It’s Not a Bad Album… If You’re Twelve
This review is by far one of my toughest namely because it’s hard for me to slam one of my favorite bands. Yes, yes… MXPX is one of my guilty pleasures, but their latest effort, Before Everything and After, may just make me refrain from exposing my fondness for these three guys from Bremerton, WA.While MXPX has always been known as a pop-punk band – a label they’ve never shied away from – BE&A seems to have forgotten the punk part. Though they’ve always been famous for their “whoooaa-ooo whoooaa-ooo’s,” there was something that separated MXPX from the rest of the pop-punk pack. Sure, most of their songs dealt with heartbreak and teenage angst, but their fast and sometimes unrefined sound, combined with lead singer/bassist Mike Herrera’s personal lyrics, made them favorites in the skate/surf/church community garnering them a devout following and successful career spanning ten years.
With BE&A, MXPX’s first release in three years, any semblance of old MXPX is gone. The rawish sound, occasional coarse vocals, and introspective lyrics have vanished only to be replaced by cookie cutter power-pop anthems. Word on the street has it that MXPX recruited some of pop-punk’s major players for assistance on some of the album’s tracks. With the help of comrades such as Benji Madden and Jordan Pundik (of Good Charlotte and New Found Glory fame, respectively), most of the songs on BE&A prove to be sappy, unoriginal, and overproduced. If you’ve heard a Good Charlotte album you’ve heard this one. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not a bad album… if you’re twelve. As for myself, I’m going to go pop in my copy of Teenage Politics.