Heavy Petting Zoo

Heavy Petting Zoo

Coming off the massively successful and crowd-pleasing Punk in Drublic, NOFX created its most unusual, diverse, and overlooked record in Heavy Petting Zoo. While this features some of the band’s most perfectly wrought pop-punk songs—like "Hobophobic (Scared of Bums)" and “Release the Hostages”—it's noteworthy for its variety of alternative approaches. You can hear the influence of bands outside the punk realm, from Cheap Trick in “Freedom Like a Shopping Cart” to Crosby, Stills & Nash in “Bleeding Heart Disease.” You can also hear the impact of NOFX’s contemporaries. There's a bit of Weezer in the lackadaisically quiet-loud structure of “Hot Dog in the Hallway,” while “What’s the Matter with Kids Today” has an abrasive power pop momentum obviously affected by Nirvana. Trumpet parts (played by guitarist El Hefe) recur through the album, another indicator that NOFX was trying to expand from its punk rock palette. The album ends with one of the band’s best songs: “Drop the World,” a poignant depiction of suicide that features the most compassionate singing of Fat Mike’s career.

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