MxPx - Secret Weapon (Cover Artwork)


MxPx: Secret WeaponSecret Weapon (2007)
Tooth & Nail Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: AllonAllon
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Longevity is one of the most difficult things for any band to maintain. One of the more common things you see is that over the years a group's sound will go over some sort of make-over that often alienates most fans (see Against Me!, AFI, Less Than Jake, blah blah blah), and then that longevity begi.
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Longevity is one of the most difficult things for any band to maintain. One of the more common things you see is that over the years a group's sound will go over some sort of make-over that often alienates most fans (see Against Me!, AFI, Less Than Jake, blah blah blah), and then that longevity begins to run out. But fortunately for MxPx, despite the tweaking they've made, and the meager results of their last three albums (Before Everything & After, Panic, and the underwhelming second B-sides album Let's Rock), they've managed to keep a good portion of their fanbase. All those loyal listeners (myself included) that fell in love with records like Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo and/or Life in General in the `90s have been patiently waiting Magnified Plaid's return to form.

The question is, is Secret Weapon finally the treasure we've been looking for? Well, yes and no. What has happened is that for the first time in almost ten years is that MxPx did return to Tooth & Nail to record this new album, and I think that a return to familiar territory has been very refreshing for the trio.

Secret Weapon starts off very promisingly. The power trio of "Secret Weapon," "Shut It Down" and "Here's to the Life" are one of the best leadoffs for an album that they've had. They seem in much higher spirits than on Panic and the lyrics take on a much different light this time around. I was really confounded when I realized that there are hardly any songs on Secret Weapon about relationships -- a staple for the band for so long...not that I'm complaining, though. In its place are a lot more tunes that have a sense of finding oneself and moving on, which is a fitting theme for this record.

Honestly, I think that Secret Weapon will appeal to MxPx fans of both new and old. There's a bunch of other hard-nosed tracks (see "Contention," "Punk Rawk Celebrity" and "Never Better Than Now") that have been almost completely absent on releases for the last few years, and the more pop-friendly songs (like "Angels," and my favorite, "You're on Fire") are as consistent as they've always been.

But all in all, while I really feel that Secret Weapon is an improvement on Panic, I still feels it falls a little short of the expectations that were set for it. There are a few places were the album gets a little mediocre -- mostly when they retread territory they've been in lately, but it's got 19 tracks (if you were smart and got the deluxe version), so there should be enough places where even their biggest stickler finds something they'll like and thoroughly enjoy.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
obiwanspicoli (February 13, 2008)

I couldn't stand the last record, but I'll give it a shot if they are getting back to "tooth and nail" cuts!

thomas7155 (February 12, 2008)

Wow, I listening to this right now, and it's about 40000 times faster than I thought! there's even gang vocals!

AnotherBoringStory (February 12, 2008)

The first half of Panic was fucking awesome. The second half, not so much.

This is more consistent, but it's never great. I'm not sure which makes for a better album.

bikeage (February 11, 2008)

score is for christianity

Scruffy (February 11, 2008)

"But it's still my favourite album of theirs, having never been one of their fans."

Find a copy of Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo and listen to it a few times. Ignoring the large amount of crap this band has done, the ways they've succeeded at other sounds and any religious animosity you may or may not have, that album is a phenomenal piece of work that deserves eternal recognition. One of the few where I can remember the afternoon I bought it and first listened to it with clarity.

faster (February 11, 2008)

I was well into MXPX back in 2002. I just tried three of the tracks off this album on their Myspace, and it's alright actually. One of them kinda sounded like Bad Religion.

BUT. Doubt they'll ever beat those two songs on the first album that were like RAAAAAAAAAGH. Those were great.

VictorIkpeba24 (February 11, 2008)

At first I loved this record, but I've got tired of it quite early. There's a couple of great songs, some good songs, but half of the album is quite boring and dispensable. But it's still my favourite album of theirs, having never been one of their fans.

AlmostPunkEnough (February 11, 2008)

definitley a solid effort, but as someone else said, there's no way this is better than "Panic!". that record might have been poppy as anything, but it was damn good pop.

BANGARANG (February 10, 2008)

These guys were better when they were teenagers playing teenager music.

punk_rawk_show (February 9, 2008)

Agreed, Its alright but doesnt have much reply value. its not an album you have to listen to every single day

fattony (February 9, 2008)

I really liked this at first, but it doesn't have a lot of lasting value, in my opinion.

That fact aside, it's easily their best since Buffalo.

santeria (February 9, 2008)

I enjoyed it, but Panic! still stands out a bit more to me.

tinner (February 8, 2008)

These guys have always been good live, It`s just hard to be in my late 20s and sing along to songs i would have written when i was 14

BluthCo (February 8, 2008)

One of their better albums.

XCARLUPANDDIEX (February 8, 2008)

i was a huge mxpx fan.

this is simply mediocore

facetofacereunion08 (February 8, 2008)

disappointing record for me. i feel like they are not capable of writing the types of songs on "life is general" anymore. not much replay value here for me, i get bored with this record.

jacknife737 (February 8, 2008)

Its a solid listen, although i still feel Panic! has it beat.

Nap (February 8, 2008)

No way it's better than Panic!

It starts so good but goes downhill

paulrulzdood (February 8, 2008)

I was kind of let down by this album...I actually liked Panic quite a bit more, but teh reviewer is right, those first 3 tracks are pretty sweet. "heres to the life" is my personal favorite on the album, but the first 2 songs rip as well. I'm just glad they're still around and making new music, although my 3 favorite MxPx albums are still Life in General, Buffalo and Ever Passing Moment.


patrickingeneral (February 8, 2008)

It bums me out this didn't get 4 stars, but so close.

Definitely their best album since Buffalo.

fallingupwards84 (February 8, 2008)

very good review... not as good of an album as Life In General, but i still like it a lot - Shut It Down and Never Better Than Now are some of the best songs they've ever written. bout time someone reviewed this, it took long enough

Oldpunkerforever (February 8, 2008)

as stated earlier, best work since slowly-oldpunker-

johnny_J (February 8, 2008)

Forgot to mention, as a reader below me mentioned, they were friggen beasts on that Ernie Ball stage on Warped!

johnny_J (February 8, 2008)

This is a really solid record. It seems as though they've tailed off just a tad recently, although I do love 'Panic'... but with this album they really hit the spot again. Yum.

iruineverything (February 8, 2008)

Definitely a solid album. Shut It Down, Bass So Low and Chop Shop are all stand out tracks. Throw Your Body in the Air from the deluxe edition is a fun song too.

What's with all the hate on Before Everything & After? Cheesey lyrics galore, but lots of catchy tunes on that album.

everybirdsnest (February 8, 2008)

At first, I was all about the first 3 songs on the record being the best but after time the best song on this record is punkrock celebrity followed by angels. This is the single best material by this band since Slowly going the way of the buffalo for sure.

MN_punkmaster-skaman (February 8, 2008)

When I saw these guys on Warped Tour this past summer on the tiny Ernie Ball stage, it sounded like they returned to their true form. Right after I bought the album. It's not their best album, but it's definitely way better than the last two albums. Old and new fans of the band should buy this and enjoy.

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