MxPx’s latest evokes nothing but eye-rolls
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 23:04
I don’t exactly follow the Christian punk scene, but I feel I still have enough authority to say that MxPx’s ninth studio album, “Plans Within Plans,” is barely more listenable than Loutallica’s 2011 venture, “Lulu.”
MxPx is a trio of Bremerton, Washington natives that signed with Tooth & Nail Records in 1993. If you aren’t familiar with the label, you’re not missing much. It’s home to a wide variety of other punk pop acts like Hawk Nelson and FM Static.
Between 1997 and 2004, the group was picked up by A&M. They changed their sound, dropping the hardcore aesthetic and opting to play milder, Blink-182-esque numbers. Though they’re back with Tooth & Nails, they’re still working off that twee-punk formula and it sounds immature. There’s an uninspired electronic drum fill overlaying half the tracks on “Plans Within Plans.” The whole production is awkward. It sounds like a group of middle-aged men pretending to be teenagers.
It isn’t just the sound that bothers me, though. I’m well aware that this is how the genre is supposed to play. My issue is the lyrics. They focus on one pronounced theme—cliché. Every song features at least one stanza that merits an eye-roll. For example:
“Just deal the cards and hope that you get aces/And when you play your hand put on your poker faces” – Track 1, “Aces.”
“I’ve got a screw loose deep inside my head” – Track 2, “Screw Loose.”
“We’re all a little messed up in our own ways” – Track 3, “Nothing Left.”
You get the point.
MxPx formed 20 years ago, and if anything their lyrics are now less stimulating than those on their debut LP, “Pokinatcha.” There’s no irony, no wisdom, no artistic merit. They aren’t searching for answers; they’re putting their eighth grade prose to rhythm. If there’d been some sort of lyrical maturity, some sign of aging and garnered wisdom, this album might have been alright, redeemable, even.
But the best Mike Herrera had to offer was, “I never thought I’d ever be this old/And I always made a point to never act my age.”
Yeah. I can tell.