In the early 90's, punk rock had nearly lost its edge, that was until bands like Green Day, Blink 182, and MxPx had emerged with a new wave of punk, entitled "pop/punk." This meant that the so-called "punk" attitude was still constant with the gathered masses, but it also entailed that the music would contain pop-like sensibilities while being more speed-driven. After a musical barrage of new punk flavor with Pokinatcha, MxPx continued their same musical style, but with a maturer and more serious approach to songwriting with their sophomore effort Teenage Politics.
Lyrically, the album contains several tracks that touch on more political-based values and sociology, which forced several fans to turn away from their music, while gaining a whole new crowd of fans. Coincidentally, the band was also anything but short on inflicting their spirituality as well. In "Like Sand Thru the Hourglass... So are the Days of our lives," Mike Herrera proudly boasts "I see my destroyed world in front of me. Any and everything I trusted, I weep for my world disgusted. But I look to you, Jesus yes I do, and I trust in You." More God-centered lyrics permeate tracks like "I'm The Bad Guy," "Opposite of Intellect" (which portrays an example of 2 Timothy 4:12), and "Something More," all while containing power-soaked vocal chords, grinding guitar riffs, and supersonic drum rhythms. However, there are songs that also express oblivious political themes, with words like "Believing the lies defines American, they don't realize their ignorance and sin" ("Democracy") and "Is it time again to disagree, about anything and everything and what's on TV; it's a vicious circle, never-ending, a linear equation worldly extending" ("Teenage Politics").
Unfortunately, MxPx's disgust with the United States government is not over yet as Mike sings in the song "Americanism," "Why aren't we against them, cause we know that they are wrong, we're the biggest faction, and they've had control too long." The aforementioned song also contains brutal lyrics like "Would you die for your country, false freedom and liberty... Americanism, nationalism, bow to the flagism! Militaristic, egotistic, high class and capitalistic." It is understandable that our nation is not the same as it was decades of years ago, but it seems rather awkward that a band who called themselves Christians would be so gutsy as to be Anti-Patriotic towards a land that has more freedom than many may ever know.
Despite the flames and criticism that the album received due to the overall message it sent to more than a few individuals, Teenage Politics brought forth the pivotal single and music video "Punk Rawk Show" (which became the first video by a Christian punk band to be played on MTV) and propelled MxPx into the mainstream as they gained notoriety through several video networks and numerous rock music-related publications. In a world where punk rock's original origins were rooted in revolt, aggression, and rebellion, it's always a relief to know that there are mainstream bands like MxPx and even Relient K who can keep a devoted faith in God while producing quality music.- Review date: 12/4/05, written by Paul Portell
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