MxPx - Let It Happen [Deluxe Edition] [CD/DVD] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Let It Happen [Deluxe Edition] [CD/DVD] (2006)

Tooth & Nail

I can't think of very many bands whose rarities compilation acted as a gateway album for so many young music fans first discovering punk. With MxPx being this band, those raised on diets of Minor Threat, Rancid, Ramones and the like are likely to scoff, but upon its release in 1998, Let It Happen lured in a mini-generation of skatepunks and pop-punk kids alike.

The other important thing with Let It Happen is that it contains some of MxPx's best songs. Despite the overly nasal, strangely unemotional delivery of Mike Herrera, who is usually singing about relationships of some variety, the songs are endearing. Tracks like "Never Learn," "Begin to Start," and "Let It Happen" carry a raw, distorted and romantic exuberance that the band haven't often matched in even their proper studio albums. Even the rougher version of "Move to Bremerton," the big single off 1996's Life in General, is the far superior version of it. Mike Herrera shows off one of his biggest influences in the band's even punchier cover of Social Distortion's "Sick Boy."

However, the type of heavily skate-influenced pop-punk MxPx nearly perfected in the mid-`90s barely seems prevalent these days. The blueprint for the style carries over a couple of the key traits: songs about girls, nasal vocals, and basic instrumentation. However, prototypes like Fall Out Boy and New Found Glory seem pretty far from removed from the MxPx musical background, meaning a reissue of Let It Happen sure couldn't be cashing in on any resurgence of the style. So why reissue it? The reasons are a little mysterious, but whatever they are, Tooth & Nail did an impressive job with the extras.

The Let It Happen reissue contains six songs not on the original: three brand new recorded songs, and three old demos. Unfortunately, the demos are pretty throwaway. However, those three new ones are actually all quite solid. "Role Modeling" is maybe the best, making for a bit dark of an opening all things considered; it's a mid-tempo "whuh-oo-whoa-oh" laced cut that makes for a fine offering overall. Plus, all three are far better than just about anything off Let's Rock, the other compilation just recently released (on SideOneDummy).

The other bonus is a DVD with every video MxPx has ever done for their proper studio albums -- that includes the ones from albums on A&M and SideOneDummy. Many are homemade shot and pleasantly endearing. "Teenage Politics" is actually the most entertaining despite its obvious concept.

Let It Happen was an important album for mid-`90s pop-punk. While Tooth & Nail has done a pretty commendable job with the extras here, I just sort of doubt it'll have the same effect on kids today.