MxPx ‘lets it happen’ … again

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By Tyler Davidson

By Tyler Davidson

The nearly 15-year old MxPx has, over the years, been as influential on the genre of pop punk as any other band that has come along, touching fans with upbeat melodies and inspirational lyrics. In 1998, a B-sides album called “Let It Happen” was released, containing many rare tracks from the early stages of their career. Almost a decade later, “Let It Happen” has been re-released as a “deluxe edition,” with an altered track listing, as well as an accompanying DVD containing 12 of their music videos.

This being the first time I had ever heard the band’s music, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but from what I heard, I was pleasantly surprised. MxPx rockets through over an hour of straight-up pop punk that is nigh impossible not to move to.

From the opening track, the Bad Religion-esque “Role Remodeling” (one of the new tracks on the re-release), it is clear to the listener that this isn’t just any old compilation disc. The album is full of surprises, not the least of which being a fast-paced cover of Richie Valens’ timeless “Oh Donna.”

The trio also acknowledges its classic rock roots on the disc, at one point breaking into Deep Purple’s unforgettable guitar riff from “Smoke on the Water” on the track “Lifetime Enlightenment.” Looking at the track listing, listening to the album seems a daunting task, as it flaunts a grand total of 32 tracks. However, this CD was designed for the short attention span, as the majority of the songs are only around 2 minutes long.

“Let It Happen” also boasts some extremely thought-provoking lyrics that surprised and intrigued me. For example, on the track “Thoughts and Ideas,” vocalist Mike Herrera delves into the philosophical realm, imploring the listener to “take the time to reflect/the status quo before you reject/the opportunities given to you.”

Although some of the lyrical content can be construed as deep and highly intellectual, some songs retain the pure silliness that makes much of pop punk so popular; the track “Elvis Is Dead” speaks from the point of view of someone who is apparently haunted by visions of The King’s spectre, and subsequently struggles with his own sanity.

The one drawback that can be seen in “Let It Happen” is a possible lack of variety. Many of the songs seem to blend into one another a bit too much, to the point of obscuring any semblance of individuality amongst the tracks.

The DVD that accompanies “Let It Happen” is a great addition to an already impressive album. It includes 12 music videos that span their entire career, ranging from cheap videos that look more like home movies (“Doing Time,” “Punk Rawk Show”) to concept videos like “Chick Magnet,” which depicts the decidedly milquetoast drummer, Yuri Ruley, as an ultra-suave ladies’ man (who later makes a cameo in the video for “I’m OK, You’re OK”), and “Responsibility,” featuring “Cheers” alum George Wendt.

All in all, the deluxe edition of “Let It Happen” is definitely worth having. Whether you’re a diehard MxPx fan, or a brand new listener such as myself, the disc delivers on several different fronts and will have its tunes stuck in your head for weeks to come.

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