NOFX: The Greatest Songs Ever Written (by Us): CD

I don’t think there’s another active punk band that people “in the know” consistently love to hate more than NOFX. They’re seen as little more than a punk gateway band for white suburban youth with backward baseball caps. While far from being as bad as Sum 41 or Good Charlotte, they’re rarely mentioned in the same breath with “true” or DIY punk. First hearing them in 1989, I thought they were barely okay funny metal. If you’d heard RKL’s Keep Laughing and the Meatmen’s, We’re the Meatman and You Suck!, and put them together in your mind, that was much better than NOFX. But, for me, it turned around with White Trash, Two Heebs, and a Bean and the induction of El Hefe into the band. Metal was shed in favor of more pop sensibilities. Punk in Drublic’s an incredibly catchy album, they modulate tempos, and they all became better musicians. Then something like an unexpected nuclear explosion happened. Somewhere around 1992/1993, ten fucking million bands wanted to sound exactly like NOFX. Bros worldwide—to no direct fault of NOFX—descended on the world in a plague of baggy pants and hoodies, with the incessant clinking of chain wallets, and treated us to about five constant years of lethal levels of awful, derivative, mind-numbing melodicore. I’ll admit that, although you can’t control how others are going to take inspiration from you, it was a bit much to take, and I quietly put my NOFX records back on the shelf, only listening to them on occasion. But they weathered the melodicore storm, weathered the ska storm, and are currently weathering the emo boo hoo-athon. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’ve made the long haul. And although I’ve never been one to live and die by them, I find myself plucking one of their CDs out of the stacks, popping it in the player, and enjoying it, time and time again. There’s something they’ve tapped into that I’m grateful for. They’re still snide and funny. They’re easy to listen to. They probably have had the most opportunities to really sell out and turn their backs on punk as a whole when they got more popular, but they keep playing, reinvesting in themselves and their friends, keep churning out new songs, and pissing the right people off. Here’s a collection of twenty-seven songs. One’s new. For some reason, even though I have all the songs on separate albums, I’ve been listening to this quite a bit.

 –todd (Epitaph)