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The Mr. T Experience: Milk, Milk, LemonadeMilk, Milk, Lemonade (1992)
Reviewer Rating: 4
Contributed by: I-type-poorlyI-type-poorly
(others by this writer | submit your own)
“Milk, Milk, Lemonade” marks MTX’s departure from pop-punk obscurity, a sound they have redefined with every other release. Before this album, their pop punk sound was basically a fucked up Partridge Family raised view on punk rock. While every other band were bashing beer bottles over their heads and dropping f bombs on stage, MTX were singing songs about cheese and doing kid sing along covers. A cute shtick, but it had to end sometime…
This album distances itself from the past right off the bat with “Book of Revelation”, building with a kind of minstrel tune you’d hear at a renaissance fair. From then on it’s a band reborn. Anyone who owns any later MTX albums can hear the subtle beginnings of Dr. Frank’s twisted witticisms, “Book of Revelation” has that cryptic pop sensibility found in later tunes (“Big Strange Beautiful Hammer” “Dustbin of History”). “There’s Something Wrong With Me” is an introduction to the grim-humored, Prozac-induced tunes, which would later get less broad and more pessimistic (“My Stupid Life” “Fucked Up On Life”). “Make Up” and “Last Time I Listened To You” showcase the stalemate that is a doomed relationship, with the male as clumsy as Jonathan Richman (see “Lawnmower of Love” and “Now That You Are Gone”).
Most noticeably, this is the first album to showcase MTX’s eventual claim to (moderate) fame, love songs. “I Love You, But You’re Standing On My Foot” is a ballad about a couple that spends more time goofing on each other than making out. Dr. Frank has always had a knack for pairing up outcasts ever since then (“Population: Us” “We’re Not No One”). Also take note of the acoustic guitar (a then punk rock no-no). “Love American Style” is a love song smothered with satire, and a song that nearly ostracized the band from the scene. Punk was a very different thing a short decade ago… who would’ve thought the kinds of songs they were satirizing would become a mainstay in punk by now?
The album yet isn’t without faults. The version of “Last Time I Listened To You” on this record is horrible, and doesn’t do the pre-Love Is Dead tune justice. The demo version on “Big Black Bugs…” is far superior. “What Difference Does It Make?” is a pointless cover. And the subtle humor in songs like “Two Minute Itch” and “What Do You Want?” may only stand out to long time MTX fans. The other songs require repeated listens, but grow on you and become trapped in your head like TV commercial jingles. The only tune that doesn’t stick to the wall is the slogging “See It Now”, ending the album on a sour note.
In short, this is the only pre-“…And The Women” MTX album worth paying full price for, rather than searching the used bin for or skipping altogether. It’s catchy, witty, and fun as hell. The band is still shaking off some dust off at this point, but you can see Dr. Frank is really on to something fresh and his own. For fans, it’s a nice little slice of humble beginnings to the MTX we love; and for someone new to the sound it’s a peek at what pop punk was once was labeled as. Ben Weasel must have been smoking crack when he listened to this…
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