NOFX, the lords of modern American punk, grace us with their 14th album, Single Album, on February 26th, via Fat Wreck Chords.
NOFX will always hold a special place in my heart. The War on Errorism shaped my politics early. They defined millennial punk in my small town, helping the descendants of apostolic ranchers find and articulate a new voice. And without Fat Wreck Chords, we wouldn’t have the majority of my personal favorites.
Single Album highlights:
1. The Big Drag
Mesmerized by rhetorical and memorized historical events
That never actually occurred
- You will find the opening track intentionally challenging to follow from its here, there, everywhere structure.
- Kicks off the album with with the neo-liberal pessimism we’ve come to depend on from NOFX. The track is aptly named for its lyrics and minor chordage.
- Listen close for a 7 Seconds reference.
2. I Love You More Than I Hate Me
You’d cover my face when you’d fuck me
We were intimate without intimacy
Like a gutter punk-tuation
In a foreign conversation
I feel like Thoreau at party I throw
I’m a self-made scarecrow
- Trademark clever word play.
- Sweet guitar solo.
- Mike’s voice is steady, but monotonous throughout, ending in a melancholic fade.
3. Fuck Euphemism
I walked into The Eagle and someone called me cis
I said I’m not cis I’m a sissy should I call you Mister or Miss
(I said) I’m actually a transvest but before I got too tite
The place erupted into my first gender pronoun bar fight.
- Intro starts with some ripped “Sing, Sing, Sing” drums.
- This is a fun look into Mike’s experiences stepping into women’s clothing and celebrating the punk-joy that comes with it.
- The song is smart. It looks at the topic of gender and gender stereotypes from a fresh angle. But overall, it is a song to remind us to chill out. Being politically correct is impossible. Justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion (JEDI) is a moving target. So that’s not to say we shouldn’t try, but it also means don’t over-assume identities in an attempt to overcompensate for your confusion or innate desire to categorize. At the end of the day, when you’re not sure which foot to put forward, put forward a kind one.
4. Fish in a Gun Barrel
Why do we have a harder time when there’s no enemy to blame?
It doesn’t matter how many were killed the debate is the same
- A straight-shooting ska song about massive gun violence.
- The song aims to point out that the justification surrounding shootings jumped out the church’s stained glass window awhile ago. The song rehashes the same arguments over and over to come to the only conclusion – sometimes hate is just hate and that hate will drive you mad.
I don’t care if you think it’s wrong
But the blue and white help me compose my most fucked songs…
It made me heel crush a pill do a line and slug a Johnny Walker neat.
- A classic song about drugs and addiction with a sing-a-long vibe for the kids.
- A rolls on rolls on rolls drum intro.
LinOLDlium never meant anything to me
I never even wrote a chorus
Just verses and a bridge
It’s like bulldozing a bowling alley for a used record store
Decomposing your best song is sacrilege
- The concept for this song, retiring fan favorite “Linoleum,” is so hokey it’s a little genius.
- The song starts with a standard NOFX formula of charged riffs similar to its birth mother. I look forward to NOFX confusing the hell out of the first audience they play this song live for, thinking they’re getting the classic instead. How many people will try to sing along before realizing they don’t know these new lyrics? (And then pretend to know them anyway.)
- The song is funny. It points out the absurdity of how a seemingly short, total non-sense song can gain such a cult fandom. In a way, Fat Mike is calling us all idiots for letting a song like “Linoleum” become so popular; but, as the videos show, he’s doing it with love. Because without us, there is no NOFX.
- Listen for a nod to the late Tony Sly.
7. My Bro Cancerviver Cancer
Then he texted me every day, until I finally said OK
I’ll write a song about you being sick
But like your life it’s gonna end too quick…
- Cool intro pluck and symbols, creating a fun, quick build before jumping into vocals.
- From the first listen, I knew that this was a trademark Fat Mike true-story-turned-song song. And then it ended abruptly and I said aloud “Oh. My. God.” After a little research, it turns out Fat Mike had been scammed into writing this song. At least he has a good sense of humor about it.
8. Grive Soto
We all know that Jesus Christ was a figment that must have had
A lot of pigment in his skin. Cuz he was a Semitic Egyptian didn’t you know?
But if there was there ever gonna be a resurrection
I prefer that it was Steve Soto
- A eulogy to the great, Steve Soto.
- A reminder to hold true to your punk values and remember why you are this scene to begin with and to be weary of the hypocrisy in our midsts.
9. Doors and Fours
Los Angeles punk scene slowly erodes
Cuz all the punks are doing loads
We lived on violent apathy
This was LA in ‘83
Straight outta the hills of Beverly
Old LA punks they never die from old age cuz they all OD
- Dirty, country desert slides.
- An ode to West LA punk? To the loss of a generation to street drugs and teenage decisions? Can’t have one without the other.
10. Your Last Resort
Did you think that because I was so depraved, I needed to be saved?
I’ll never be well behaved cuz I’m told to
You think if you stole me, you’d be able to control me
Cuz I’m wearing your ring, you think if you shamed me
You might be able to tame such a wild thing
- A soft, piano personal ballad of sadness before shredding into the pain of healing.
- Feels like the modern fuck you response to the premise of The Taming of the Shrew.
- Ends in motorcycle putters.
NOFX lives and jams in absolutisms. They deliver punchy lyrics and turbo-riffs that mold young golems into thinking adults. Single Album is a recognition of NOFX’s brand. It is important as functioning adults that we find the grey area and do our best to understand how bigoted fools stumbled into their horse shit “values,” in order for us to move forward together. But in order for us to do this well, we need bands like NOFX to hold the line and continue to evaluate society strictly from its parameters.
So what’s in store?
Outrageous puns? CHECK
Historically accurate even when it isn’t? CHECK
Easter eggs on easter eggs? CHECK
A great beginners guide for who’s who in the scene and a direct homage to friends and heroes? CHECK
Is it the best NOFX album? Probably not.
Is it fun? Always.
NOFX’s 14th album, Single Album, is out February 26 via Fat Wreck Chords.