Here’s to an iconic punk rock anthem that has us wail along with its intro and headbang along with the rest of its sad story. This Track Of The Day courtesy of The Offspring is “Self Esteem” from their 1994 album, Smash.
“Self Esteem” is a tale of someone in an emotionally abusive relationship, who keeps on taking it, hit after hit, despite not liking it. The song could be far darker sounding due to the subject matter, but it’s musically mostly light; with a grungey hook yes, but also splishy drums, soaring guitars and a happy sounding bass. For something pretty miserable, it is easy on the ears. Even Dexter Holland’s nasal vocals work beautifully, perfectly epitomizing the character of the abused; his vocals gaining fire and power behind them at times when the character questions challenging the situation (“I know I’m being used!”), as well as being more subdued and uncomfortably complacent (“I took her bag and made her dessert”).
“When she’s saying oh that she wants only me
Then I wonder why she sleeps with my friends
When she’s saying oh that I’m like a disease
Then I wonder how much more I can spend
Well, I guess I should stick up for myself
But I really think it’s better this way
The more you suffer
The more it shows you really care
Right? Yeah, yeah, yeah”
“Self Esteem” pokes at our hearts in sympathy for this dude, as well as gets us amped up and railing against our own inner complacency. Whatever kind it may be.
And it rocks.
Listen to “Self Esteem” here.