Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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NOFX/Rancid [extended]

  • Ribbed [Epitaph, 1991] **
  • White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean [Epitaph, 1992] ***
  • Rancid [Epitaph, 1993] **
  • Punk in Drublic [Epitaph, 1994] A-
  • Let's Go [Epitaph, 1994] ***
  • . . . And Out Come the Wolves [Epitaph, 1995] A-
  • Heavy Petting Zoo [Epitaph, 1996] Neither
  • So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes [Epitaph, 1997] ***
  • Life Won't Wait [Epitaph, 1998] A-
  • Rancid [Epitaph, 2000] ***
  • BYO Split Series/Volume III [BYO, 2002] ***
  • The War on Errorism [Fat Wreck Chords, 2003] A-
  • Indestructible [Hellcat, 2003] A-
  • Wolves in Wolves' Clothing [Fat Wreck Chords, 2006] **
  • Never Trust a Hippy [Fat Wreck Chords, 2006] Choice Cuts
  • Let the Dominoes Fall [Hellcat, 2009] **
  • Coaster [Fat Wreck Chords, 2009] ***
  • Cokie the Clown [Fat Wreck Chords, 2009] Choice Cuts

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

NOFX: Ribbed [Epitaph, 1991]
as in condoms--also kidded ("Just the Flu," "Where's My Slice?") **

NOFX: White Trash, Two Heebs and a Bean [Epitaph, 1992]
growing in wit, growing in wisdom ("Liza and Louise," "Please Play This Song on the Radio") ***

Rancid: Rancid [Epitaph, 1993]
punk rant at its streetest ("Rejected," "Adina") **

NOFX: Punk in Drublic [Epitaph, 1994]
In which these pranksters proceed to prove absolutely that a sense of humor provides useful training in broader human feelings. Among those they don't put down are a porn actress, a happy born-againer, a guy in Birkenstocks and a tie-dyed Rancid T-shirt, Hasidic O.G.'s, and--implicitly--people who like tunes with their rant and rave. They're a six-figure advance away from that exalted state where assholes everywhere can call them shallow and suburban. A-

Rancid: Let's Go [Epitaph, 1994]
scattershot rads in the U.S.A. ("Harry Bridges," "Burn") ***

Rancid: . . . And Out Come the Wolves [Epitaph, 1995]
Third time out they're as far ahead of the Offspring as they are behind the Clash. Musically, their oi-ska 'core has got it going on--the 19 anthems start catchy, rev up the guitar in the middle, tail off to catch their breath, and climax with two war chants and a piece of personal invective that I hope isn't about Green Day because that would be petty. But their words only go halfway, which matters when you honor the literal and print your lyrics--their stories vague out, their slogans implode, and their politics have no future. Even in punk terms, they're not great singers either. Not only won't they change the world, they won't change rock and roll. Which is no reason not to wish them well. A-

NOFX: Heavy Petting Zoo [Epitaph, 1996] Neither

NOFX: So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes [Epitaph, 1997]
"All Outta Angst," so "The Desperation's Gone" ("Monosyllabic Girl," "All His Suits Are Torn"). ***

Rancid: Life Won't Wait [Epitaph, 1998]
With punk revivalism deemed almost as uncouth as frat-boy ska in these postalt times, the three-year hiatus since . . . And Out Come the Wolves may have flattened the rep of one of the few bands to get either style right. That's how pop works--you work your claim, times change, you lose. But art is more forgiving, and aesthetically, this beaty disc is an improvement--snakier in the bass and loopier in the vocals, careening forward in a lovely confusion that never approaches thrash or march (well, maybe march). Whatever their ideas about black lung, glass-pipe murder, baseball bats in Poland, liberty failed liberty, and love redeeming love, they make you glad they have feelings about them--and convinced that for once you know the difference between feeling and pose. A-

Rancid: Rancid [Epitaph, 2000]
What if a Clash record fell in the middle of a stock exchange and nobody could hear it? ("Radio Havana," "It's Quite Alright"). ***

BYO Split Series/Volume III [BYO, 2002]
great masters trade fours (Rancid, "Don't Call Me White"; NOFX, "Olympia WA") ***

NOFX: The War on Errorism [Fat Wreck Chords, 2003]
Unlike most punk lifers, they've always yukked it up, accepted outsiders, and thought about their feelings. So I was pleased rather than surprised to learn that they'd made their politics explicit. Their attacks on religion and hater hating are right on, and why shouldn't the guy who reads Zinn and Chomsky and then votes Nader be confused? Concomitantly, I was disappointed rather than surprised to find that the songs about their personal world are deeper than those about our political one. So I'm glad quadriplegic Nubs gets her impolitic two minutes. And my hopes for all humanity leap when a boy and girl fall in love over the vinyl they both own. A-

Rancid: Indestructible [Hellcat, 2003]
The Clash invented punk politics, and got pretty complex about them. Rancid ran with punk politics, which in Berkeley were burned into the subculture as deep as the three-chord forcebeat. Their big ideas and deep convictions are about their scene, not their society, and they devote their warmest album ever to celebrating and justifying that scene, which they rightly see as global. Sure it would be nice if they put their all into offing Bush, but it would also be nice if the Democrats did. Instead, Rancid offer an inside look at a ready-made dissident voting bloc, toggling back and forth from defeated to defiant as they pursue their little happinesses. Wesley Clark is so smart I'm sure he can get this constituency to the polls. A-

NOFX: Wolves in Wolves' Clothing [Fat Wreck Chords, 2006]
They play loaded, they own their masters, they write off their vacations and still they're not satisfied ("100 Times Fuckeder," "Doornails"). **

NOFX: Never Trust a Hippy [Fat Wreck Chords, 2006]
"You're Wrong" Choice Cuts

Rancid: Let the Dominoes Fall [Hellcat, 2009]
Solidarity forever ("East Bay Night," "Civilian Ways"). **

NOFX: Coaster [Fat Wreck Chords, 2009]
"I define success as not working/And I live like a king" ("Creeping Out Sara," "My Orphan Year"). ***

NOFX: Cokie the Clown [Fat Wreck Chords, 2009]
"Straight Outta Massachusetts" Choice Cuts