NOFX – The Decline
Fat Wreck Chords, 1999
Acquired: Fatwreck.com, New, 2003
If only NOFX knew they were being prescient. This was my soundtrack for the Bush Years. On top of that, it's the best thing NOFX has ever done. Yes, better than Punk in Drublic. It's the ultimate political punk song, if only for it's epic length and it's covering pretty much every issue you care about. Guns, religion, war, the prison system, drugs, television, greed, complacency, etc. It's summed up at the end by Fat Mike: “We know the truth but prefer lies.” And thus it's not the government but ourselves that are leading us into the Decline. Instead of revolt, we rely on the Soma-esque “pill” to kill the pain. Thinking about it, I'm pretty sure this is the reason I am politically minded. Yes, I politically minded because of NOFX. No shame there, though, because this is an excellent piece of work. I got it when I was about 15. It was right after the towers fell and I was confused as hell. How was I to do anything BUT think America was great! We'd just been attacked! Then eventually I got really politically, slowly but surely over the next six months. This was at the center of it, along with a LOT of Jello Biafra and Henry Rollins spoken word and a LOT of Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, and Anti-Flag. And not only is it lyrically spot on, but it's the best music NOFX have ever been responsible. Everyone seems to be on. The music tends to change from section to section and it keeps this whole song interesting for 18 minutes. El Hefe drops some trumpets in, the bass lines are “sick,” and the power chords are pretty damn powerful. And after all of this, you get the wonderful palate cleanser on the B-side, “Clams Have Feelings Too.” It's a really smart move, because it's NOFX telling you that they're still dumb-fucks, separating themselves from the Anti-Flag-esque political bands who always tended to take things too seriously.
This is kind of goofy, but I like that someone actually went to the effort to make this: