NOFX - So Long and Thanks For All The Shoes (Cover Artwork)


So Long and Thanks For All The Shoes (1997)

Fat Wreck Chords

 I have no problem saying that So Long & Thanks For All The Shoes, was the clear pinnacle of NoFX’s career. Unlike their discography’s other crown jewel, Punk In Drublic, So Long & Thanks For All The Shoes, touted a tight 16 tracks with little to no filler (that album’s non-singles really don’t hold up all too well); part of the exceptionality of this record the absence of forgettable songs on it, which can’t really be said about any other NoFX project.

“It’s My Job To Keep Punk Rock Elite” was my entry point into the band and it holds up incredibly well from a songwriting perspective (even if my initial fascination with the track was stemmed from my enamorment with the drum chops). It’s a bombastic introductory moment that effectively sets the tone for the rest of the record. From there, So Long & Thanks For All The Shoes is chock full of gems: from the short, but sweet “Murder The Government”, to the critically underrated “Monosyllabic Girl”.

“180 Degrees” is the first of three ska songs scattered throughout the record and it rips! While many bands of NoFX’s breed included their novelty ska song as a mandatory throwaway track, the ska cuts on So Long & Thanks For All The Shoes were actually quality compositions. The angular trumpet riff on “All Outta Angst” and the smooth build throughout “Eat The Meek” demonstrate the multiple dimensions of these songs, and set them apart as more than the typical token ska song.

So Long & Thanks For All The Shoes saw NoFX exploring new ways of breaking up the monotony of repeatedly shoving d-beats and power chords down the throat of the listener, other than the aforementioned ska songs. “Champs Elysees” is a nice cool down about halfway through the record, and, while it’s definitely not one of the band’s strongest songs, it has a nice payoff, and doesn’t feel like a novelty song, despite being sung completely in french.

There’s something to love about nearly every moment on So Long & Thanks For All The Shoes. It may not have been all that groundbreaking or risk taking, but its lack of originality in presentation was more than made up for with compositional proficiency. This was NoFX proving that they know how to write a quality tune, or 16 to be exact. This was the record that NoFX would consistently go back to whenever they wanted to rip themselves off later on in their career. It’s hard not to hear the echos of “Quart In Session” whenever listening to “Franco Unamerican” or parts of “All His Suits Are Torn”, “The Desperation’s Gone”, and “Kids Of The K-Hole” when listening to “The Decline”. That in itself should be proof of the high point that So Long & Thanks For All The Shoes was for NoFX, and if you’re a fan of any of the band’s material, this is an essential listen.