REVIEW: NOFX – "Self Entitled"

Well, NOFX has a new record. It is totally a thing. Much like every record since So Long And Thanks For The Shoes, a good portion of this record is forgettable and up it’s own ass. This isn’t to say Self Entitled is without any merit, but the shining moments are pretty fucking limited. I’ve always had a soft spot for this band. NOFX was one of the first punk bands I got into when I was younger, as is the case with many other people. But, nostalgia and sentimentality aside, something about Self Entitled just bothers me.

The record sounds like every other thing they have put out before. While there is not an obligatory ska song, it is very much NOFX by the books. But, you know, I’m not sure what else I expected. Musically, this is pretty 1990s Epitaph/Fat Wreck skate punk, but lyrically it gets kind of weird. The album opens with the casually racist “72 Hookers,” which is really fucking disappointing. Yeah, I get that it is supposed to be a joke, but it really misses the mark.

Even more confusing is “Ronnie And Mags,” mostly because I don’t understand who was clamoring for a song about Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in 2012. The song is just kind of there, and stands out as a weird anachronism. Throw in a few more anti-religion songs and you have most of the album.

Even the good songs are kind of bland. “Secret Society” sounds like a Bad Religion song (if Greg Graffin and Mr. Brett started to dumb down their songwriting). “I’ve Got One Jealous Again, Again” (the follow up to War On Errorism’s “We Got Two Jealous Agains”) is pretty obviously about Fat Mike’s divorce. While that makes it understandably darker, it just seems more like Mike wanting to name drop things rather than use bands and records as a narrative tool. “She Didn’t Lose Her Baby” is generally ok. It’s overall message seems lost when you realize how stoked on drugs Fat Mike is.

Despite being around a half hour in length, this record feels too long. By the time you get to the ninth track, the incredibly overwrought and self referential “My Sycophant Other,” you are ready for it to be over. At least the record sounds good, I guess. We can chalk Self Entitled up as yet another NOFX full length that would be better as an EP.

I know that I can’t expect a NOFX record to hit me the same at 27 as it would have at 16, but I kind of hoped it would still be fun. I don’t know. Is it possible to be disappointed in a record you knew you would hate?

REVIEW: Teenage Bottlerocket – "Freak Out!"

What can be said about Teenage Bottlerocket that hasn’t been repeated to death? As one of the best current bands in the deep history of pop punk, most discussion of them turns to comparisons of bands from the past. More or less, Teenage Bottlerocket is a Ramones style pop punk band rooted in the old Lookout Records sound of yore. They aren’t reinventing the wheel, but they sure are fun.

Freak Out! is Teenage Bottlerocket’s fourth full length, and second on the mighty Fat Wreck Chords.  Honestly, anything on this record could have just as well been on any of their older releases. There is nothing more I could want, especially after the generally lackluster They Came From The Shadow.

This record is a blast of tight and catchy pop punk. Nothing on here takes itself too seriously. “Headbanger” is about dudes at heavy metal parties headbanging (and the danger therein). “Necrocomicon” is fantastic and almost sounds like a straight up Lillingtons’ song, given the tongue in cheek horror reference (“the comic book of the dead / the comic not to be fucked with / the comic not to be read”). “In The Pit” is a great song about how dumb mosh pits are, so that is great. Worth noting is the lack of genre staple love songs. I mean, yeah, there are still like three such songs. But three out of 14 is a pretty small ratio given the genre. While I am a sucker for a good pop punk love song, it is actually pretty refreshing to see it.

Long story short, everything you would want on a Teenage Bottlerocket record is here. I guess the fact that there are two songs from their Mutilate Me 7″ on here (“Mutilate Me” and “Punk House Of Horror”) is kind of a bummer. But, as someone who doesn’t have that 7″, I certainly can’t complain. Other than that, this record is fantastic. So, yeah.

Teenage Bottlerocket
Fat Wreck Chords
Buy It