Various - Survival of the Fattest (Cover Artwork)


Various: Survival of the FattestSurvival of the Fattest (1996)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: JayPorterJay Porter
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Possibly the best of the thus-six Fat Wreck compilations, Fat Music #2, released in 1996, hearkens back to Fat's earlier days. Many of the bands that are now household names sound a bit young and unpolished, but that makes the album all the more interesting. The CD opens with Hi-Standard, the Japa.

Possibly the best of the thus-six Fat Wreck compilations, Fat Music #2, released in 1996, hearkens back to Fat's earlier days. Many of the bands that are now household names sound a bit young and unpolished, but that makes the album all the more interesting.

The CD opens with Hi-Standard, the Japanese trio, covering "California Dreamin'." It's very, very, very good, and easily competes for best song on the album. The breakdown and guitar solo is killer. It's followed by "Justified Black Eye," a fairly typical fast No Use song. It's closer to their hardcore roots than much of their newer, poppier stuff.

"Nick Northern" by Snuff is one of the gems of the album. It's a torrent of organs, horns and harmonic guitars with a ridiculously infectious bridge. Propagandhi follows the act well with "Nation States," an awesome 2:20 political statement. "Publically subsidized, privately profitable, the anthem of the upper tier, puppeteer untouchable... you can tell by the smile on the CEO, environmental restraints are about to go." Did I mention that it's a really, really good punk song? The thought-provoking political commentary is balanced with plenty of "Can you fucking believe/what a stupid world" for happy punk sing-alongs.

"Sleep," by Lagwagon isn't the best they've ever done, but the creative cleverness is there, although is gets a bit lost amid the awkward tempo changes. Diesel Boy follows with "Titty Twister." It's straightforward party punk with funny lyrics: "Fuck you I hate you's all she said as she slapped my face and spit beer on me, and my pants are falling down." We've all been there. Good Riddance follows with "Mother Superior," a decent three-minute song that demonstrates the potential that they have built on in their excellent recent releases. Next, Tilt offers "Libel," a not-quite-punk entry on which Cinder sounds way more operatic than punk. They have done better.

The next song is Wizo, and all you can say about that song is "hahahaha..." I guess it wouldn't be so bad if they weren't singing in German. But Wizo doesn't have to be funny -- "Quadret Im Kreis" (their song from Fat Music#4), for example, is well-crafted and beautifully melodic, and is also in German. This, however, is funny. When I played it for my friend, he laughed, "Dude, they're singing funny talk." I love it, though. Strung Out follows with "Rotten Apple." They sound young, but they're obviously talented, and the drumming is sick.

The NOFX song, a cover of Don McLean's "Vincent," is the best cover NOFX has ever attempted. Unlike throwaway punk covers, which are just fast rehashings of old songs, NOFX shakes things up on this one, cutting out a superfluous verse (it's still the longest song on the album), and adding a ridiculously catchy guitar riff that's not in the original. They do the original justice and give birth to a solid slab of kick-ass pop-punk at the same time.

Hi-Standard is back again with "Wait for The Sun" (remember the days when Fat didn't have enough bands to put only one song of each on their compilations?). This well-crafted song drives along in 6/8 time, a punk rarity. Lagwagon returns with "Lamens Terms," which isn't as experimental as their earlier entry, but which kicks just a bit more ass -- typical fast Lagwagon with some nice chord changes. Bracket checks in next with "Talk Show." I've always felt like Bracket was Lagwagon's bastard stepchild...a little edgier, willing to take some risks of their own, not as polished, but rocking out in their own right. This song does just that.

After "Nick Northern," Snuff's second entry, "Walk," is a disappointment. If you're into fast punk with shouty vocals, it'll work for you, though. Finally, the recently-formed Gimmie Gimmies check in with "Country Roads." They've gotten so much better at covering songs since their early days, it's amazing. This is a little more straightforward and uncreative than we're used to now, but the harmonies are definitely solid.

By no means is this the most well-polished Fat comp. However, several of the songs combine to make this possibly the best showcase of their talent that Fat has ever put out there. I'll admit I have a soft spot in my heart for it, and maybe, overall, it's not as musically impressive as the newer ones. However, if you want a taste of mid-nineties Fat, or you just want to get rocked out, drop the five bones for this quality disc.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
soulbleed (January 14, 2003)

shut .. the .. fuck .. up. oh, and this review is pretty good except i totally disagree about 'walk' being a letdown. it's one of their better songs.

Anonymous (December 30, 2002)

Fuck you "new school" dumbshits who love to be ignorant. You just say "fuck you old school elitists" because you can't think of an educated response to our posts. But then again, you ARE a NoFx fan. Fuck Fat Mike, the one who revels in his own stupidity. The Decline sucks. Their political reasoning is that of a 4th grade hillbilly. Yeah. A fourth grade hillbilly. That's exactly right. Are you nuts?? Dude, in case you've never heard the song, Fat Mike actually attacks the very notion of having a representative democracy (exemplified in the lyric "start with the assumption that a million people are smarter than one"). He's attacking everything that this country's government is founded on. You call that fourth-grade ideology? Try college. I'm studying polotics in college right now and we almost never read anything that inflamatory. And how were the Ramones pop-punk? I don't really believe it, but I'll try to offer an explanation, since no one else is. What bands do we call pop-punk today? Answer: bands that sing about girls or other allegedly inconsequential topics -- bands that sing about "stupid stuff" -- bands like Blink-182, Sum41, and A New Found Glory. Well, from what I know of the Ramones, they sang plenty of songs about girls and other stupid stuff. Doesn't that make them pop-punk?

lunk (December 27, 2002)

so because i like and respect nofx i must never have liked earlier or different punk bands? i don't go in for this sub-genre, intra-punk war shit. i like a lot of types of punk, and i respect a lot of punk bands, so while i like nofx, propagandhi, lunachicks, MYC, and irrelevant, i like them alongside older bands including dead kennedys, black flag and the clash, and to show i'm not against pop-punk, even blondie.
all i merely wish to say is that the term 'old school elitist shit' refers not to people who like old school punk bands, but who like old school punk bands exclusively, and turn up on fat wreck review comments pages to spout hateful rhetoric.

Anonymous (December 26, 2002)

People who say "old-school punk elitists suck" only say that because they know nothing about punk before NoFx. Instead of quenching their dire thirst for wisdom, they just say "fuck it" in their heads and sit around convincing themsleves that NoFx created punk, and that everything before it and after is shit. Poor people.

Anonymous (December 26, 2002)

Fuck you "new school" dumbshits who love to be ignorant. You just say "fuck you old school elitists" because you can't think of an educated response to our posts. But then again, you ARE a NoFx fan. Fuck Fat Mike, the one who revels in his own stupidity. The Decline sucks. Their political reasoning is that of a 4th grade hillbilly. I might not have expected much if it wasn't just one fucking long song. Fat Mike won't be remembered when he's gone... He made no influence over the lives of anybody besides die hard "pop-crap-punk" fans. Over. Nobody has yet told me how the Ramones were "pop-punk". Because none of you know how, you just would like to classify a good band into your shitty sub-genre.

Anonymous (December 26, 2002)

Now that I read the board over, I don't think he called me a hypocrite. sorry man. but what i said still stands! fuck you old school elitist.

"it's my job to keep punk rock elite"
NOFX, So Long And Thanks For All the Shoes

Anonymous (December 26, 2002)

to the kid who called me a hypocrite. you know goddamn well that whenever NOFX breaks up, we're going to remember them as heroes in the punk scene. i'm so sick of kids saying NOFX sold out and Fat mike only cares about money and his reputation. They've been around since '80 and no one will forget what they've done for us. Look at all the current bands you call punk. Anti-Flag,the Unseen, Propaghandi... they all thank Fat Mike first and foremost in their record sleeves. he won't go away and NOFX rules. Fuck you posuers, go listen to your Juliana Theory CDs

Anonymous (December 26, 2002)

And then the Ramones must be the Back Street Boys. And the Clash, are they N-Sync? You know, all the old bands respected the Sex Pistols. Dee Dee personally knew Sid Vicious as a friend. I've never heard ANYBODY say "the Ramones are poseurs". Its just idiotic to come on a punk site and bash the Sex Pistols. Of course, you guys know nothing about punk PRE 1985. I don't consider myself a punk, I follow all types of music, but its a fact that the Sex Pistols were the first political punk band, and the first UK punk band. Its also a fact that their manager did not "create" them. He only offered them a place to practice and record, for they had been a band since 1974. Johnny Rotten got hired to be their vocalist. Its not like it was the first or last auditioning in punk history. Look at the Damned. Their line up is almost completely different from when they started, but nobody ever says "the Damned are poseurs". If you like any punk rock at all, you have to at least RESPECT the Sex Pistols, along with all the other bands like the Ramones and the Clash, that created and defined the genre as rebellious. I'm not trying to change your opinion. Just trying to educate you. But I guess these days willful ignorance is a virtue.

lunk (December 26, 2002)

the sex pistols are the spice girls of punk.

Anonymous (December 25, 2002)

This label is nothing. It puts out trash. And I'd like somebody to explain how the Ramones are "pop-punk", because they aren't popular and don't have a "pop-punk" style. Sure they did the soundtrack to a shitty movie, but that doesn't make them "pop". The Clash and the Sex Pistols have movie documentaries about them, and they sure as hell aren't "pop". The way I see it, the Ramones were the first punk band. Since they hated almost ALL popular music and anything that got radio play, and purposely avoided making that stuff, how were they "pop"? I'm not trying to insult anybody, I'd just like to see a reasonable answer to that question.

lunk (December 25, 2002)

to the last two guys: right on. i could not fucking agree more. in ten years, when nofx are split up and the kids are all listening to something else, you Old School elitist shits will start singing nofx's praises. because, and you know this is true, you are hypocrites.

Anonymous (December 25, 2002)

here we go... assholes ranting about who's more punk. The Ramones set standards for pop punk and don't even tell me bands like Teen Idols and the dickies don't sound like them. you're a fuck if you say the ramones weren't pop punk. Second of all, I believe NOFX contributed to the definition of actual reformed music that you and I call punk these days. NOFX are Gods in the scene and you know it. sellout. laidher dudes

Anonymous (December 25, 2002)

But do NoFx or NFG or Blink182 have any songs about down and out junkees, drugs, city life, or the mean streets of New York? Fuck no! Um, are you kidding? Down and out junkies.... city life.... have you ever listened to a NOFX album? Even their EP "The Decline" has all of this stuff. And they go above and beyond the immediate manifestations of someone's personal problems -- they look at the greater sociel constructions that are creating those problems: the government, the establishment, the system of hierarchy, etc. So please don't say NOFX doesn't cover important stuff. They do, and have been, for years.

Anonymous (December 24, 2002)

"and for the record, i was listening to the ramones when you were still shitting in your diapers."

And for the record, if you were, you'd know that the Ramones weren't pop punk. You probably think it all started back in '85 with NoFx (who suck, by the way).

drod (December 24, 2002)

fuck, i'm still shitting in my diapers

waste_elite (December 23, 2002)


this kid's brilliant...

i say we ban all of the 13 year old HaRdCoRe PuNk RaWkErS from this site. i honestly think that i just lost a few million brain cells after reading that post.

and for the record, i was listening to the ramones when you were still shitting in your diapers.

lunk (December 23, 2002)

god. how can an entire label suck? i mean, fat wreck treats its' bands really well considering their realtively low unit sales.
Say what you will about the bands themselves, but fat wreck, and especially its' younger brother honest dons, are great labels for limited-appeal groups to get their recordings distributed far and wide, and make a bit of cash on top of that.
and if you don't like some of the more popular bands on fat wreck, consider this: without the popular band sales to subsisdise the smaller bands' releases, those smaller bands would not get even half the distribution they do.
They get fair treatment, professional studio work, great publicity both on fat samplers, and up until recently on fat free radio.

I have all the fat samplers except the new one which i plan to get soon, and i agree that this is a great one, but life in the fat lane is just as good, as is their second most recent one. The samplers introduced me to a lot of bands over the years, including my favourite band, propagandhi. for that i will be eternally grateful.

In terms of competing with other labels' samplers, fat holds its' ground well. Punkorama and others just shove volume down the consumers' throat, but fat, i feel, offers higher quality tracks, but fewer of them. for the discriminating punk on a schedual.

Anonymous (December 23, 2002)

You maybe partially right, but you're still an idiot. Get your head out of your ass and open your ears. Not everything that's ever been quality was made 20 years ago. Sure, there is a lot of shit out these days that sucks, but it doesn't all.

Anonymous (December 23, 2002)

"and to the genius down below

the ramones were pop-punk"

Oh,jesus, we've got a smartee on our hands. You're a real genius. "Pop" indicates "popular". The Ramones didn't sound like anything like popular music, ass whipe. Compare a Ramones record and any FWC piece of shit and what will see the difference. But you're just some dumb fuck who probably has never listened to a Ramones record in your life, so you wouldn't know.


People who say they are just say that to try and get a respected band into their favorite genre. Yes, they sang about girls. Yes, they sang about stupid stuff. But do NoFx or NFG or Blink182 have any songs about down and out junkees, drugs, city life, or the mean streets of New York? Fuck no! Know why? Cos they always had it good. They all grew up in little rich suburbs where they didn't have to deal with things like the Ramones.

Anonymous (December 23, 2002)

The guy who acts tough cause he doesn't like any fat bands is a cockass

waste_elite (December 23, 2002)

and to the genius down below

the ramones were pop-punk

waste_elite (December 23, 2002)

man, you're such a badass

Anonymous (December 22, 2002)

"nobody will admit to liking fat anymore because it's not cool but everyone under the sun likes at least one band on the label."

Fuck off. I hate them all.

Anonymous (December 22, 2002)

Doesnt matter... all new punk is shit. Pure, fucking crocks of shit in barrels. I dont care if they're political or not, just don't act like this is classic stuff. FWC is nothing special... I dont like any of their bands personally and believe that NoFx is a joke. All of you need to go out and buy the Ramones, if this is what you think is classic. Or Raw Power by the Stooges. Anything but this whiny crap. I dont CARE how many people were inspired by NoFx, they still suck. I don't CARE if they sold out or not, they still suck. I gave them three fucking tries. I listened to one of the "greatest" punk albums, 'Punk in Drublic' and still think they suck. Its just my opinion. NoFx= Over fucking rated. Poppunk= shitrock.

M4CH1N3 (December 22, 2002)

Fat wreck is, overall, still the best label out there. That's 'cool' enough for me

Anonymous (December 22, 2002)

You know what's really stupid? This kinda goes with a comment earlier. Saying Fat is a shit label, basically because of the bands, then pointing out which few you like. There are probably 10 labels I know of that I would concider to be shit if I used that logic, because I don't like every band on a label. So, if I like less than 3 bands on a certain label, then I think the label sucks? Typical shitheads who just want to talk shit so they feel better about themselves.

Anonymous (December 22, 2002)

i'll second that this is the best fat comp. but maybe its just cuz its classic now. i mean cmon, most of us were getting into punk when this came out. i'm 22 and i know most of are abnout my age and probably got into punk around 15-17. its the fact that this was the first sampling any of us had to bands like lagwagon and good riddance. the new comp is very good thouhg. actually they all are. much better than the epitaph comps

Anonymous (December 22, 2002)

The best fat comp.
And Dillinger 4 is on fat, Dillinger Escape Plan is on epitaph.

Anonymous (December 22, 2002)

Hubitcherkokov: are you joking? And hey Tito, I'm going to kill your family, beat you silly and then shit on your chest and leave you for dead. And you know what? If we lived in an anarchist nation there would be NOTHING wrong with that. Dude, you're not serious are you? You think that's what it really means to live in an anarchist nation, the right to kill and harm people as you see fit? You've gotta be joking. Don't make definitive statements about political systems when you have no remote understanding of the way they actually work.

evildeadalive (December 22, 2002)

dillinger escape plan is on fat?

Anonymous (December 22, 2002)

fat wreck is a damn good label. lagwagon, strung out, no use, they got some great bands. except dillenger escape plan. i hate them and their "i-shit-in-bags-and-throw-them-in-the-crowd" lead singer.


waste_elite (December 22, 2002)

yeah, there really wasn't a point to that, i just thought it was humorous.

nobody will admit to liking fat anymore because it's not cool but everyone under the sun likes at least one band on the label.

i will say that that fat wreck, within the last year or so, has become quite an impressive label. no, i don't like all of their bands but i would venture to say that they have a higher ratio of good bands than 90% of other punk labels out there.

avail, sick of it all, dillinger four, lawrence arms, nofx, propagandhi, swingin' utters. older nufan isn't too shabby either, and i'm sure im forgetting somebody.

that's my list.

dead man's ale is the stuff...

Bryne (December 21, 2002)

He thinks it's funny.

That's his point.

recordings (December 21, 2002)

their point is: we all seem to be making our own little stands with whatever band we enjoy. like weve joined forces with Mel Gibson in the fucking Braveheart movie...then shitting all over everyone elses opinion because they happen to be rootin for someone else. defending *your* band to the death. and looking retarded in the process.

this goes for bands on the same label (i.e. Fat, in this case), or from label to label. it doesnt matter. but were all a bunch of whiney bitches who feel the need to represent the bands we love by acting like assholes. wow, dont we look grown up?

ok, so this strays a bit from what he said, but its still true. and i agree with his comment anyways. its comical how we act.

Anonymous (December 21, 2002)

Whats your point, if you don't mind me asking?

waste_elite (December 21, 2002)

i think it's funny how someone always says fat sucks except for bands a, b, and c.

then someone else comes along and says fat sucks except for bands x, y, and z.

another guy says no, everything on fat sucks except for m, n, and o.

it's pretty funny, i can't count how many times i've heard the phrase "____ and ____ are the only good fat bands". fill it in the blanks as you see fit.

propagheny (December 21, 2002)

I don't care what anyone says. This CD is a classic. Although most of the other fat comps (especially the new one) are worth owning, as well.

Bryne (December 21, 2002)

Life in the Fat Lane, the 4th comp, is probably my favorite.

This one is a close second, however.

FAKESMILE (December 21, 2002)

Pop-Punk = Punkrock

FAKESMILE (December 21, 2002)

Fat isn't a pop-punk label... The only real pop-punk band they ever released something from is Screeching Weasel...

Most of the other bands are skatepunk...
I dunno who invented that name but it;s a good thing pop-punk (The Queers, Groovie Ghoulies and the Ramones) can be mentioned in another genre as Frenzal Rhomb and No Use For A Name...

Fat does/did have/had a couple of good bands : Propagandhi, Snuff, Less Than Jake, SOIA, 88 fingers louie...

The comp is great by the way

drewcifer (December 21, 2002)

this comp reminds me of getting high at lunch in highschool. considering how shitty life has gotten since then, it's a good thing. woo00ooo

Anonymous (December 21, 2002)

fat wreck is fucking stupid! look who started it and look at the roster. yes, i did start out listening to this label to find out what was out there. move on ya'll. nofx did not invent punk and punk cover songs should go away quickly.

waste_elite (December 21, 2002)

i thought NOFX's cover of Forming was pretty fucking cool

hubitcherkokov (December 21, 2002)

This album owns. And hey Tito, I'm going to kill your family, beat you silly and then shit on your chest and leave you for dead. And you know what? If we lived in an anarchist nation there would be NOTHING wrong with that. What are you, 13? Anarchy is a fucking joke and there is absolutely nothing wrong with selling merchandise to MAKE A (more than likely) SHITTY LIVING AND PUT OUT MUSIC!!!

pope_schlomo (December 21, 2002)

Propaghandhi, Tilt, Good Riddance, NOFX(when they didn't sound so predictable), Snuff, Me First, Lagwagon (both those fuckin songs rock), Bracket...I can go on. The only comp Fat has put out thats good. Wanna know the best part??? NO ANTI-FLAG!!!!

(Dogs that shoot bees out their mouth would be cool)

recordings (December 21, 2002)

anti-flag isn't about anarachy.

tito, however. is about making an ass of himself.

punky (December 21, 2002)

This was when all the fat bands were at their best...
Lagwagon with hoss, propagandhi with less talk, strung out with suburban,wizo with uuaarrgh!, nufan with Leche Con Carne
, hi standard with growing up.
And btw, Raum der Zeit is political song.

Great comp.

StabbingGoldfish (December 20, 2002)

since when was anti-flag about anarchy?

Anonymous (December 20, 2002)

No, Fat Records is just a terrible company. Pop-punk has never shown any redeeming value. We've got a guy who's playing Big Brother from "1984" in the White House, and instead of trying to do anything about it, bands just go with the flow. Know why? Cos they're all fucking capitalists. All they care about is the money. As long as they make enough cash, they couldn't care less about the poor or the needy. And "Anti-Flag" is a joke. Selling shirts is not fucking anarchy.


Anonymous (December 20, 2002)

thank god someone finally reviewed this. i've been waiting to hear a professional opinion before i shelled out the scratch for it

evildeadalive (December 20, 2002)

Yeah, me too. I love Good Riddance, but that is just a terrible song...

burstandbloom (December 20, 2002)

oh, except I *hate* the good riddance song on here. hate it.

burstandbloom (December 20, 2002)

Aww, this comp has sentimental value for me. Definately the best Fat Comp there is.

evildeadalive (December 20, 2002)

I gotta agree with Scott on this one.

Anonymous (December 20, 2002)

the best fat comp - bigjerk

Anonymous (December 20, 2002)

Ok, the fat sucks gotta end, cuz it's not true. Most band on the label are good. That's all I had to say.

Anonymous (December 20, 2002)

This is by far the best fat comp.

maverick (December 20, 2002)

The only Fat comp worth owning.


Anonymous (December 20, 2002)

try this on for size:

fat records suck.

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