NOFX – The War on Errorism

The War on Errorism

NOFX is not very happy with the punk scene it is a part of. “I want conflict, I want dissent, I want the scene to represent / Our hatred of authority, our fight against complacency / Stop singing songs about girls and love, you killed the owl you freed the dove / Confrontation and politics replaced with harmonies and shticks / When did punk rock become so tame, these fucking bands all sound the same.” A number of songs like “The Separation of Church and Skate,” “Mattersville,” “Medio-Core,” and “Anarchy Camp” all challenge certain bands and individuals, as well as the punk scene in general, to get their shit together.
Nor is the band especially happy with the current state of society overall, whether it is the general population or those who rule over it. “The Irrationality of Rationality” raises questions about the unequal distribution of wealth, while “Franco Un-American” is a story about the trauma associated with apathy. In addition to the artwork, which paints a rather unflattering picture of our current president, songs like “Idiots are Taking Over” and “Regaining Unconsciousness” squarely point the finger at those in charge, and “American Errorist” seems to challenge everyone else to ask questions and not trust everything they see or hear.
Then there are the less serious songs, tossed in every now and then just to give your mind a little break, and these sort of jokes have come to be expected from NOFX. For example, there is “She’s Nubs,” a song about a girl without arms or legs who hangs out at clubs and goes to punk shows anyway. Even some of the songs containing rather thought-provoking subject matter are set to perky song structures that make the information a bit easier to digest. Examples include “Franco Un-American,” one of the poppiest songs these guys have ever written, and “Anarchy Camp,” which has a strong ska vibe to it. Meanwhile, “13 Stitches” is rather quiet and muffled in comparison to the other tracks, utilizing a few interesting studio effects, while the closing “Whoops, I OD’d” consists of simply vocals and guitar.
Aside from those, the majority of the songs offered on The War on Errorism are of the blazing pop-punk variety that people have come to expect from NOFX. The hooks are plentiful, as are the chugging riffs. The rhythms are merciless and pummeling, while the harmonies are nearly perfect. Many of the tracks are more fast-paced and less poppy than those that made up the band’s last studio effort, Pump Up the Valium, but not quite like the older and more pummeling efforts. On this one, NOFX has found a nice middle ground, combining some of the best of what they have always done and switching things up every minute of the way. There is politics, but also humor. There is furious punk, but also infectious pop and ska. Over the years, there have been countless imitators, but with albums like this, NOFX doesn’t seem ready to pass the torch just yet.