NOFX – Double Album
Released: December 2, 2022
Fat Mike // Vocals/ Bass
El Hefe // Guitar/ Trumpet
Eric Melvin // Guitar
Eric “Smelly” Sandin // Drums
Talking to NOFX’s Fat Mike the other week about their soon-to-be-announced, unprecedentedly massive, multi-night, highly emotional last ever shows circa 2023/ 24 in LA before calling it a day after 40 party-heavy and unapologetically anarchistic years, the singer declared “Well, the other guys are down with this because it’s gonna be really special, but they want to keep going. But I’ve had it.”
Considering the gracelessly insane history of debauched excess, free will, and DIY candor the famously infamous quartet have undertaken while traversing the planet countless times to social/ critical acclaim and controversy in equal measure for the majority of a half-century, it’s no wonder Mike’s feeling a bit tired. And if it truly is the resident heavyweight champions of punk’s last whirl around Earth and accompanying final album release, then it’s acutely fine and self-aware one on which to end it all.
A proverbial tongue planted firmly in cheek and frank, introspective self-deprecation runs at a customary high throughout Double Album; sibling LP to 2021’s astutely titled Single Album. The two records – despite sharing similar album covers and titles in a fairly narrow window of release – don’t musically or lyrically have much else in common. While Single Album was largely an uncharacteristically sombre journey replete with lengthier and more dynamic song structures apparently resulting from the complicated clutches of addiction Mike found himself in at the time of production, Double Album is mostly back to the cynically jovial, quick-witted, and fast-paced punkery to which we are so shit-eatingly accustomed. It’s a 90’s NOFX album in many ways except the decade in which it was released, and fans will almost doubtlessly have a cathartic and rollicking time listening to it.
Anyway, this is a punk record review, so get fucked. I don’t care if you read on for a brief run-down of some of the songs, or not. Make your own fucking music that sounds like NOFX if you’re sad about them ending, or listen to Mike’s new band The Co-Defendants. Stay punk, kids.
‘Darby Crashing Your Party’ comes out the blocks with a trademark, deft, rapid, and peerless bass line from Fat Mike. Hefe, Melvin, and Smelly punch-in after four short, melodic bars with a crisp pace and trademark chord progression that’ll make fans’ hearts immediately sing. If you didn’t like the exploratory sonic nature of Single Album, this entire record is your antidote, and this song sets a fine precedent. ‘My Favourite Enemy’ finds one (or both, I dunno it’s a song not a video) of our favourite resident punk Heeb/ Bean Eric Melvin/ El Hefe launching out the blocks with one of their percussive, catchy, tight-as-a-nun’s-c*** riffs that rips hard under a song about Mike being his own worst enemy in the world of excess, meagre self-control, and chemically-induced fun. For any listeners who walk a similar path with the undulating roads of functional substance abuse that can so easily swing between a warm hug and a cold, rusty cage, there’s plenty to empathetically gain from Mike’s keen assessment of what life’s like when either are the case.
‘Don’t Count On Me’ might be the record’s best song. It’s about what the title of the song is, and it does a bunch of really fun shit. I won’t ruin this fine three-act tune like a fucking modern Hollywood trailer, just go listen to it. There’s still no Mexicans in space, let’s leave it at that. ‘Johanna Constant Teen’ feels like a nice, evenly-paced sequel to ‘Don’t Count On Me’, followed by ‘Punk Rock Cliché’. Second “single” from the album (Whatever the fuck that means in this modern streaming age), it was originally co-written by Mike with Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba when he still had a spot in Blink 182. It should’ve wound up as that band’s debut single from their California album before Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker found out Mike wrote it and decided to drop it off the album completely. Their loss! The song is pop-punk through and through. You’ll have a nice time.
Other stand out’s from the record include ‘Fuck Day Six’, a swift debriefing of Mike trying to get sober in a week at a fancy hipster drug retreat, and the shamelessly offensive ‘Is It Too Soon if Time is Relative?’, which pulls less than zero punches while jovially insulting revered physicist and presently dead person Stephen Hawking. If it makes you upset to hear a punk band make fun of a universally beloved scientific genius in a wheelchair who’s not alive to defend himself, you’re very much listening to the wrong band, friend.
There’s three other songs on the album and they’re also very good. It’s not impossible to unpack and hypothesize on the lyrical and musical aspects of every part of this album, but that kind of seems counter-intuitive for a straight up, fuck-you, fuck-me, fuck-everyone punk release from four guys in their mid-50’s who wrote two songs about only giving 60-or-so-percent when they make an album or play live over 15 years ago.
This is a balls-to-the-wall, funny, insightful, and exciting punk record from the best to ever do it. If you like NOFX please continue to do and listen to this on repeat before they tour your hometown for the last time ever in the coming 18 months or so. Thanks for the laughs and the shared anger at how fucked society is, fellas. The world’s population of intelligent smartasses releasing art seems rather diminished in these modern times, so if you’re reading this maybe start making incendiary creative shit to keep society on its toes now that the loss of such a valuable group is imminent. Or just fuck off, whatever.
NOFX – Double Album tracklisting:
1. Darby Crashing Your Party
2. My Favourite Enemy
3. Don’t Count On Me
4. Johanna Constant Teen
5. Punk Rock Cliche
6. Fuck Day Six
7. Is It Too Soon If Time Is Relative
9. Three Against Me
10. Gone With The Heroined