Album Review: NOFX – “Self/Entitled”

NOFX has been around for over twenty five years and show no signs of settling down. In fact, their new album “Self /Entitled”,  is a little faster, a little angrier and a lot more focused than their previous effort, “Coaster”. I’m not saying that I don’t like the “Coaster”, because I do, but the two dumb joke songs “Creeping Out Sara” and “Eddie, Bruce and Paul” stuck right in the middle of the album seem to suck some of the life out of it. Luckily, (at least for me) “Self /Entitled” is void of those out of place silly joke tracks but everything else we’ve come to expect from Nofx is still there. We’ve got well placed humor, Mike’s political and religious views, and some social commentary but somehow this album sounds more vital, more urgent and yes, much more personal than any record they’ve done in quite a while.

Almost every song on “Self /Entitled” is great but I want to tell you about my favorites and the one that I consider a throw away song.

The first song is “72 Hookers”. It starts out at a simple mid-tempo pace then speeds up around the one minute mark, only to settle back down and speed up again. It’s an awesome way to start out the disc. This is one of the more humorous songs on here, it’s about Jihad and the famed 72 virgins and pretty much states that if those guys were not so sexually pent up that the world could be a better, safer place.

“She Didn’t Lose Her Baby” is another that I like a lot. This is a fast paced track about an intravenous drug user who’s baby is taken away from her. It’s a pretty sad song despite the break neck speed at which it’s played and in the end you somehow feels bad for both the woman and the child. The next two songs I’m going to talk about are “I Got One Jealous Again, Again” and “Down With The Ship”. Fat Mike hasn’t written very many songs about his personal life, “My Orphan Year” is the only other one that immediately comes to mind so these two songs, seemingly about his semi-recent divorce really stand out. The first one “I Got One Jealous Again, Again”, is a sad sequel to “We Got Two Jealous Agains” on 2003’s “The War On Errorism” about splitting up the record collection he merged with his ex-wife’s when they married. Hey Mike, I would have kept the “Misfits” coffin box if I were you. And on the other song, “Down With The Ship”, Mike seems to blame himself for the split, calling himself “cowardly”, “self loathing” and “self centered”. These three songs show an emotional side that I didn’t expect but I’m glad I got to hear.

This leads me to the one song that I’m not really thrilled with, “Ronnie & Mags”. There is nothing really wrong with this song but it’s inclusion on “Self /Entitled” is a bit of a mystery to me. Lyrically, it’s about Reagan/Thatcher era politics, with mentions of El Salvador, Grenada and several other wars/ military actions that took place back in the 80’s. The thing that makes me less than thrilled with this song is that I don’t see a point in it. Yes these things happened but why is Mike singing about them now, in 2012? Is he drawing a comparison to modern day England/United States politics? I don’t know. I don’t hate the song though, and musically, it fits well with the album but if it was up to me, I’d have made it a b-side and surely not released it as the lead single. But that’s just me.

So to sum it up, “Self /Entitled” is a great NOFX album. It’s not perfect (so few are) but it’s pretty damn close. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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