NOFX – Self/Entitled – Review

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While other “pioneers” of the punk genre (ie. Green Day) are crying and smashing guitars like spoiled rock musicians over shortened set times, there is another breed of musician abound that has never been tainted by selling out or “buying in” to riches. While some bands gained wide mass appeal and became married to a major label, those with intelligence and integrity stayed around making the music they wanted for themselves and never forgot where they came from or who they play for. All this of course leads to the independent punk label,  Fat Wreck Chords owner Fat Mike and his modern punk trail blazers NOFX, who have consistently bought home grown punk to the niche masses for damn near 30 years. Recently the group released their twelfth studio album “Self/Entitled” to awaiting fans.

I’m almost upset at myself for taking so long to give this record a listen, mostly because of how consistently well NOFX has been with all of their music, whether it be politically motivated, (correctly) criticizing all forms of religion, or just about grabbing a few beers and hanging out with good friends; and “Self/Entitled” touches on most if not all of the themes just mentioned. Timed with their formulaic yet timeless punk we have stand out songs like “72 Hookers,” which references the belief that dying in service of a jihad will have you receiving 72 virgins has penance, with cheeky lines like “72 virgins can never stop a war, but a 100,000 hookers can beat the Marine Corps. In stopping hatred, fighting will cease. When everyone is getting blow jobs, that’s when we’ll finally have world peace.” I mean who doesn’t love a good jab at crippling human ignorance? Fat Mike being an atheist and fairly intelligent really breathes life into these snarky jabs at an archaic institution. Each track, from the anti-theistic “I Believe In Goddess“, to the punk-existentialist song “Cell Out,” as well as the anti-establishment anthem outing “This Machine Is 4” which belts out with the sharp metaphors, “She’s a gear, you’re a cam, I’m a cog. His machine was invented by McBean, but we all make up the parts. Cut us up and take our hearts” has that genuine passion and wit that you might expect from a newly formed band that hasn’t been fully crushed by life’s hardships.

It’s good to see that NOFX isn’t scrounging the bottom of the barrel for these tracks either. Some of them even show a bit of a maturing side, like the indie-rock riffs approach to their traditional punk on one of my favorite songs, “I’ve Got One Jealous Again, Again,” which references a coveted vinyl collection (shout out to the Fugazi picture disc)and growing older.  On the whole, the band has reused their familiar punk sound, with Fat Mike’s lovable quick wit and memorable burning one-liners, and added enough flavorful spices to “Self/Entitled” to make this a definite album to buy for all punk listeners. And this is from the band that (for all intents and purposes) founded the modern punk movement. Green Day who? Blink 182 who? While some outfits have been finding hit-or-miss success with the sheepish masses, NOFX has been busy making 12 full-lengths (all with even and comparable talent and quality) for the underground listeners who still appreciate vinyl and wear gaudy patches — and this record is no different. [Staff]

Score: 4 (out of 5)

Release Date: September 11th, 2012
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Genre: Punk
RIYL: Lagwagon, Millencolin, Pennywise

Track Listing:
1. 72 Hookers
2. I Believe in Goddess
3. Ronnie & Mags
4. She Didn’t Lose Her Baby
5. Secret Society
6. I, Fatty
7. Cell Out
8. Down with the Ship
9. My Sycophant Others
10. This Machine Is 4
11. I’ve Got One Jealous Again, Again
12. Xmas Has Been X’ed

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