Posted on January 2nd, 2013 (10:07 am) by Ben Welton

Punk rock should last for two albums…that’s it. Now, before you starting yelling and screaming, I want to let you know that punk rock changed my life. The Misfits, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, The Ramones, and Black Flag were my blankets on cold nights; they are the reasons why I will never get rid of my propensity for righteous anger. Everyone reading this review can probably say the same thing, although the litany of bands may be slightly different. Despite my obsequious worshiping at the altar of punk rock, I am not all that blind. Punk rock, more so than almost any other genre, has to be highly cautious of redundancy and repetition. Punk rock’s aversion to musical complexity, dexterity, and virtuosity is incredibly limiting, thus all the best punk bands either reshape and reform their sound or do the dodo and expire. Good moves have been The Shape of Punk to Come and My War; Self Entitled is a bad move.

Here’s another honest moment: I have and never will be a fan of NOFX. This may color this review, but don’t just take my word for it. NOFX’s brand of snotty, Howard Stern-esque punk rock would have been better served if it had died gloriously in the early nineties. As it stands now, NOFX are a mere parody of themselves, a joke that stopped being funny at around Ribbed. From the lyrics to the production, NOFX’s latest album, Self Entitled, is a gob of goo that should have been left on the recording studio's floor. Tracks like “Ronnie and Mags” and “72 Hookers” are sterling examples of why Self Entitled deserves the same treatment as Spinal Tap’s Shark Sandwich. First of all, NOFX are the kings of annoying and aggravating lyrics (which just so happen to have the distinction of being delivered by the oh-so dulcet tones of Fat Mike). NOFX oscillate between appalling yuppie, bumper sticker liberalism and frat house misogyny.

A prime example of such behavior is the song “Ronnie and Mags.” First of all, why do punks still feel the need to bash President Reagan? Not only is the man dead, but there is a whole host of other things in the American political world that are crying out for a good bashing. I guess since President Bush II left office, Fat Mike and his stooges are all of out of gusto. Instead of bowing out and saving all of us, they felt the urge to release “Ronnie and Mags,” a truly putrescent song that is not only stale, but about as musically charming as a conversation with Todd Akin. Another car wreck is “72 Hookers,” a low-brow send up of easy women, war, and Islamic fundamentalism. “72 Hookers” will make you a terrorism-loving, red-blooded philanderer due to its noxiousness. “72 Hookers,” and its counterpart, the juvenile “I Believe in Goddess,” represent the nadir of an album already dwelling at the bottom of the pool.

Another telling moment on Self Entitled is “I’ve Got Jealous Again, Again.” “I’ve Got Jealous Again, Again” is a song for navel-gazing middle-aged men, and if you happen to be this type, then please do all of us a favor and never step inside a recording booth. Besides its moth-eaten subject matter, “I’ve Got Jealous Again, Again” also does something that I personally find maddening, and that is punk bands name-checking other punk bands. To make matters worse, “I’ve Got Jealous Again, Again” only discusses those punk rock bands that were smart enough to call it a day back around 1985 or 6. The melancholy nature of “I’ve Got Jealous Again, Again” sounds alarmingly like NOFX admitting that punk rock is dead. Punk rock isn’t dead, but NOFX ought to be. NOFX’s brand of dyed hair old foggyism is ultimately reductive and about as meaningful as anarchy symbols on high school bathroom walls.

After listening to the wreckage that is Self Entitled, I came to some fairly obvious conclusions. First, this is simply just a bad record. The songs all sound the same and the throwback aesthetics need to be literally thrown back from out of sight. Second, there is something inherently tragic about Self Entitled. NOFX’s latest album is about as tragic as all of those records that came out right after the Behind the Music episodes—it’s out-of-touch, out-of-date, and just downright embarrassing for all parties concerned. Lastly, Self Entitled should be taken as a testament to the truth of the great, grand lesson of all three chord punk rock: Thou Shalt Burn Out and Not Fade Away. For such learned scholars of punk rock as NOFX, it’s surprising to see how poorly they missed the point.

Track List:
1. 72 Hookers
2. I Believe in Goddess
3. Ronnie and Mags
4. She Didn’t Lose Her Baby
5. Secret Society
6. I, Fatty
7. Cell Out
8. Down with the Ship
9. My Sycophant Others
10. This Machine is 4
11. I’ve Got Jealous Again, Again
12. Xmas Has Been X’ed

NOFX's "Self Entitled"
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

40 / 100
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