Reflection on life
When you think about American punk rock, many bands come to mind, like The Ramones, Early Green Day, blink-182, Bad Religion, The Offspring and of course, NOFX.
NOFX is one of the most influential punk bands in America, may even the world. They formed in 1983 and since then have headlined tours, played festivals, had their own festival and even created a beer line named after their hit album Punk in Drublic. Now the bandmembers Fat Mike (vocals/bass), Eric Melvin (guitar), Erik Sandin (drums) and El Hefe (trumpet/guitar) have released their newest album in almost five years, Single Album.
The album starts with “The Big Drag.” And just like the title gives away, the song drags on a little until getting to the drum-loaded highpoint of the song. The song generally starts the album off in a very punk way. The numbness in Mike’s vocals is captivating and speaks to a part of the soul that is kind of desensitized and negative after a hard year, and cynical lyrics are always a good way to start a new era in the band, just ask blink-182.
“I Love You More Than I Hate Me” continues the rather cynical line of lyrics. A short guitar solo adds some flavor to the song, which is always welcome. Generally, the beginning of the album seems darker and almost melancholically. With the previously released song “Fuck Euphemism,” Fat Mike fully confronts today’s gender debate. Fat Mike himself came out as crossdressing and queer, so he uses the song to express his feelings about the constant pressure of putting a label on someone’s identity. He explains his lyrics, which are very much based on true life experiences, in a recent interview with spin.com.
The album continues raising some serious thoughts with “Fish in a Gun Barrel.” The song was written in February 2017, eight months before the deadly shooting at a country festival in Las Vegas. The song is a line of questions that are mostly asked after deadly mass shootings. Questions asked by the media and asked by society trying to find a reason for mass shootings. The song is also tackling the ongoing debate in the US about more gun control.
The album one more gets very personal with “Birmingham.” It almost feels like a personal essay about drug usage. Fat Mike almost sounds like he is just reflecting by himself, not really minding the audience. “Linewleum” is the new, re-written version of the NOFX classic “Linoleum.” The song is another one of those honest, no bullshit songs that the fans know and love from NOFX. The melody varies from the original, and that is fine because it’s not a cover. The song was previously released, and Spotify lists none other than Avenged Sevenfold as a feature, which is obvious later with a nice little guitar solo. The song mentions another NOFX project, their book “NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories.”
The next song can be labeled as emotional, which feels weird to say about a NOFX song, but as this new album shows, it is now not uncommon. “My Bro Cancervive Cancer” tells the story of a fan dying of cancer, partying with the band and then getting his final wish, a song dedicated to him. “Grieve Soto” deals with the death of punk rock(ers) like Steve Soto, but also the freedom of expression through punk in today’s politically correct climate. “Doors and Fours” features a wild west resembling guitar intro, mixed with some metal elements. This sound gives the entire song a serious and dark flair that is complemented by the lyrics. Single Album ends with “Your Last Resort.” Mike’s vocals change drastically to mumbling, almost drunk-like noise. The song feels like completely giving up on life and shows how emotional the band is getting on the album, but don’t let yourself be fooled by the beginning of the song. The beat picks up, and so does Fat Mike’s singing.
Single Album shows a lot of introspection by the band, and especially lead singer Fat Mike. It is a dark album but features the iconic sound of the band nevertheless. The album will be a fan favorite as it shows a grown band that still keeps true to its roots and beginnings while adapting to the new era in life.