Album Review: Fat Mike, ‘Home Street Home’

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Home Street Home is a punk rock musical NOFX’s Fat Mike wrote with Avenue Q composer Jeff Marx . While the soundtrack album Home Street Home: Original Songs from the Shit Musical is a worthwhile listen, it’s obvious that the soundtrack will make more sense once you see the musical. Without context Home Street Home suffers from a severe case of mood whiplash.

The musical is about a group of gutter punks, so it makes sense that all the songs are about misfits. They run the gamut from a girl who personifies suicide (“I’m Suicide”) to a mother looking for her lost daughter (“Missing Child”). However, it’s surprising that most of the songs are really depressing if you listen closely to the lyrics. For example, “Three Against Me” has a protagonist whose brothers abuse him, but everyone else writes it off as a case of sibling rivalry.

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There are the occasional songs that don’t tug at the heartstrings; although those can’t exactly be called cheery either. “High Achievers,” which is in the vein of Avenue Q, and lists all the intelligent contributing members of society throughout history, such as Sigmund Freud and Oscar Wilde, who have done acid, opium, etc. The characters of Home Street Home use this to justify their drug use because of “better living through modern chemistry.” There’s also “Bad Decisions,” which sounds like a Schoolhouse Rock song.

The punks of Home Street Home aren’t of the rough and tumble don’t give a damn variety. They hurt and want to be more than they currently are. These songs tell their stories. You should listen to them.

My only complaint is that without seeing the musical, there is not way to put this in context. Like Avenue Q, Home Street Home suffers without watching the performance because you’re only getting half the story.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Songs from Fat Mike’s Home Street Home musical are performed by NOFX and members of Descendents, Lagwagon, No Use for a Name, Alkaline Trio, Mad Caddies, Frank Turner, The Living End, Old Man Markley, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Dropkick Murphys, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, Dance Hall Crashers, The Aggrolites, Limp, The Real McKenzies, Mariachi El Bronx, R.K.L. and Hedwig & the Angry Inch.

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Allison Lips is the Founder of Wait! What’s a Dial?, a television blog that showcases the writing of millennials. Allison graduated from Rowan University in May 2013. She has a passion for TV history, especially late night and game shows. If she could go back in time, Steve Allen would still be hosting The Tonight Show. Follow her on Twitter @waitwaitsadial.
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Anglophile, Rockabilly, Pompadour lover, TV and Music Critic