NOFX's Punk in Drublic is the American punk band's fifth full-length effort in addition to their mainstream breakthrough. Released in 1994, it is considered to be one of the band's best albums. But why does Punk in Drublic still hold a candle to other punk albums today?
For what was, at the time (and arguably still is), a lowkey punk-rock group, Punk in Drublic starts off with its head held high and its eyes set on total destruction. The opening track, Linoleum, sets the pace for what becomes a nearly nonstop power-chord shredfest, leading into other tracks such as Don’t Call Me White, Jeff Wears Birkenstocks?, and Reeko.
Upon first listen, Drublic has all the makings of your classic punk album. Power chords, raw vocals, lyrics of doom, gloom, politics, lovemaking, and everything in between, lurching bass, machine-gun drum fills…it’s all there. I’ll admit to having never listened to NOFX before last week, but all of its hooks have gotten me, well, hooked.
And yet for an album that released in the year of a Punk Renaissance (Green Day’s Dookie, The Offspring’s Smash, and Rancid’s Let’s Go all released in 1994, alongside Punk in Drublic), it feels so ahead of its time in comparison to its millennial counterparts. Riffs found in tracks like Linoleum, Leave Me Alone, and Perfect Government feel reminiscent of the works of later pop-punk bands such as Blink-182 and Sum 41, who would both go on to inspire bands of similar caliber.
And in this case, the early bird gets the worm; the tracks found on Punk in Drublic feel uniquely inspired, its lyrics indicative of other punk songs of the day while setting itself apart from other punk albums released during that era.
Even without the help of a major record label (a NOFX trait that still carries to this day), Punk in Drublic stands among the many 90’s punk greats, and for good reason. Drublic managed to launch NOFX into the mainstream without any radio airplay, major label recognition, or aired music videos.
The album would go on to earn a Gold certification from the MPAA for domestic sales of over 500,000 copies, whereas worldwide Drublic has sold upwards of a million copies. Though that number pales in comparison to diamond records such as Green Day’s Dookie, this was a feat the band managed to achieve all their own. That is, with all the punch seen from major label bands.
On the band’s success, NOFX frontman Fat Mike has come out in what could be called an air of confusion. “The biggest songs on the album don’t have choruses,” he said in 2014. “You generally don’t see bands who write songs without a chorus…I had no idea we were going sell that big. Gold? That was probably the furthest thing from our mind.”
Throughout all of this, the album seems to know exactly what it’s getting itself into. Riffs and melodies crafted and perfected for this album would still sound great played in a concert today just as any other band’s. This is to say that the songs on this album are timeless.
After almost 35 years of rocking hard and flying to shows on S&M Airlines, NOFX is returning with their latest album, First Ditch Effort, on October 7th of this year. The album drops alongside Green Day’s Revolution Radio and Sum 41’s 13 Voices.
All four of the band’s members – Fat Mike, Eric Melvin, El Hefe, and Eric Sandin – are returning for the band’s thirteenth album, maintaining a lineup that’s held firm since 1991.
Next week’s review: Sum 41’s “All Killer, No Filler”