There is a point in every band's career when they need to sit back and reflect on their journey so far. This may happen for many different reasons, but nevertheless, it is an important stage that a successful group needs to go through in order to stay focused on why they do what they do. For MxPx, that time is now. As a band that has accomplished so much in their career, November 21st marked the release of their second B-sides and rarities collection in the period of only a month. This time, MxPx teamed up with their former label, Tooth & Nail Records, to re-release Let it Happen, a 32 song epic originally released in 1998. The album marked a new direction for the band as they worked with their old producer, industry veteran Aaron Sprinkle, and teamed up with Tooth & Nail for the re-release, despite the history of conflict between the two. Packaged with the album are 3 brand new songs, pictures from their 14 year career, and every music video that they have ever made. When an album considered "generous" these days features only 14 tracks, Let it Happen is truly a great buy.
Three new tracks entitled, "Role Remodeling," "Prozac," and "Your Turn," start the record off, serving as an appetizer to what lies ahead not only on this album, but also to the future. The same three instruments (drums, guitar, bass) in every MxPx song are still there and lead singer Mike Hererra is still singing about girls, but somehow Sprinkle has taken these three tracks and made them sound unique and fresh, despite the lack of real innovation. The first track, "Role Remodeling," is a tribute to this band is and has always been about. When Hererra calls out "We're gonna break the rules, but we don't see it as a crime, we're here to change the world and finally this is our time," there is no question about MxPx's commitment to continue to make music for years to come that their listeners will love. It is fitting then that this song, written especially for this album, be included on a record that serves as a turning point in their career. The other two are just upbeat and fun to listen to, containing themes of love and understanding.
After the first three, come the rest of the tracks, most of which are found on the original release of Let it Happen. Those who own that album will notice the exclusion of MxPx classics, such as "Move to Bremerton" and "Chick Magnet," which have been removed to make room for the new songs and original demos of "Suggestion Box," "Too Much Thinking," and "Twisted Words." Fortunately, the DVD contains both the videos for "Move to Bremerton" and "Chick Magnet," leaving them very much still part of this collection. The main problem with the old tracks though is not the quantity, which is often overwhelming, or even the length (even though most songs clock in at 2 minutes or under), but the quality. While all of these songs are mixed well, the style is not consistent with their new sound, making the newer tracks seem out of place and Hererra's vocals leaving a lot to be desired. It is clear that MxPx has improved over the years even though they have not strayed from their typical "fast-paced song about a girl" style. The fact that almost every song is about a girl is not a problem; they practically introduced that concept to today's modern punk scene. Despite the few problems, listeners will be delighted to be reminded of classics such as "Oh, Donna," "GSF (Girls Suck Forever)," and "Let it Happen," and other songs that they might not have heard since they were originally released.
While the 32 song track listing is impressive, the 14 videos included on the DVD are even more so. Tooth & Nail did a good job acquiring the rights to all of the videos produced while MxPx was on A&M and Sideonedummy, and the fact that they are included is important in getting an accurate and full view of their career. Out of all of them, "Chick Magnet" is probably the best just because drummer Yuri Ruley's attempts at getting a girl are funny in that sad kind of way that can't really be explained, just observed. "Responsibilty" is another highlight and is worth mentioning, as MxPx wreaks havoc on a golf course and treats its patrons to a concert, much to their delight.
MxPx has come so far over the years and will go even farther as they look to their past and to the future with the re-release of Let it Happen. A necessity for anyone who appreciates loud, fast, and fun music of any kind, especially in a quantity such as this, this album is an impressive addition to MxPx's already remarkable collection.- Review date: 12/23/06, written by Flip Choquette
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