Release Date: Sep 11, 2012
Record label: Fat Wreck Chords
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Punk/New Wave, Punk Revival, Punk-Pop, Skatepunk
Next year marks the 30th anniversary for punk band NOFX. Originally formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1983, the band has sold more than six million albums, with more than a few of those being downright snot-nosed punk rock classics. You might reasonably assume that – as NOFX advances further into its, ahem, mature years – its rebelliousness might dissipate in the face of family responsibilities, mortgages, and graying pubic hair, but no.
At this point, nearly 30 years and 12 albums in, you likely know what you're getting from a NOFX record. The pop-punk stalwarts have been ripping out sneering, ironic but hook-filled records for long enough now that we know the formula. With the exception of the slower, moodier layers of Heavy Petting Zoo in 1996, NOFX has given us a line of records that don't sound exactly the same, necessarily, but they don't exactly surprise either.
With the release of their 12th studio album, Self Entitled, SoCal punkers NOFX approach 30 years of unleashing bursts of brash, snotty skatepunk upon the world, avoiding the major-label sellout the entire time but at this point still very much a career band. Over the many years, singer Fat Mike and crew have approached variations on the same themes repeatedly: fast and aggressive melodic punk with bratty vocals, occasional political underpinnings or commentary, and the kind of assessment of the inner workings of punk that punk bands have been obsessed with since very early into the subculture's beginnings. Self Entitled doesn't see NOFX branching out much, musically, lyrically, or stylistically.
Punk rock is essentially a youth movement, a genre fueled by rambunctious energy, ear-splitting guitars, and plentiful doses of unchecked aggression. But while logic would suggest that such angst would dissipate with age, NOFX have done a pretty good job over the years of proving that punk rock is more than just a passing phase. It’s been almost 30 years since Fat Mike, Eric Melvin, Erik Sandin, and Aaron “El Hefe” Abeyta first started churning out the mile-a-minute brand of biting brat punk that would inspire future generations of punks around the world.
This review originally ran in AP 291. It’s sort of expected that we’ll get a new NOFX album every three years (seriously, since 1997’s So Long And Thanks For All The Shoes it’s been like clockwork), and on it, there will be a bunch of decent-to-good songs, a few great ones and one or two downright terrible tracks. The nice thing is that in recent years, Fat Mike’s lyrics have gotten a shit-ton more personal, resulting in some truly powerful moments (see 2009’s “My Orphan Year”).