Since their inception in 1992 as Magnified Plaid, MxPx members Mike Herrera, Tom Wisneiwski (who joined in 1995), and Yuri Ruley have made a lot of music. They have also gone on to become one of the most successful artists in the history of Christian music, smoothly making the crossover into the mainstream, setting the standard for what punk music is today. While this is quite an accomplishment just for the sheer number of songs that they've created, it is more amazing to think of the number of songs that MxPx created for each album, but didn't release. Most artists prepare an excess of 20 songs per album and then pick the ones that fit the best together for the final product. The remaining songs are called B-sides, and this is what MxPx's Let's Rock is all about.
The songs found on Let's Rock are a celebration of MxPx's work for the past few years. As the B-sides of some of their most recent studio albums, Panic, Before Everything and After, and The Ever Passing Moment, the material on Let's Rock seems like a re-release of these albums, but this time under a different name. In fact, all of the songs here easily could have been on any of those albums and fit in well. That said, the quality of the songs on Let's Rock is at least as high as the ones previously released so if you liked those albums then you will like this one too. It really is easy to sing along to each song just as the band wants you to. Acoustic tracks even help round out the mix, providing a perfect example of the lesser known side of MxPx's career to date.
Unfortunately, however, Let's Rock helps bring to light an issue that could be considered one of the main problems that MxPx has had for a while. For the most part, there just seems to be no growth between each album. Let's Rock is a really great collection songs, but knowing that they are from different albums and listening to them and hearing them sound the same just is not good at all. Is at least a little progression between albums too much to ask for? Perhaps it is, and if that's the case, it's fortunate that MxPx is still able to deliver in each song regardless of their similar nature. As a seasoned band with a large fan base, MxPx will experience success with whatever they do, though. This is why they should experiment a little bit with their next album, as they have room to just sit back and see what happens. For now though, old fans and new fans alike have Let's Rock.
All of the songs on this album are great, just not incredibly original. Fortunately for MxPx, their consistent quality overshadows their lack of innovation which would ordinarily be a deterrent. Out of the 12 tracks, "Breathe Deep" and "Where Did you Go?" deserve the most recognition. "Breathe Deep," a pop anthem about death is really just fun to listen to. Not only is it catchy, but it really touches on a subject that most people won't dare to think about, even though it will come regardless. In a similar way, "Where Did You Go?" is also about a loss, this time of a girlfriend. Breakups are often the topic of MxPx songs, but "Where Did you Go?" just seems to do it right, choosing a slow tempo and a piano (during the chorus) to express how they feel. Once again, as in typical MxPx fashion, most of the record lacks spirituality, yet often a Christian perspective is taken like in songs such as "1 and 3" where "it's time we looked around to see what's going on" could relate to a broken relationship or the sin-consumed world around us. Still, it would be dishonest to say that most of these songs could be taken either way (spiritually or in a relationship sense) because lines like "No I'm not mad about you, just a little sad without you, I know it's mostly all my fault," from "Don't Forget Me (When you're Gone)" can never be stretched into spiritual terms.
Listeners probably already know what to expect out of Let's Rock if they are familiar with MxPx's career. Basically, if you go into this latest collection expecting more of the same old, "rock"-solid tunes, then you will be incredibly pleased. Still, while the previously unreleased and rare songs on Let's Rock are an important and fascinating part of MxPx history, they are nothing new.- Review date: 11/14/06, written by Flip Choquette
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