NOFX – Single Album
Released: 26 February 2021
Fat Mike // bass, vocals
El Hefe // guitar
Eric Melvin // guitar
Erik ‘Smelly’ Sandin // drums
Much has been made of NOFX’s upcoming release Single Album, and how Fat Mike was off his head on drugs for most of the writing and recording, leading to the album being darker and more personal. And even a casual fan can see the stark difference between this album and the more frivolous tracks of previous albums, despite NOFX regularly delving into tragedy (see ‘I’m So Sorry Tony’ from First Ditch Effort – awesome track) and politics (War on Errorism being a highlight). In saying that though, there is some silliness to be found in Single Album.
Opening with a, just under six minute, epic ‘The Big Drag’ has a heavier, experimental sound, with an unpredictable melody although its lyrics are somewhat optimistic, with its promise to live life to the fullest. ‘I Love You More Than I Hate Me’, released last year during the pandemic, is a more traditional NOFX song, with its dry lyrics and punk rock chord progression. ‘Fuck Euphemism’ explores Fat Mike’s sexuality with graphic, unashamedly in your face lyrics, like Fat Mike only can.
Released in 2018, ‘Fish In A Gun Barrel’, a ska/ reggae hybrid, stands out for being musically different from the rest of the album, but its socio-political message of gun ownership and gun control is, unfortunately, significant in the US anytime over the last few decades. ‘Birmingham’ continues to explore dire situations, with Fat Mike telling the story of his drug addiction, specifically how he scraped cocaine off the floor while in the titular town. The silliest song on the album ‘Linewleum’ is both a homage with its tune, and a parody, “I’m taking our one well known song and trying to make it not very good”, “We voted to pull the plug and euthanise Linoleum”, of the NOFX classic ‘Linoleum’, which has been covered so many times, that the band itself is baffled by its popularity.
‘My Bro Cancervive Cancer’ is a song about how the band was, how do I put this, ‘pressured’ to write a song about a fan with cancer, by said fan. While ‘Grieve Soto’, a song about Adolescents’ Steve Soto, is very much eulogising the late musician, turning meta half way through, looking at hate thrown Fat Mike’s way. Starting with a country twang, ‘Doors and Fours’ is probably the darkest song on the album, with imagery of death and drug overdoses littering the song, specifically referencing LA in the 1980’s. Ending the album with ‘Your Last Resort’, that starts off as a piano ballad before segueing into an unrelenting driving punk rock song, the song explores heartbreak with the refrain “Was I just your last resort?”
Single Album, titled that as it was originally a planned to be double album, is, on a whole, very much a reflection of Fat Mike’s time with drugs and as such majority of the songs are quite intense. The album explores different sounds, and isn’t a straight up punk rock album, but listening to NOFX’s previous effort First Ditch Effort, this isn’t so surprising. Anyone who is refuses to listen to NOFX beyond the late 1990’s, will be disappointed—some fans will take a while to adapt to the musical variety while others will appreciate the diversity. The only question is—which one are you?
NOFX – Single Album tracklisting:
1. The Big Drag
2. I Love You More Than I Hate Me
3. Fuck Euphemism
4. Fish In A Gun Barrel
7. My Bro Cancervive Cancer
8. Grieve Soto
9. Doors and Fours
10. Your Last Resort
Revisit our interview with NOFX frontman Fat Mike chatting all things sobriety, ball-breaking fetishes and more right here