Review Summary: Self Entitled is NOFX's past, present, and future...
Twelve albums into their career, NOFX is a band that needs no introduction. They have been making music longer than most people on this site have been alive. What many people probably don’t know, however, is that Fat Mike recently got a divorce after a lengthy eighteen year marriage. He also faced the tragedy of losing both of his parents in 2006. The reason I’m telling you this is because it’s clear that these events have made a slight, yet noticeable difference in the bands music. They haven’t lost their sense of humor, but the lyrics on some songs suggest a newfound sense of maturity.
The first evidence the band was maturing was found on ‘My Orphan Year’ from the album "Coaster", in which Fat Mike sings of the loss of his parents. It was one of the best songs on the album, proving the band can still make great punk music using a more serious lyrical approach. They succeed in doing this again on Self Entitled’s eleventh track ‘Ive got one Jealous again, again’. The song is about what Mike was able to keep and what he lost to the divorce. The ballad is full of lyrics like “I parted with my Neurosis, but I kept the Lookouts, I got the record player but I didn't get the house”. What’s interesting about this song is it’s more of an ode to Mike’s love for music than it is a sappy song about divorce. It’s honesty and its clever lyrics make it one of the most impressive tracks.
The rest of the album is filled with the humorous, fast paced punk songs NOFX are generally known for. The opener ’72 Hookers’ starts with a catchy riff and stands out as one of the most hilarious songs on the album. I won’t give the lyrics away, but I’ll just say the song suggests the worlds oldest profession could help promote world peace or even prevent terrorism. It’s a fitting way to start the album and its sound is reminiscent of their work on "The War On Errorism" or "Pump Up The Valuum". The next two songs ‘I Believe in Goddess’ and ‘Ronnie and Mags’ are pretty much your typical NOFX songs, but that’s by no means a bad thing. The first of the two is an extremely catchy 90 second song where Mike pokes fun at religion. Another standout has to be ‘She didn’t Lose Her Baby’ which shows off the bands darker side as they sing about somebody’s drug addiction causing them to lose their child. Although it may not sound funny to some, NOFX is just pointing out flaws in our society which is something they’ve always done, but usually with a sense of humor.
When it comes down to it, Self Entitled is NOFX’s past, present, and future. Many of the jams on here will remind you of their older albums, while others will remind you of songs off of "Wolves in Wolves Clothing" or "Coaster". However, they also give us a sense of what’s to come in future releases with a welcome improvement in song-writing. There is also more consistency in the music here than the bands last two albums which also gives us an idea of what they have in store for us. If they continue down this path their thirteenth full length will likely be Fat Mike’s most personal record to date. Hopefully they won’t ever ditch their humor or controversial lyrics, but at least we know the band is willing to try something new.