Music review: NOFX's 'Self Entitled' full of skull-shaking music
California punk band NOFX’s 12th studio album, “Self Entitled,” kicks its way into record stores today courtesy of Fat Wreck Cords.
I found “Self Entitled” a great opportunity to break in a new pair of headphones, so every crisp-guitar lick and deep-rolling drumbeat had ample chance to take full effect. And what a skull-shaking effect it is? If this album shows one thing, it’s that even though NOFX is more than 25 years old, they’re still evolving and developing their sound — for if there is one thing the album lacks, it’s stagnation.
The first three songs on “Self Entitled” are styled much like the band’s previous three records. These songs combine familiar elements of punk rock, such as political commentary and break-neck tempos, with features not commonly associated with the genre, like highly proficient instrumentation and surprisingly literate lyrics.
The band begins to set a different pace beginning with the fourth track, “They Didn’t Take Her Baby.” Vocalist “Fat” Mike Burkett begins singing in a harder, more disciplined style reminiscent of Greg Graffin of Bad Religion.
The overall sound becomes tighter as a result. The ripping solos by guitarist Aaron “El Hefe” Abeyta, which usually distinguish the band’s sound, become less frequent. Choruses become more cadenced, reminding one of other California alternative bands such as Pennywise and the aforementioned Bad Religion.
“Self Entitled” sees NOFX progress to a much more controlled sound. The ska and metal persuasions of previous efforts are curtailed in favor of a more Hardcore Punk influence.
Burkett’s lyrics are still incredibly articulate and at times even anecdotal; his enunciated singing style giving meaning to every syllable and imbuing the songs with real pathos, something that is lacking within the genre. The songs “She Didn’t Lose Her Baby,” and “I’ve Got One Jealous Again, Again” are able to stand out on “Self Entitled” because of their emotional resonance.
Many songs on the album, including the lead single “Ronnie & Mags” are politically inclined.
“Self Entitled” features NOFX branching into a tighter, more controlled style, reflected in the just-under 30 minute running time. However, it’s the searing guitar riffs and revealing lyrics that NOFX has always been known for that make that half hour worth every second of your time.
Tony Beaulieu is a film and media studies junior.