MxPx's 'Life in General' Still a Punk Rock Classic Nearly 20 Years Later [Throw Back Thursday Album Review]

Justin SarachikMay 07, 2015 04:20 PM EDT
Facebook: MxPx

There are very few bands around today that have been as productive and relevant over the last 20 years as the band MxPx. Ever since their first release Pokinatcha in 1994, this band has wowed music fans with their almost yearly musical output and continuous energetic punk. With that being, never mind that intro, because this article is about their landmark BEST ALBUM, Life in General.

Life in General was released in 1996, and contains some of the band's most well known hits. After signing as mid-teens with Tooth & Nail Records, and coming off the success of Teenage Politics the year before, the trio was poised to release a classic.

If their second album dealt with simple Teenage Politics, Life in General opened the music to a broader scope and included the everyday knock me downs of being a youth, hating school, and chasing your high school crush.

So here are just a few of the tracks of the 17 on the album that stick out most.

MxPx
(Photo : Facebook: MxPx)

MxPx opens the album up with perhaps one of their most iconic intros, "E-MO-TION...is my middle name," vocalist and bassist Mike Herrera belts out to start one of their most well known songs. And boom, just like that, a whole generation of punks were hooked.

Moving on to track three, there lies another one of their most beloved songs, "Do Your Feet Hurt." Herrera pulls out his best teenage pick up lines and throws them all into one song "You're the bomb and you blew up on me," "do your feet hurt, did you fall from heaven" and then adds "cause you've been running through my mind all day." In pure punk rock fashion Herrera is trying to Romeo the girl of his dreams, before inviting her to his next show of course. This song is adolescence in its purest form.

Now on to track six, where MxPx tells people a bit about their hometown in Seattle. "Move to Bremerton" is similar to "Do Your Feet Hurt" in the sense that the singer is desperately trying to convince his lady friend to move to his town so they can be together. "Drop outta school and run away, quit your job you got a place to stay, pack your bags and hitch a ride, Bremerton's a good place to reside" he sings with the promise of always being there for the girl. Again, this song captures the simplicity of a young teenager in love by saying, 'It's easy to be together, just leave everything behind, and join me!'.

Right around the midpoint of the album the listener gets smacked from out in left field. The thumping funky bass line of "Chick Magnet" comes in and changes the whole feel of the band while still hitting heavy on the punk during the chorus. Oh yeah, not to mention the snap your fingers swing interlude where Herrera babbles on with some gibberish that every fan of the band can recite perfectly. The song becomes even better if watched with the video, as drummer Yuri Ruley becomes the unlikely star of the song.

"Doing Time" clocks in at around 1:24, but its impact is profound. It is the band expressing their most "punk rock" attitude. "I went to school and did my time, and since I'm out and since I'm free, I could do what I want to be," he sings of his newfound freedom. MxPx is saying 'who needs school?' when we have music and have friends. Those are two things that have never let them down, which is expressed in the final line of the song, "I went out every Friday night, I still do and I'm alright." Perhaps doing time is a rebuttal to the girl from "Move to Bremerton," where Herrera is saying, 'See everything will be fine, just give it a chance'.

The song "Christalena" has also become a staple in the band's repertoire, and features a super catchy chorus along with their signature full speed guitars blazing and drums pounding.

Closing out the album is "Southbound," and maybe while not one of the most popular songs, it finishes the journey for MxPx. The track is all about driving with the windows down, listening to music, and arriving to a destination looking to have fun which can sometimes be lost touring for miles on end.

TRACK LISTING:
1. "Middlename"
2. "My Mom Still Cleans My Room"
3. "Do Your Feet Hurt"
4. "Sometimes You Have to Ask Yourself"
5. "The Wonder Years"
6. "Move to Bremerton"
7. "New York to Nowhere"
8. "Andrea"
9. "Your Problem, My Emergency"
10. "Chick Magnet"
11. "Today Is in My Way"
12. "Sorry So Sorry"
13. "Doing Time"
14. "Correct Me If I'm Wrong"
15. "Cristalena"
16. "Destroyed by You"
17. "Southbound"

MxPx
(Photo : Facebook: MxPx)

Ask any fan of Mxpx young or old what their favorite MxPx album is; and nine times out of 10 they will say Life in General. This album helped propel this small Tooth & Nail band to punk rock stardom, which in turn helped them garner mainstream success and play. Their next album Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo would be a joint deal between T&N and A&M Records, and they would eventually move on even from there with the release of The Ever Passing Moment in 2000.

The 2000's proved to go a little differently for the band than the '90s did. As they matured, the sound of the music became more of the pop-punk variety that was on the radio; say for instance a Good Charlotte, Yellowcard, and later New Found Glory like feel. Musically this proved better, in that fact the band began to explore some diversity and even began to mix in a few ballads (Quit Your Life). However, with a sea of similar sounding artists, they got a bit lost in the shuffle.

The last few years have really been the quietest for MxPx as a whole, with Herrera touring mostly with the MxPx All-Stars, which does not include Tom Wisniewski and Yuri because of their "retirement." Also, the full length records are far and few, but there are EP's and acoustic releases here and there to keep fans happy.

For years the band was also considered a Christian band, but outside of their first two albums, the band never really touched on that subject. Some of the band no longer identifies with Christianity according to recent interviews, but that was never the focal point of their music anyway. Christians could listen to squeaky clean punk music, and non-Christians could enjoy the music without getting blasted with a message.

MxPx has released nine studio albums, one live, five compilations, seven ep's, and three movies.

Were you a fan of Life in General? What's your favorite MxPx album? Let us know in the comments!

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