Single Album

Written by: PP on 16/03/2021 19:09:41

Hey Mike, are you okay? That's the question we should all be asking the punk rock mastermind based on "Single Album", the darkest, most brooding NOFX album to date. If you thought the Cokie The Clown stuff was weird and borderline manic depressive, this record takes it a step further and culminates in a sprawling dystopian assessment about drug abuse, gender politics, father-daughter issues, death, and the state of the world across ten tracks. At the same time, it's also a refreshing change and a unique twist to the NOFX soundscape, presenting their technical skate punk in a completely different light to what we're used to on previous records.

They deviate from the norm already on opener "The Big Drag", a five-and-a-half minute piece presenting a murky status on the state of the world with lyrics like "The human race is not worth watching or wagering on [...] Nothing is ever gonna change, nothing will ever be okay / There's only a finite number of tomorrows / And it's not a lot [...] There's no sadness if there's no one left to cry". It's down-beat and heavy, progressive even, and unusually dark for NOFX, yet oddly addictive nonetheless.

It is immediately contrasted by "I Love You More Than I Hate Me", which is lyrically morbid, but features ripping skate punk guitars taking us back to their early 2000s-era in the process. Likewise, "Fuck Euphemism" races through high-tempo, intricate riffs, while tearing mercilessly into political correctness and gender politics through lines like "Your hypocritical political correctness ain't legit / I mean it, fuck euphemism / I say what I wanna say [...] I identify as a grain of salt Peter Panarchist [...] Your words are neophyte I'm a single not a plural person [...] You're wrong if you hate me just 'cause I'm word-Smith and Wesson". Some might be offended by the contents, but in reality the commentary is sobering and much more leveled than what we've seen in recent years, especially given its kink side-track.

Probably the crown jewel of offensive on the record is a classic, signature-style NOFX stunt in the form of "Linewleum". A re-imagined, re-recorded cover of their own 1994 classic "Linoleum", complete with new lyrics referencing the old ones:

"Intellectual property never meant anything to me / So, I'm not crazy for trying to pimp out a classic song [...] But after 70 hundred covers and 1800 shows / And because it's the song that Colombians love to hum / We voted to pull the plug and euthanize Linoleum / I think I was born into this world to piss people off / So, I'm doin' what no smart band ever would / I'm taking our one well known song and trying to make it not very good"

Not only did they cover their own song, but they released two (!) official videos for the same song, each featuring few second clips of other bands covering the original. I've said it before and I'll say it again: only NOFX pulls off shit like this - the last equivalent stunt was the instrumental, 85-man orchestral rendition of "The Decline" they did at Jera On Air back in 2008.

So what else do we have on the record? Classic skate punk bangers like "Birmignham" (about drug abuse), "Coaster"-style mid-tempo anthems like "My Bro Cancervive Cancer", and we even have a reggae style track complete with groovy saxophone guaranteed to make the song a live classic like "Reeko" or "Eat The Meek", except instead of being unserious, it's about mass shootings with an underlying commentary on gun legislation ("Only a lunatic...Would sell a lunatic a gun").

Overall, the record is lyrically the darkest, but also among the most sharpest and academic of NOFX's career to date. Stylistically, it bounces back-and-forth between "War On Errorism" style skate punk and "Coaster"/mid-90s influenced laid back punk rock, while delivering some of the catchiest and most interesting tracks we've heard from NOFX in years. Sure, "First Ditch Effort" and "Self-Entitled" were excellent, but given its distinct expression, "Single Album" is probably the best NOFX record since the underrated "Wolves In Wolves Clothing" from 2006.


Download: Fuck Euphemism, Linewleum, Fish In A Gun Barrel, Birmingham
For the fans of: Cokie The Clown, Bad Religion, Descendents, Lagwagon
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.02.2021
Fat Wreck Chords

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