Skate Punk became a big thing in the 1990s when a crossover sound that was more Poppy and accessible was created for listeners who dug Punk, just not the original 1970s onslaught of Punk. It was particularly big in the USA, and NOFX were one of the major bands of the Skate Punk movement. This is their fifth album, and in retrospect, one of their most popular releases to date. Let’s take a listen to this album and hear if it does any justice looking back at it.
Linoleum begins with some humming in the background, before Punk style guitars and thrashy drums enter. This is actually very good Punk music, and it is a furious and energetic piece of music that sounds really excellent. A great and accessible musical piece, this sounds very much like the second generation of Punk that has begun at this point. A good starting point for NOFX, it sounds fun and cool. It’s also very short at just over two minutes long. Excellent work.
Leave It Alone begins with surging powerful guitars and a slower, more Poppy feel to this number. The lyrics are about teenage issues, which is interesting. A short, sharp shock of musicality, this is a good sounding tune, although fairly limited musically. Straightforward and good music, this sounds really good for early 1990s Skate Punk. Nice job. It segues into the next track.
Dig begins with some rather discordant guitar work, followed by multilayered guitars and powerful drumming. Once again, this is fairly short, but nonetheless a good and interesting listen. This is the sort of music that would likely appeal to College and University students. There is a mock Reggae breakdown in the middle of the track, before launching back into the fury. Great 1990s music is present on this album so far. There are more rhythm guitar parts than lead guitar parts present, and it ends with some surprising synchronisation. Neat.
The Cause is one and a half minutes long. This is a really great tune that shows the consistency and musicality of the band. It’s a political song, but nothing hugely too political, unlike later efforts from contemporaries such as Green Day. A great song to listen to nonetheless.
Don’t Call Me White is one of the signature tunes from this album. It is perhaps a song aimed at stereotypes and those who are judgemental about cultural backgrounds, including NOFX’s critics. Musically, this sounds really wonderful, and it sounds as though the band present are musically focused and play excellently. This is a good song with some unique harmonies as NOFX sharpen the knives, which are definitely out on this song against those who are uber-critical. A good solid point lyrically and musically, this is a cool listen. Nice job.
My Heart Is Yearning begins with some clean, muted guitar parts, followed by a strange 1980s Reggae sound which sounds definitely odd. This is bizarre for a group such as NOFX to do. It also has some brass instrumentation in it as well. The singing here is mock Opera, and it is brilliantly done. A quirky and different piece of sarcastic commentary, this is a must-listen. Hilarious.
Perfect Government is next, and there is no such thing as a perfect government in the 21st century. After a short and simple intro, it launches into a stop/start piece that is a direct and scathing attack on democracy and politicians who are elected for no real reason but to exploit others. Of course, this is an openly Socialist or Communist argument, which may not be to everyone’s taste. Still, it is a good tune to hear, regardless of any political ideology here.
The Brews begins with some super fuzzy guitar before vocals enter about drinking heavily and partying on a Friday night and getting up to mischief. To be fair, this is a very male sexist sort of song that sounds really biased, but even so, it is enjoyable. Even in the 1990s, Punk showed itself to be a furious assault of energy. There is a silly party breakdown at the end, which is bananas. Nice work.
The Quass begins with loud feedback styled guitars, which adds an air of eeriness about this song, before launching into an unusual instrumental in the first half. Interesting to hear, there are some random singing parts in the second half before this segues into the next track.
Dying Degree begins with some excellently palm-muted guitar parts and singing that sounds really youthful and pure. A fast, loud and pounding piece of great music, this is definitely a great Punk album. It sounds really top and energetic and is the typical angry young man sort of music. Great listening.
Fleas begins with some melodic bass guitar parts, followed by some interesting guitar chords and this piece sounds somewhat like U2. It shortly bursts into another solidly short and good song to listen to. A really nice and awesome piece of music about being told what to do, but not to do the same as someone else. Good effort.
Lori Meyers begins with super Hardcore Thrash mode Punk. This is likely a real-life story and has some interesting lyrics about it. Musically, this is a direct punch-in-the-face sort of piece, with some mock vocals throughout. Excellent stuff, it sounds really cool. A fast and different tune, this has a fairly lengthy fade out, which is unusual for this sort of music.
Jeff Wears Birkenstocks is a strange piece, with an excellent montage of drums and guitars. It is the musical equivalent of an electric shock, it is that powerful listening. A weird tune, but enjoyable nonetheless, with some good harmonies towards the end. Great musicianship here.
Punk Guy launches straight into a stereotypical sort of song by NOFX. A short piece at around a minute, it does sound really supercharged, a bit like a Red Bull energy drink. Great listen.
Happy Guy follows, and it has some wicked chords to start off with. This is a straightforward and decent piece of music that fits towards the end of the album. An interesting tale of sorts, catchy and well delivered. A two-minute piece of mayhem, this sounds really wonderful. Great stuff.
Reeko begins with a nice drumroll, before launching into a mock Reggae tune about said character who has to deal with the aftermath of a house party. It’s hilarious, in other words. A nice and tuneful piece of music, with a beautiful neck pickup guitar solo on (likely) a Fender Stratocaster. A really cool piece that quickly launches into an onslaught of Punk noise in the second half. Really interesting listening, and a good piece of music. Great to hear towards the end of the album.
Scavenger Type is the last song on this album, and the longest by far, at over seven minutes long. It begins with an acoustic guitar played in a Reggae sort of way, a common theme of this album. It is a great tale of a busker, and it is musically infectious. A totally cool listen, this is a slow piece with only acoustic guitar and vocals present. Very catchy and awesome listening, this sounds really fine and great music is on this song. It ends after around two and a half minutes and is followed by some silence for a few minutes. This is followed by some studio nonsense chatter with voice impersonations, which is different and well appreciated. Quite funny to hear. Very entertaining.
This album is a very different take on music altogether. It shows what a band can do with songs that are hard, fast and (often) less than three minutes long. NOFX are now seen as Skate Punk legends, and it is clearly easy to see why so. A very daring, adventurous and angry young male sort of listening experience that cemented these guys in the history books of music. Highly recommended.
Brutally short and fast, yet punchy.
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