Holy Animal Porn, Batman!

Apr 15, 2003
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:almost everything

Cons:some disappointing tracks

The Bottom Line: BUY IT NOOOOOOOOOW! (say it Arnold S. style, and you will know what I am talking about)

“Heavy Petting Zoo” in my eyes is one of NOFX’s best albums to date. You can just listen to it over and over again because it’s 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 I’m writing my songs. It just gives me ideas.

The first thing that you’ll 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 own—which is a great thing. Melvin’s guitar work seems not as big as a rush as his guitar partner, Hefe and that sort of sucks. The guitars aren’t 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 isn’t at all there. Sure, there are semi-political songs like “The Black and White” and “Freedom Lika Shopping Cart”, but they aren’t up to par with NOFX’s 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 2000’s “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 NOFX’s 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. It’s not as weird as people think, at least I don’t think it’s weird. A lot of people fussed over Dead Kennedys’ booklet on “Frankenchrist”, but it wasn’t a big deal. I’m a big fan of H.R. Giger, and to me, NOFX’s booklet is artwork—disturbing as it is, it is also cool. So in other words, it’s 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 Mike’s 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 it’s so moving and wonderful. “August 8th” is a cool song because the chorus is basically awesome. It’s full of sweetness and it’s 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. It’s really like “The Decline”. It’s semi-long and has no chorus, just a sometimes-repeating guitar and drum line. The lyrics are explosive and smooth and make sense. It’s 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 (that’s how long they’ve been together, their about 40 years old each of them, though).

“Liza” and “Whatever Didi Wants” are good songs, but they don’t 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 something’s missing for some reason. I feel like the songs are incomplete and weren’t 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.

“What’s The Matter With Kids Today” is the first part of the “What’s The Matter…” series with the last “What’s The Matter…” being “Pump Up The Valium”’s “What’s The Matter With Parents Today”. This song is awesome and is perhaps the punkest NOFX song on this CD. It’s 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 Mike’s obsession with big women. It describes graphic images of him with a big woman and it’s just funny as ever. All the instruments are tweaked up to greatness and really shows how much NOFX has matured—in 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 doesn’t have a clear message about what they are singing about, which is sort of annoying, but it’s 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 it’s one of their best records. The cussing isn’t as much as in their other albums, but it’s 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, that’s why I love her.” NOFX, ~Heavy Petting Zoo~, “Hotdog In The Hallway”

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