NOFX are one of those rare bands with whom more of the same is never a bad thing. Although this release eschews some of the more pop orientated elements of 2009's 'Coaster', pretty much everything you've come to expect from them is present here: Mell Yells, El Hefe's copious use of the wah pedal, acerbic lyricism and that stupidly quick bass drum pattern that Erik "Smelly" Sandin always uses.
Opening track '72 Hookers' encapsulates their trademark facetiousness by positing that suicide bombers are mainly motivated by the promise of getting laid in the afterlife. Fat Mike suggests that the U.S military should 'reinstate the draft' and 'enlist a million whores', because 'when everyone is getting blowjobs, that's when we'll finally have world peace'. Oh, and this album was released on September 11th, the same day that thousands of Muslims across the Middle East were destroying foreign embassies over an overdubbed, nonsensical Youtube clip.
In spite of the relatively short run time - which clocks in at just under 30 minutes - there's a lot of thematic ground covered, including but not limited to: BDSM, clandestine power structures, sycophantic fans, the death of Christmas and the political alliance between Reagan and Thatcher.
If we were to compare 'Self-Entitled' to any other NOFX album, it would probably come closest to 2006's 'Wolves in Wolves' Clothing'. ‘Secret Society’ even has melodies that seem to be lifted straight from ‘Leaving Jesusland’ and ‘Getting High on the Down Low’. But then again, they’ve re-used parts of old songs before. Just compare the choruses of ‘Franco Un-American’ and ‘Quart in Session’ to see what I mean.
In terms of both lyrics and instrumentation, ‘Self-Entitled’ is darker and more subdued than their output over the last few years and pushes their seriocomic approach more towards the serious side with songs such as ‘She Didn’t Lose Her Baby’ and ‘I, Fatty’. My personal highlights are ’Ronnie & Mags’, the hardcore influenced ‘I Believe in Goddess’ and ’I’ve Got One Jealous Again, Again’, which is replete with an encyclopaedic level of punk rock references.
‘Self-Entitled’ isn’t their best album, but it's another solid release which gets better with each listen. There isn’t a track I dislike, but there are some that feel familiar to the point of being derivative. NOFX fans will invariably love it, but it probably won’t convert any of their detractors. 7/10
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.