Punk rock is essentially a youth movement, a genre fueled by rambunctious energy, ear-splitting guitars, and plentiful doses of unchecked aggression. But while logic would suggest that such angst would dissipate with age, NOFX have done a pretty good job over the years of proving that punk rock is more than just a passing phase.
It’s been almost 30 years since Fat Mike, Eric Melvin, Erik Sandin, and Aaron “El Hefe” Abeyta first started churning out the mile-a-minute brand of biting brat punk that would inspire future generations of punks around the world. And while the idea of a bunch of middle-aged guys carrying on with their youthful anti-authoritarian ways might border on self-parody in lesser hands, NOFX are as in their petulantly wayward element now as they were during the mid-’90s punk rock heyday that brought us such classics as Punk In Drublic and So Long and Thanks For All The Shoes.
Self/Entitled, the band’s twelfth studio album, checks in just shy of the band’s dirty 30, but it’s an album that’s plenty young at heart, even as it wrestles with some weighty topics. Whether they’re offering ill-advised stabs at diplomacy on “72 Hookers”, expounding on rock-bottom drug addiction (“She Didn’t Lose Her Baby”), or grappling with divorce (“I’ve Got One Jealous Again, Again”), it’s all done through the band’s skewed, cuttingly satiric worldview. Musically , the band stays true to its calling card of mischievous pop-punk, complete with Fat Mike’s trademark prepubescent wheeze and eviscerating lyrics, Sandin’s rapid-fire drumming, and the dual-guitar assault from Melvin and Hefe.
At this point in the game, it would be foolish to expect more from the seasoned punk vets, but we very well could have gotten less. The band’s last effort, Coaster, lived up to its name a little too well, giving fans plenty of reason to worry the band might be starting to lose a step or two. But Self/Entitled is a much-welcomed step back in the right direction, offering all the proof long-time fans need that age still hasn’t quelled the band’s nonconformist, seriocomic ways.
Essential Tracks: “72 Hookers”, “She Didn’t Lose Her Baby”