MxPx - Teenage Politics (Cover Artwork)


Teenage Politics (1995)

Tooth & Nail

In 1992, three guys in high school named Mike, Andy, and Yuri got together and formed a band called Magnified Plaid. By the time they graduated in 1995, the boys from Bremerton, WA (who eventually shortened their band name to MxPx) had already signed to a record label and recorded two albums -- Pokinatcha and Teenage Politics (Andy was replaced by Tom after Pokinatcha). The summer after graduation, they would go on their first U.S. tour and would explode in the pop-punk scene, recording the popular Life in General the following year. Life in General seems to be the favorite album among most MxPx fans, and over the years has overshadowed what, in my opinion, is an amazing album: Teenage Politics.

Most of you have probably made up your mind about MxPx by this point. They've been making solid pop-punk music for 13 years now, and I can always count on them when I'm in the mood for fast, positive pop-punk music. Their second album, Teenage Politics, put a heavier emphasis on the punk and less on the pop, and lyrically covered everything from life in high school and politics (go figure) to matters of faith. Yes, this would be the last MxPx album that would talk about God directly. Something tells me that Mike had a reality check after he left high school into the real world. But even so, only a few of the 19 tracks on this disc mention religion in any form or fashion. If you cannot handle hearing a song or two about someone's faith, then don't bother listening.

The songs on this album are blazing fast and each of the 19 songs have its own unique sound to it, so they don't sound all the same (which was the problem with their first album, Pokinatcha). It's the kind of music that you'd listen to on a sunny day with the windows rolled down, as you recollect the fun times you had growing up in high school. There isn't a dull moment on the entire CD; it is truly one that you can listen to all the way through without skipping a song.

The most popular song on this album, of course, is "Punk Rawk Show." While it is certainly not the best song on the disc, it has emerged as MxPx's most identifiable song (with the possible exception of "Chick Magnet") and has remained a fan favorite at their shows since. Other highlights include "Moneytree," where Mike explains why he won't be going off to college: "Four more years ain't right for me, I don't think so. Won't let them teach me how to be a moneytree." This is also the only MxPx album where Mike really shows his political views, such as in the song "Americanism:" "Would you die for your country? False freedom and liberty. They're lying when they tell us this is the home of the brave and land of the free."

If the only albums you have heard from MxPx are their later releases, you should consider giving this one a chance. While I still love their newer material, this album definitely has a rawer and faster feel to it. In fact, the only downside about this CD would be the fact that Mike's voice has not quite fully matured yet, and is not as strong as it is in the post-Life in General era. The fact that they recorded these classic songs while they were still in high school says a lot about this band and leads me to appreciate it even more.