NOFX Create an Album That Will Trigger Many People Including Their Own Fans with Double Album
4.4 out of 5 stars
NOFX has been one of the most prolific and respected names in punk music since the mid-90’s when they released their seminal album Punk In Drublic on Epitaph Records.
The success of that album led the band to recoil a bit from gaining more exposure, and instead they decided to go fully DIY with their own record label from frontman “Fat Mike” Burkett called Fat Wreck Chords.
The band has been self-producing and releasing albums ever since with varying degrees of popularity among fans and critics.
Last year, the band released the first part of a double album called Single Album which took the band in a pretty creative path to discussing the downside of being punk musicians for more than 30 years. The song talked about dead friends in the scene, struggling with addiction and it had very few songs that were comedy-driven for which the band had been known for over the years.
Still, I thought it was a great album for them to put out.
Now, part two of that double album has come out – titled Double Album.
This album doesn’t have the dark past lingering over it nearly as much. It flirts with personal struggle, but it talks about it in a more joking way. And overall, it is an album more akin to past releases like Pump Up the Valuum.
Some of the songs are good, and some of them kinda miss the mark.
Examples of the songs that I see being quintessential NOFX style songs would be the first two songs on the album “Darby Crashing Your Party” and “My Favorite Enemy.”
Any NOFX fan will like these songs, in my opinion.
One of my favorite lines of the whole album comes from that opening track “Darby Crashing Your Party” where Burkett belts out the line:
There are a ton of clever pop-culture lyrical references in a very straightforward skate punk song here.
“My Favorite Enemy” is definitely a little bit of a self-loathing song which is also a pretty classic NOFX trope, and it works quite well also as it is set to a great drum beat from “Smelly” Eric Sandin.
Now, by the third song, things start to change direction a bit as Burkett channels his alter-ego Cokie The Clown, and backup vocalist Eric Melvin sings a major portion of the lyrics on “Don’t Count On Me.”
The song is about how Burkett shirks a bit of the natural responsibilities of many adults and how he is not a person to be counted on. It is definitely one of those songs that as a grown person, it kinda annoys you to listen to, because essentially he is trying to cop out of any normal human being’s civic duties to their friends and family.
It’s literally the biggest gripe I have ever had about Burkett as a person. He seems to want to be able to grow businesses and his band and not take any responsibility when things go wrong or he says something that offends people.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not offended by what he says or even does really. I just think it is pretty childish to create fake apologies within songs to give yourself free reign to act like an asshole. If you want to be an asshole, just be one and own it. But you can still be kind to those around you that you SHOULD be kind to.
There’s a reggae breakdown in this song that guitarist “El Hefe” Aaron Abeyta chimes in on for what seems like the first time in a very long time on a studio album, and that part of the song does bring comic relief as he equates Burkett to Captain Kirk and William Shatner.
I also want to mention that I do like this song. I just don’t like the message being from Burkett knowing his history with shirking any sincere regret for past wrongdoings.
One of the singles off the album comes from the song “Punk Rock Cliché.” The backstory here is that the song was originally written for Blink-182 to record as back then Alkaline Trio frontman/guitarist Matt Skiba had been picked to replace Tom DeLonge in the band, and Burkett wrote the song to give to Skiba for a contribution to Blink.
Supposedly, Blink did record it, but allegedly dropped it upon learning that Skiba had been given the song from Fat Mike.
All of that story tracks (whether the full story is something more than Burkett's account or not, only a few people would know), and Fat Mike even says that the Blink-182 version is a better version of the song than NOFX’s take on the song for this album.
It’s a decent song though. It’s probably a bit too harsh for Blink to ever put out as it is not really so much about their band as it does seem more to fit NOFX’s band’s history.
“Fuck Day Six” seems to be the most personal song on the album as it details Burkett’s attempt at drug rehabilitation. Personally, I can’t even imagine that kind of situation, but it does bring a bit of a glimpse into the life of an addict’s perspective.
My least favorite song on the album is probably “Is It Too Soon If Time is Relative?”
For an attempt at a joke about the late scientist Stephen Hawking, the song just comes off as mean and uninformed. Usually, I think if you make fun of someone, they are around to defend themselves (a la a Roast), and if you are going to make fun of someone’s neurological disorder, you probably should at least have the decency to compare his fault’s to your own. This song just shows that Burkett can act like a bully for absolutely no reason.
Also, the actual music in the song throws a synth in there to, I guess, make it sound more “spacey.” It makes it sound like a bad early 2000’s pop-punk song to me though.
Is it too soon? No. Is it funny? No. Is it meant to offend? Yep. But the real question is, “Who is it meant to offend?” My guess, Hawking’s family who still likely grieve his passing. So, in that sentiment, the song just seems to be absolutely pointless.
Somehow it seems like Burkett is trying to replicate South Park's famous comedic wit, but whereas South Park would have made the joke funny this one didn't land.
“Alcopollack” is a bit of a tribute song to the band’s booking agent, David Pollack. It’s a pretty decent song, and it does have a lot of inside jokes about how many times the band partied with him while on tour.
“Three Against Me” is a song about Burkett’s childhood and getting beat up by his brothers, and how that led him to contemplate suicide on his 13th birthday. It also led to his mom turning her back on him as well for being, as he says in the song, “queer.”
I don’t know how much of the story is truth and how much of it is fiction, but I don’t see any reason for him to lie about it, and he has documented his family and personal issues quite a bit in the past. So, it does bring out those deep anxieties and insecurities from a rough childhood that a lot of artists can relate to.
The last song on the album “Gone With The Heroined” is another Eric Melvin track where he sings about being addicted to heroin and how it has a feeling that pulls at you from inside even if you kick the habit.
The lyrics are pretty descriptive and visceral on this one, and it definitely could be used as an anti-heroin PSA.
Overall, the album does what a lot of past releases have done: it lifts you up, it pisses you off, it calms you down, and it impresses you.
I still think there is room for improvement, but I am glad that NOFX put this album out even though 2 or 3 songs could have been cut from this one and the last one to make one really good album.