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
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
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’).
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
‘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.
did punk rock became a joke ?, When did the scene became a joke ?’ asks Fat
-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…’
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.
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’).
-Blacklisted "balls to the wall" Igor
/july 1st 2003/