"We weren't the first but were holding our own; 10 years ago the seeds were sewn. A song in your heart gets you up when you're down. like the songs we play we love this sound, we're just like you standin' in the crowd." - MxPx
Way back in the hey day of 1997 I ventured off for some fun with my new high school friends on a cold November night down to a little venue in Pittsburgh known as Club Laga. We arrived to a sold-out crowd of about 500 kids. Most of whom seemed to be the same people who where at the Suicide Machines show a few days before. I don't remember too much about the opening bands or even who they where for that matter, but as the night's end drew near a band named "MixPix" took the stage -- No, just "M-X-P-X". Plowing through their songs of pop-punk bliss the band seemed to have everyone in the club dancing, bouncing, and singing along. I was clueless to any of these songs, but it was definitely a type of music that I enjoyed. Songs like "Chick Magnet", "Punk Rawk Show," and "Move to Bremerton" run in my head for weeks to follow. That Christmas I scribbled on my letter to Santa MxPx's album "Life in General." A record I think all of us have heard at one time or another. From there I was hooked, I went out and stocked up on their other records and have followed the band since.
MxPx holds a part in our scene as being one of those bands that have paved the way for similar bands such as Blink 182, Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, and just about everything on Drive-Thru Records, but at the same time they maintained some credibility. The band hasn't changed much since their high school days of playing snotty pop-punk tunes about religion, teenage troubles, politics, and of course girls. Aside from being picked up by a major record label and a natural maturity in their music and lyrics the trio has stuck to the same basic formula that got them where they are today.
Enter their new album "Before, Everything, and After." My first impression of this album is that it's terrible, pop-trash, and easily forgettable. However, I can't submit that as a review and I know I am far more articulate than that and can explain something that I dislike to back my opinion. So if you care, read on…
The sounds that enter my ear from the minute I press play come off as a very different MxPx. The "pop" is scooted up to first class and the "punk rawk" is left in coach. The band has taken the route of the artists they helped influence and look hungry for that taste of fortune and fame -- As they have since appeared in Pepsi commercials and even in the special features for the re-release of "Animal House" on DVD. The first actual song "Play it Loud" is Mike Herrera professing that the band just wants to play music and essentially sings a very upbeat number describing the band. Although it is a tolerable song you can see the direction the band is taking. As things shift to "Well Adjusted" which is a very juvenile song that I swear Simple Plan wrote. Dragging on, "Quit Your Life" is their attempt at a soft acoustic tune, which seems would fit better on a John Mayer disc than here. "Kings of Hollywood" is that song you expect to hear in a Disney movie like Shrek, although they still claim "Left Coast Punk Rawk." Classic MxPx songs are provided though, like "Brokenhearted," "More Everything," "The Capitol," "You Make Me," and "You're Not Alone," but even these songs just don't feel right.
Out of the sixteen tracks, two filler, nine just seem out of place and forced for an MxPx record. I can't hold the band responsible for wanting to take the route they did, it's been ten years since they started out maybe a change was needed. Unfortunately it's not something that sits well in my ear drums. For your enjoyment there is an enhanced portion of the disc containing wallpapers, buddy icons, and all those other usual goodies. In review, MxPx's latest effort "Before, Everything, and After" is a very forgettable set of tunes that I can almost guarantee will not be spinning in my CD player past today.