The Greatest Songs Ever Written (By Us) -
NOFX

by Mike D'Ariano

4/2005

As the title suggests, The Greatest Songs Ever Written (By Us), is NOFX's new greatest hits album. Before I even mention what's on the album, I have to get something off my chest. Aside from being great song writers, great musicians, and one of the funniest bands of all time, one of the most appealing things about NOFX is the way they've always prided themselves on being musicians for music's sake, and not for money or for fame. They refused to be on MTV, they apologized for making a live album ("It's kind of cheesy to do a live album, something Aerosmith would do") and explained that they only did it because people were buying really low quality bootlegs of their stuff, and they never signed to a major label. They've been around for over twenty years, and they've always put the fans first. That said . . . a NOFX Greatest Hits album . . . awwww man.

Generally I don't like greatest hits albums but I can see the point. Someone new to a band like NOFX will see that they have a dozen albums and a bunch of EPs and not know what to do . . . enter greatest hits album . . . fine. The problem is that the new album contains 26 songs from eleven of the band's albums and EPs – and one new song.

This is the same band that less than five years ago recorded a song called "Dinosaurs Will Die" (which opens the greatest hits album) in which they lambasted the "parasitic music industry" and promised to only "make records that have more than one good song" and now they put out an album of entirely previously released material, except for ONE SONG! Essentially what they're saying to their fans who have spent the $250 or so over the years to buy all of their albums is, "you can pay $15 for one more song, or you can go to hell." Even Green Day (who even though I still love their music are easily the biggest sell-outs in punk history) put not one but three songs on their greatest hits disc that weren't on any of their other records. Ugly.

Anyway, on to the actual content. I decided that before I even looked at what was on the disc, I'd make my own NOFX greatest hits CD and compare it to the official version. If you eliminate the covers and live stuff the band has done over the years, you have about 200 songs to work with. I only eliminated covers since the official album doesn't include them. Versions of The Misfits' Last Caress, Rancid's Corazon De Oro and Frank Sinatra's All of Me would easily have made my compilation if the songs didn't have to be written by NOFX. I also eliminated The Decline, the band's 18 minute song which was released by itself as an EP. The song is great, but it's not realistic to expect it to show up on a greatest hits disc since it would take up so much space, and would render the EP obsolete.

With what was left, I put together a 35 song collection (including the one new song) which left just 35 seconds of empty space on the CD. I was eager to see how my selections stacked up to the official ones. I was dismayed to find that the official disc had only 27 songs and left 18 minutes of empty space at the end. I guess they could have included The Decline after all. Simultaneously in the interest of fairness and in disgust, I trimmed eight songs off my play list in order to have an equal number of songs for my comparison.

Barring the new song, only 12 of my 26 selections made the cut. Part of the reason for this was the band's inclusion of at least one song from all of their full-length albums, with the exception of Maximumrocknroll, a collection of their oldest material which was released against their wishes (they called it "a shitty album that you shouldn't buy"). I didn't include any songs from the band's first four albums (two of which were represented on my original 35 song list) which coincidently make up the entire period of the bands' history before they settled on their current and longest lasting lineup.

Interestingly enough, even though the specific songs weren't the same, my collection and the official collection favored the same albums. We both pulled more from Punk in Drublic (I pulled 7 from here, they only pulled 4) and So Long and Thanks for All The Shoes than from any other album, and we both had three songs per album from, White Trash Two Heebs and a Bean, Pump Up The Valuum and The War on Errorism. Oh, and just in case it isn't clear, the disparity isn't because the band/label felt certain songs HAD to be included because they were the band's biggest hits and I chose not to do that. This is a greatest hits album only in theory . . . in reality, the band has never had a hit – ever – so any song they've done was fair game.

NOFX are one of my favorite bands of all time. They're easily in my Top Ten overall and my Top Three as far as punk bands go. But to be honest, I wouldn't recommend this disc to anyone other than somebody who needs the quickest way to explain to their kid, the difference between Avril Levigne and real punk rock. The concept irritates me, the one new song which isn't anything special, enrages me, and overall the song selection isn't as vast or as good as it could be. If you're only going to buy one NOFX album, make it Punk In Drublic or So Long and Thanks for All The Shoes, a pair of records that actually do have more than one good (new) song!



The Greatest Songs Ever Written (By Us)
Track Listing
 
Mike's Picks

1. Dinosaurs Will Die
2. Linoleum
3. Bob
4. The Separation of Church and Skate
5. Murder the Government
6. Bleeding Heart Disease
7. Bottles To The Ground
8. 180 Degrees
9. Party Enema
10. What's The Matter with Kids Today
11. Reeko
12. Stickin In My Eye
13. All Outta Angst
14. Leave It Alone
15. Green Corn
16. The Longest Line
17. Thank God It's Monday
18. The Idiots Are Taking Over
19. Don't Call Me White
20. Day To Daze
21. Soul Doubt
22. Philthy Phil Philanthropist
23. Shut Up Already
24. It's My Job To Keep Punk Rock Elite
25. Franco Un-American
26. Kill All The White Man
27. Wore Out Soles Of My Party Boots (New)

 
Common tracks:
1. Wore Out The Soles of My Party Boots
(On my list only to keep things equal)
2. Dinosaurs Will Die
3. Linoleum
4. Bob
5. Murder The Government
6. Bleeding Heart Disease
7. 180 Degrees
8. All Outta Angst
9. Leave It Alone
10. The Longest Line
11. Thank God It's Monday
12. Philthy Phil Philanthropist
13. Kill All The White Man

Different tracks:
14. Remnants
15. Lisa and Louise
16. Please Play This Song On The Radio
17. The Cause
18. Perfect Government
19. The Brews
20. Jeff Wears Birkenstocks
21. Happy Guy
22. Monosyllabic Girl
23. Theme From a NOFX Album
24. Lower
25. Medio-core
26. Anarchy Camp
27. 13 Stitches

Additional tracks that would have fit:
28. You Drink You Drive You Spill
29. New Boobs
30. Cheese, Where's My Slice
31. Drugs Are Good
32. Fuck The Kids
33. Please Stop Fucking My Mom
34. Whoops I Od'd
35. Jaw, Knee, Music




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