The ‘Linoleum Conundrum’ is one that can strike any band. For reasons entirely unknown, a song will take on a life of its own, transcending into almost a mythical position amongst fans and casuals alike. For a band, this can be both a blessing and a curse. Without question, it’ll pay the bills for years to come and yet on an artistic level it is unlikely to be ‘the’ song you wish to be remembered by. Culture simply lays its hands on your work and has its wicked way.
For NOFX, that song was ‘Linoleum‘, the riotous opener to their excellent 1994 album Punk in Drublic. Never released as a single and lacking even a basic chorus, the song nonetheless managed to imprint itself upon collective conscience of society. As Fat Mike discovered, YouTube is full of covers covering all qualities and styles. It was this deep-dive that inspired both the concept and the video behind new single ‘Linewleum’ that precedes their upcoming fourteenth studio album, simply entitled Single Album.
‘Linewleum’ takes the essence of ‘Linoleum’ and tears it apart. At points, the original song seems to poke its head through – a riff here, a drum fill there – serving as a reminder of the source material. It’s a homage to the past and perhaps it’s understandable that NOFX are starting to look backwards, being where they are in their long careers. However, it goes without saying that Fat Mike’s visceral tongue is often lodged firmly in his raucous cheek. He sings: ‘Intellectual property never meant anything to me/So I’m not crazy/For trying to pimp out a classic song…’ It’s clear as day what he’s doing – using the springboard of his own ‘classic’ to generate a buzz for a new record and yet, how could you hold it against him? NOFX are a band who have never compromised nor taken much interest in their haters. This is a band with a classic back catalogue, filled with experimentation as well as straight-down-the-line punk rock songs. Any band that commits ‘The Decline’ to tape deserve the chance to rest momentarily on what has already succeeded.
If ‘Linewleum’ is a taste of what is to come on Single Album, we should certainly be excited. It’s fast and fun, laced with Fat Mike’s wit and caustic verse and generally one you can see eventually blaring out of the speakers at your local skate shop.