||09/10/12 10:03 AM
NOFX - Self Entitled
NOFX - Self Entitled
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Release Date: September 11, 2012
NOFX might not be a band for everyone, but 12 full lengths in – and seemingly countless EPs, splits and 7-inches – the band still finds ways to not only be catchy, but give us a few twists and turns in the process. Self Entitled is fittingly named though, as Fat Mike’s normal syllabus of poli-sci is flanked by a considerable amount of personally transpired ideas and recollections. Yet through stories of who gets what after a divorce and retro-tinged finger pointing in accusations of selling out, NOFX nearly hypnotize us with a personally turned lyrical direction and their musical repertoire just a fiery as usual. It is that steady course that makes Self Entitled impressive in its trek through the a mixture of personal and political, keeping us along for a ride that is more revealing than it is risque.
There’s about a fifty-fifty split here in terms of where Mike gets his inspiration, though he wastes no time making some ties between hookers and terrorists (“72 Hookers”), with the pulsing riff diving deep into your minds before giving his thoughts on stopping wars with blowjobs. The one-two punch of riffs and vocal melodies make for an easy conquering force on this record, as the roughly 90-second blasts of “I Believe in Goddess” and “I, Fatty” make for quick hits that still sink in, with the latter showing a momentarily self-reflection (‘Your fans will turn on you in a split second’) that ripples through this record. One of the more peculiar tracks, “Cell Out” fringes with an 8-bit tone that simply aches of retro gaming as Mike confronts his ego and image through an interaction with what seems to be an old fan. While the story is a little tattered, the musical number backing it is done just right, as the driving percussion and tonal backing tap just the right amount of their origination to not sound tacky.
As we churn through mid-tempo stomping and doubled-up skate numbers, the farther we dive into this record, the more personal it seems to reveal itself as. “Down with the Ship” and “My Sycophant Others” touch a bit on personal issues, the latter taking aim, as the clip starting the song suggests, at parasites or self-servants as subtle melodies of the somber nature sneak into our ears. The continuation of kicked up tempos still sounds beefy and melodic enough even in the less complicated moments, as the vibe of timid recollection and storytelling carries the lyrical appeal enough to usually go blow for blow with their general political fare.
The apex of the self-reflection comes with “I’ve Got One Jealous Again, Again”, as Mike waxes rather non-poetically over slower guitars and slight optimism about the end result of his divorce (‘I got the record player, but I didn’t get the house’). It’s not the nimblest of words, but in a moment of openness, there’s a story to be heard (‘You put on Survivor, I put on some headphones and cheated with my first love rock and roll’) in the honesty here. Wrapping with this track might have been fitting enough, but the oddly intriguing melodies of “Xmas Has Been X’ed” somehow embody that holiday feeling – I’ve heard enough holiday music in retail to know what holiday music should sound like – while swooping through the traditional stories of said holiday both religious and not. It’s a well-enough finale through in the vocal barrage that wraps up just nicely with a punk rock twist.
Pairing that honesty with tough as nails songwriting, Self Entitled makes itself known as not just another record or a phone-in by a band with enough of a reputation that you have to wonder how much longer they can continue to write at this level. But as far as this record is concerned, NOFX take a crack at pressing matters both inwards and outwards, succeeding in not only making a seamless expression of both sides but cranking out some truly memorable jams to boot.