MUSIC REVIEW | NOFX – Self Entitled (2012)


I love NOFX. There are several NOFX albums that would be in the top 10 most listened to albums of my lifetime. NOFX have never made an album I don’t like. They haven’t changed much over the years, but that’s one of the things I love about them. But as the albums mount up, it’s hard to find time to listen, really listen (and re-listen) every time something new drops. When Self Entitled came out two years ago, I was super excited to listen to it. Which I did, immediately. And I loved it. But I don’t think I’ve listened to it in its entirety since. Which is why I’m revisiting Self Entitled.

72 Hookers might not just be the most restrained album opener I’ve heard from Fat Mike and crew. It might be the most restrained song overall I’ve ever heard from Fat Mike and crew. Even when it kicks in with the familiar machine gun drums and Mike’s nasal snark, it’s still a little pulled back compared to your average NOFX tune.

Never one to hide his opinions or messages under metaphor or symbolism, lyrics like “these holy wars aren’t holy… Terrorists are 16 year old kids who are promised jihad sex… When everyone’s getting blowjobs, that’s when we’ll finally have world peace” makes sure you know exactly how he feels.

When it comes to the musicality of NOFX, most credit is always reserved for lead guitarist El Hefe. And sure, Hefe is a guitar virtuoso, not too bad on the trumpet either. But I think Mike’s bass work is a little overlooked. Being the front man, and playing punk rock, I don’t think anyone would ever fault him for playing basic bass notes on the beat that match up with the guitar. But the intro to I Believe in Goddess, and the spritely fret running of Ronnie & Mags highlights his efforts to make sure his bass work is never a mere afterthought.

I’m not sure how much else can be said about Self Entitled. Not because it’s a bad or insubstantial album. But because NOFX is what it is. If you’ve heard them before and liked it, you’ll like this. If you’ve heard them before and didn’t like it, this won’t change your mind. If you’ve never heard NOFX before, this is a good a place as any to dive and discover how sweet their brand of Californian punk rock is.

NOFX have done the almost impossible in the last decade or so. Ever since 2003’s amazing The War on Errorism, they’ve expertly straddled the fence between keeping their snot nosed, sarcastic, punk ass kids attitude, while aging gracefully into their punk rock elder statesman role.

They do the same with their subject matter. While Self Entitled might tackle lofty, or depressing, or dark subject matter and themes, there’s always enough of that bratty feel to make sure we know, that they know, they’re still the same old NOFX who are there to party just as much as they are there to spread a message. It’s 12 songs in less than half an hour, and that’s exactly why I love this band so much.


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