, strongly re-iterates the division artistically described in this album … 10 points for evocative artistic irony …… *apathetic eye rolls*

  6. Anonymous says:

    All of the resent presidents have attacked the constitution and have created a cult of personality to take more and more liberties from the American people. This is also happening in other countries around the world. This song, while with a few jabs at the Trump administration, is clearly pointed at the world as a whole.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “Hey Lincoln, how does your grave roll?”

    Lincoln would be indeed be rolling in his grave at what his ‘party’ has become. I love how this song is grabbing you Trumpers by the kitty.

    At the end of the day…words still matter. Quit deflecting just because the truth hurts.

  8. Common Sense says:

    Lowest minority unemployment EVER during Trump. Cheap gasoline. Talking to America like adults. Oh yeah, that was horrible… Welcome to the party of slavery and division. Democrats are children.

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