NOFX
Pump Up the Valuum


4.0
excellent

Review

by Joe Costa USER (34 Reviews)
February 26th, 2007 | 25 replies | 7,253 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pump up the Valuum is yet another solid album to be added to the NOFX legacy, providing a fun listen and a good gateway into one of the more influential punk bands of the last 20 years.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Most everyone I have spoken to about music, regardless of genre or tastes can agree on one simple thing: most everyone has a band that has either shaped their music tastes to this day, or whose works have just infested their music collection like mold. For me, this band is NOFX; I’ve loved them since the first time I heard them way back in like 5th grade. While it seems to me that most fans tend to dislike most of their newer work (anything post-The Decline EP), but worship their earlier works, there is really no large dissimilarity between the two eras. So when Pump up the Valuum was released to mixed reactions in 2000, I was quite astounded that quite a few long time fans did not enjoy it.

From the first note of the album, it was strikingly obvious that the NOFX we all know is back and in strong form. Musically, the album, as I’ve stated before, doesn’t betray their older work in any way shape or form. The quick rhythms and blasting drumbeats are in full effect on tracks like Take Two Placebos and Call Me Lame, which is one of the many highlights of their album. Transitioning on a dime from typical speed punk to an unpredictable jazzy section driven by a thumping bassline, Placebo shows that punk doesn’t have to be senselessly fast and musically flat, but can have plenty of exciting dynamics and experimental moments.

Pump up the Valuum runs on two modes for the majority of the album. Firstly, the aforementioned hyperactive punk that the band practically wrote the book on is here in copious amounts, especially on tracks such as the catchy romp of Thank God it’s Monday, the depression-addled tale of Total Bummer, and the pro-drug legalization anthem of Herojuana all speed along fast enough to make all of their imitators wince in envy and lend their discography some of its strongest cuts thus far. But what also proves to be one of the album’s greatest strengths is the variety provided by the poppier, grittier, punk songs such as the absurdly vulgar female masturbation narrative Louise and the polka-punk fusion of the closing track Theme From a NOFX Album.

When it comes to lyrics, it’s a love-hate relationship for most people. There really isn’t a middle ground of “their lyrics are just okay”. For what they do, they do it extraordinarily well. Combining the serious and the humorous like no other band can really do, NOFX tackle some of the most important issues to society in general all while maintaining a snide sense of humor about it. Dinosaurs Will Die is a directed assault at the mainstream music industry and major record labels, replete with lyrics such as “Gonna fight against the mass appeal/We're gonna kill the 7 record deal/Make records that have more than one good song/The dinosaurs will slowly die/And I do believe no one will cry/I'm just fucking glad I'm gonna be/There to watch the fall” providing a caustic lyrical attack towards all that is wrong with music business. However, tracks like Pharmacist’s Daughter and My Vagina are fun romps through dating a girl just for access to her prescription drugs (the former) and having a sex-change operation (the latter). The primary lyrical mood of this album is more inane and vulgar than serious however, as nine out of the 14 songs are filled to the brim with drug humor and songs about lesbians. In a nutshell, this album is simply fun.

Yes, Fun. When it comes down to it, is what this album (and, even further, the band) really shines at. While NOFX is plenty technically astute, it is their ability to craft a truly great and enjoyable song with a minimum amount of frills that truly makes this album stand out among its contemporaries. Although the album is not without faults, especially concerning certain songs being a bit repetitive, and only a modest amount of variety between the 14 tracks, there is plenty about this album to enjoy. It is certainly an excellent gateway into melodic punk, and one that I recommend most anyone check out.

Recommended Tracks:
Take Two Placebos and Call Me Lame, Dinosaurs Will Die, Thank God It’s Monday, Pharmacists Daughter



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
February 27th 2007



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was the first NOFX album I got and it was a major gateway album for me, but when everything comes down and I really take a look at it, it's probably one of my least favourite albums of theirs.

The album closer rules though

DFelon204409
Emeritus
February 27th 2007



3995 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This too was my first NOFX album. I feel like I got into them way too late but I essentially ended up purchasing their whole catalog after hearing this. This has some really strong songs and overall is a little uniform, but the whole experience is very tight and polished without losing the punk appeal.

Intransit
February 27th 2007



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

123. I like this alot, but I find myself listening to SLATFATS sooo much more. WIWC also gets alot of plays from me because it reminds me of a cross between this and SLATFATS.

Tyler
Emeritus
February 27th 2007



7926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

SLAFATS is my favourite.

StrizzMatik
February 27th 2007



3186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not my first NOFX album (that one goes to Ribbed, believe it or not), but I happen to love this album. The songs are strong, particularly "Take Two Placebos", "Herojuana", "Dinosaurs Will Die" and "Total Bummer", and I love that they didn't really put any effort into it and it still kicks ass. I pretty much learned to play lead guitar from it, and El Hefe is still a huge influence on my playing... but it will never top Punk In Drublic, SLATFATS, or The Longest Line EP as their best.

spoon_of_grimbo
February 27th 2007



2240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is a brilliant album, but taking into account the songs they left off it, a more cynical person might suggest they did so deliberately to pad out the b-sides album that followed. "lower," "pump up the valuum" and "bath of least resistance" are all better than a good few songs on here.

still, great album, and great review!

Zebra
Moderator
February 27th 2007



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like this album but I feel that it's very inconsistant. That being said this is their last quality album, after this Nofx really started to do down hill. Take two Placebos and Call Me Lame is my favorite song along with Dinosaurs Will Die.

smokersdieyounger
February 27th 2007



672 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was the first NOFX record I got aswell, all cos a girl I had asked out listened to them.

Fun record, thanks Kate!

StrizzMatik
February 27th 2007



3186 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Props to grimbo on mentioning "Lower"... one of NOFX's top songs ever IMO.

Spec
February 15th 2012



27146 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

GO AWAY SUNNY DAY

Digging: Rinoa - An Age Among Them

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
February 15th 2012



50096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've never heard this whole album

Digging: Tiny Moving Parts - Pleasant Living

Spec
February 15th 2012



27146 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

do it its good 3.5-4

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
February 15th 2012



50096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

getting now

Spec
February 15th 2012



27146 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

might as well, the closer rules

Spec
March 10th 2012



27146 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Clams have feelings too is irritating though.

ConsiderPhlebas
March 10th 2012



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Probably my least favourite nofx

Spec
March 10th 2012



27146 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's good

ConsiderPhlebas
March 10th 2012



6157 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Coaster was decent, Wolves was ace

Spec
June 16th 2012



27146 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wolves is still my favorite.

Dunpeal
September 24th 2012



3656 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

looks like i'm buyin the pharm





































...acy

Digging: Pallbearer - Foundations of Burden



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