The War on Errorism

/fat wreck; 2003/




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Up to now, you had to like melodic hardcore and play with words in order to like NOFX but on The War on Errorism, Fat Mike becomes political. Vehement political lyrics and slander have become prominent in this album as the title underlines it but blatant social commentary would have been out of critics’ reach without all these puns. For example, naming an album Pump up the Valuum was funny but when you have the will to expose the ‘fast-food nation’ and the ‘globalization’ (‘Franco Un-American’) and that you juxtapose these words with puns (see the song titles for example), it somehow doesn’t fit.

Musically, Errorism is quite different from Punk In Drublic or White Trash Two Heebs And A Bean, it is much more pop-oriented, which makes some songs closer to their fellow hc melodic Lagwagon. Nofx uses new sounds such as keyboards in songs reminding one of So long and thanks … (‘Franco un-american’). There are some good hc melodic songs though (‘Separation from church and skate’ which seems inspired by AC/DC at some point, ‘De-composuer’, ‘American Errorist’, ‘I knew you were the one’, ’13 stitches’ a song about a Descendents concert) but they unfortunately still play some ska and reggae. If some songs remain straight to the point in spite of such parts (‘Idiots are taking over’), others sound almost bad (‘Medio-core’) when they are not absolutely boring ska numbers (‘Anarchy Champ’).

Politically, Fat Mike probably shares the same opinions with Michael Moore but if he wants to be as sharp as Michael Moore’s films, he should stop dealing with politics using puns because he seems to look like Michael Moore with the brains of Roger Moore. What was bathroom humour in other NOFX albums seems here tenth rate diatribe. However skaters are not particularly famous for their brightness but can this actually make his fans realize something about politics and human values? 
‘Idiots are taking over’, ‘Irrationality of rationality’, ‘Regaining Unconsciousness’, ‘US errorist (I hate hate haters)’ and ‘Franco un-American’ tackle the same issues as M. Moore’s films and books. If they do not have exactly the same efficiency exposing Bush and his politics, they probably do not reach the same audience. In addition, NOFX is nearly mainstream now, or was ? (because these songs will never make it to the airwaves, that’s a fact…) Let’s recognize that it must take balls to do such things knowing that everyone’s on a slippery slope these times: death threats have been sent to T. York and Hail to the Thief copies have been burnt down with propane in Texas…What’s next ? Even highly protected persons should run for cover… What happened to JFK might happen again…There are guns all over America…Mortuary seems to be a flourishing industry…
Anyway, Bad Religion didn’t wait 2003 for social commentary but let’s nevertheless state that Nofx is one of the only hc melodic band to do so. ‘Separation of Church and Skate’ deals with this ‘punk’ spirit which supposedly inhabits these groups and which has totally vanished.

-‘When did punk rock became a joke ?, When did the scene became a joke ?’ asks Fat Mike. 
-Well, it might have started when all these bands like NOFX appeared in the early 90’s, uh?
-‘Never thought about this problem at all’ says he in ‘Franco Un-american’. Here is the answer… ‘Where’s the violent apathy ?’ asks Fat Mike too… 
-‘Well, try the fish, sir…’

Anyway, Fat Mike urges the kids to act and we should recognize that at least Errorism steers clear of punk clichés regarding lyrics such as skateboarding, sea food, how your friend’s mam digs listening to the Bee Gees while eating pineapple or the impressive meat hook sodomy they thought they heard in the last horror film they saw and so forth, unintentionally making fun of themselves.

Considering the music, this album is quite weak and despite a handful of good songs it never reaches the quality of their best albums to date. Politically, despite crass puns which are considered as weapons by those who like the album, let’s just hope that it might help pimpled teenagers realize what kind of hysterical violence has taking possession of America through its pure White House. This is apparently Fat Mike’s goal: democratising social commentary (‘Make a song, make it simple for the kids to sing along’ he says in ‘Medio-core’). 

PS: If you are looking for hearing ‘The Idiot son of an asshole’, it’s only included as a concert footage that you can play on your computer. They also included an excerpt from the documentary Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election.

-Blacklisted "balls to the wall" Igor

/july 1st 2003/