Heavy Petting Zoo in my eyes is one of NOFXs best albums to date. You can just listen to it over and over again because its really user-friendly. Although this album is really more poppy than their usual affairs, it does earn big points with me for being such a good influence FOR ME and helping me with my writing skills and drumming skills, and to further your knowledge about how good this record is, I always listen to it while Im writing my songs. It just gives me ideas.
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The first thing that youll probably notice when you turn on this record is that the guitars and bass sound fantastic more than ever before. They must be using a different brand of guitars and basses because they have a clear sound that is just beautiful. Another thing that I noticed is that there is a lot of guitar solos. The drum work mostly sticks with the bass, but sometimes goes off on its ownwhich is a great thing. Melvins guitar work seems not as big as a rush as his guitar partner, Hefe and that sort of sucks. The guitars arent bickering any more. They are off in another zone with minimal dual riffs while the bass is just going crazy. To say it right, the bass is the catchiest instrument on this entire album.
Something I noticed after I got through the album was that the political undertone isnt at all there. Sure, there are semi-political songs like The Black and White and Freedom Lika Shopping Cart, but they arent up to par with NOFXs other semi-political songs like So Long and Thanks For The Shoes Perfect Government and The Decline. Also, most of the songs sound super similar to 2000s Pump Up The Valium. Most of the songs are based around love and some on comedy, which is a good thing, but sort of a disappointing thing. I love NOFXs humor, but I also like their seriousness a lot also.
A lot of people have commented on their booklet on this album, so I thought I might as well do that also. Its not as weird as people think, at least I dont think its weird. A lot of people fussed over Dead Kennedys booklet on Frankenchrist, but it wasnt a big deal. Im a big fan of H.R. Giger, and to me, NOFXs booklet is artworkdisturbing as it is, it is also cool. So in other words, its disgusting, yet satisfying.
My personal favorites are Love Story and August 8th because they are both slow and rocking at the same time. Love Story is just an awesome song. The bass and guitar riffs are slow and soft while there is rim taps and soft base drum stomps every now and then and the melody is terrifically altered to show you feeling. Fat Mikes voice is nice and is probably his best voice. After the slow 1:00 or something, it goes ultra fast with a lot of rage, anger, pain, and frustration and its so moving and wonderful. August 8th is a cool song because the chorus is basically awesome. Its full of sweetness and its a serious outing on this song. The bass lines are amazing in this song and the guitar work does awesome distortion, too, but the drums are sadly lacking.
Black and White is also one of my favorite tracks. Its really like The Decline. Its semi-long and has no chorus, just a sometimes-repeating guitar and drum line. The lyrics are explosive and smooth and make sense. Its like an anthem in a way and really drags the albums goodness up a huge notch to make an altogether brilliant song by this 15-year -old band (thats how long theyve been together, their about 40 years old each of them, though).
Liza and Whatever Didi Wants are good songs, but they dont really hold my attention for too long, I still listen to them though. Liza is part of the lesbian saga that NOFX has been living off of for a couple years with Liza and Louise being the first and Louise being the latest. Liza is the middle child. These songs are funny, but sadly, Liza is just stupid and not clever. The guitars and horns are cool to hear in this song. Whatever Didi Wants is a good song the first couple of times but once you really listen to it, you notice that it is extremely repetitive. The lyrics are good, but I hate the drums in this song for some reason.
Hobophobic, Bleeding Heart Disease, Philthy Phil Philanthropist, and Drop The World are all awesome songs with hard rocking and hearty beats, but I feel like somethings missing for some reason. I feel like the songs are incomplete and werent what the band thought they could be. They have amazing guitar work with intercepting bass resolution, but the drums are a sad thing and are lazily put by Smelly.
Whats The Matter With Kids Today is the first part of the Whats The Matter
series with the last Whats The Matter
being Pump Up The Valiums Whats The Matter With Parents Today. This song is awesome and is perhaps the punkest NOFX song on this CD. Its fast paced and full of fun and all around good to listen to. Hotdog In The Hallway is a hilarious song that really shows Fat Mikes obsession with big women. It describes graphic images of him with a big woman and its just funny as ever. All the instruments are tweaked up to greatness and really shows how much NOFX has maturedin the instrument department, not in the mental department.
Freedom Lika Shopping Cart and Release The Hostages are good songs also. Release The Hostages really pulls you in, put sadly at the end it lets go with really repetitive lyrics that just annoy the crap out of me. Freedom Lika Shopping Cart is their political song on this record, but it doesnt have a clear message about what they are singing about, which is sort of annoying, but its still fun to hear anyways.
The sound quality is really good and they put a lot of heart and soul into this record, but some of the lyrics might be indistinguishable to virgin ears, so I suggest that you go on plyrics.com to check them out. Whether you are a NOFX fan or not, you should definitely check this CD out because I think its one of their best records. The cussing isnt as much as in their other albums, but its still evident, so kids beware! So if you get past some repetitive tracks, you have a big, fat, greasy, awesome album that everyone should listen to, so go out and buy it.
QUOTE FOR THE REVIEW: She works hard at eating well, thats why I love her. NOFX, ~Heavy Petting Zoo~, Hotdog In The Hallway
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