A long time ago, when I was just beginning to have a changed perception on the world, around Year 7/7th Grade, I got my first piece of music that could be decided upon by everyone as 'cool'.

It was a black cassete tape with a white label across the top and in red lettering "The Offspring". I had aquired it from a friend who back in the day before everyone had a burner had to go through the arduous, yet rewarding process of manually taping an album.

On one side Ixnay on the Hombre, the other Smash. In my Humble Opinion the better of their albums (although I haven't heard much of their older stuff (pre-smash), before the time of Pretty Fly which I think marks the time they completely sold out and shifted to pop-rock. Now, it's all just downhill.

Anyway, I loved this tape. As I mentioned, it was the first thing I really owned, apart from video games, that would provoke a "cool" from one of the other kids. I listened to it non-stop as I had no other albums and it was basically my introduction into the world of music.

In fact, I listened to it so much I could quote every song from both albums. Although I didn't even know the names of most of them. They were imprinted into my sub-concious, like leaving a screen/monitor on for too long burns an image into the display, this music was forever etched into my skull. If at some time I were to hear a specific note or word that was in some way linked to this music it would spark something in my psyche and bring up one of these Offspring songs which would then play verbatim in my mind. From there I could go onto the next song, then the next, everything perfect down to the adequate quality of the recording. That phenomenon works even to this day, although I have to admit it is beginning to wane.

Eventually I began to get more albums, this time on CD and when I found of the existence of mp3's the time of buying albums was over and my loveable Offspring tape found it's way to the back of my top drawer -along with all of my other cherised belongings.

A number of years later while scratching through my drawer, I can't remember what for, I came across the tape and with waves of nostalgia washing over me I placed it in my deck and was brought back to 'the good old days'. Sure, it didn't have the same effect on me as it did back then, sure the quality was shocking compared to CD, sure I have much better music now, but for a time it was good.

Well, the tape got chucked back into the old drawer, and not long after I lent it to a pseudo-girlfriend I had. We drifted apart before I had the chance to get it back. So it remains at her house to this day, does she listen to it? I don't know.

Lately, I downloaded these entire albums, but haven't put them both onto CD yet. I made an intresting fusion of Less than Jake's Losing Streak with Ixnay, a marriage made in heaven. Next: Marilyn Manson and Smash. I actually could fit those two albums onto the one 80 minute CD, just goes to show how much the record companies jib you by giving you half an hour of music.

This tape made me realise there was more to music than just noises, it taught me to appreciate lyrics, it let me into the world of sound. Sure the Offspring are probably not the traditional introduction into music but it worked for me. And since then, I have grown to see music and lyrics in a way in which it can mean somethine to me, and it's all thanks to a beat up old Offspring tape.

In case you were wondering these are the songs contained on the albums are:

IXNAY ON THE HOMBRE Disclaimer The Meaning Of Life Mota Me & My Old Lady Cool To Hate Leave It Behind Gone Away I Choose Intermission All I Want Way Down The Line Don't Pick It Up Amazed Change The World SMASH Time to Relax Nitro Youth Energy Bad Habit Gotta Get Away Genocide Something To Believe In Come Out And Play Self Esteem It'll Be A Long Time Killboy Powerhead What Happened To You? So Alone Not The One Smash

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