Punk In Drublic

Written by: PP on 20/05/2012 03:01:13

Though NOFX have never written the elusive 10/10 album during their notorious career as the flagship of post-Sex Pistols/Ramones era punk rock, their 1994 breakthrough album "Punk in Drublic" is about as close as they ever got, despite stringing together one of the most consistent streaks in recorded music history with seven 9/10 rated, universally acclaimed albums between 1992 and 2006. Although the argument can also be made for "White Trash, Two Heebs And A Bean" or "The War On Errorism", "Punk In Drublic" with its punny title is arguably their finest recording to date in all aspects. It's the quintessential NOFX record to convert your friend into a punk rock fan. It's also the ultimate DIY record that sold more than a million copies worldwide without a single dime spent on marketing. In the days before the internet, selling one million records while categorically denying MTV and the radio access to your songs is a significant achievement not necessarily fully understood by the internet generation of today, but lets just say it's like having 1 million people tell each other to check out this band across borders without access to any communication infrastructure.

So why was "Punk In Drublic" in particular so successful? Well, for starters, the punk scene was a mess in 1994. Although Bad Religion and Descendents had created a renaissance for the genre, neither had released a genre-defining album since the late 80s. The world was ready for a socio-economically aware punk rock album with a message that was jam-packed with amazing songs. Releasing a 17 song album sounds like a career suicide on paper even for a punk band, but when you have a surplus of incredible material to the degree of your B-sides sounding better than most bands' career-best output, you do what NOFX did: record it all and see what happens.

I'm glad they did just that. There isn't a song on "Punk In Drublic" that sounds like its filler or should have been left out to be released as a b-side on some future EP. That's why it's so difficult to pick exactly which song is the best one on the album: is it "Dying Degree" for its prolonged chorus melody featuring the quintessential Fat Mike croon, "Linoleum" for its instantly recognizable riff, "Jeff Wears Birkenstocks?" for its comedic value and its ridiculously catchy melody, or "Leave It Alone" for its timeless chorus? Is it "Lori Meyers" for its blend of hardcore edge and sweet melody, "Perfect Government" for its unpredictable tempo change into breakneck speed punk, or "Reeko" for its (what's to become) trademark NOFX reggae/ska vibe, or "The Brews" for its gang shout-along (that basically single-handedly inspired the entirety of the Boston punk scene), or "My Heart Is Yearning" for its still totally misplaced trumpet solo and its general chill-out vibe?

So you can safely state that in terms of melodies alone, "Punk In Drublic" is a brilliant, brilliant album that will stand as a landmark release in the genre even when we look back at its key albums in 30-40 years from now. And then there's the social commentary (NOFX didn't really enter political criticism properly before "War On Errorism" in 2003) found in the lyrics. "Perfect Government", for instance, asks bluntly "How can they sleep at night? How did the cat get so fat?" in an early criticism of the growing corporate influence on the American society during the Clinton hyper-growth years of the 90s. There are other examples, too, but most of it is subdued and embedded within intellectual (and sometimes anti-intellectual) lyricism that requires the listener to really think about what is actually being said in between the lines.

NOFX have throughout their career been great at juxtaposing unforgettable riffs with a tight rhythm section and just the right tempo to leave a lasting impression, as well as an intellectual, though still strictly leftist punk rock lyrical universe. "Punk In Drublic" is possibly the album where they do it the best (at least in the 90s), which is why even after so many years and so many bands trying to re-interpret their formula without much success, it still stands as one of the greatest albums ever released in punk rock, a timeless classic that even 18 years after its release still serves as a cornerstone of the genre that just refuses to sound dated or irrelevant.

Download: Dying Degree, Linoleum, Jeff Wears Birkenstocks?, Lori Meyers, Perfect Government, Don't Call me White
For the fans of: Rancid, Lagwagon, Bad Religion, punk rock
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.07.1994

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXX