“Let It Happen”
Tooth & Nail Records
Tooth & Nail’s reissue of MxPx’s 1998 rarities collection “Let It Happen,” this time loaded with extra features, isn’t exactly doing the works for something dusty yet. But there is important symbolism here.
Both band and label rose at relatively the same time in the Pacific Northwest during the grunge revolution. MxPx came up at a time when punk made its way from skateboard circles to malls, and Tooth & Nail was right there for the ride. The imprint released the group’s 1994 debut “Pokinatcha.” Two studio albums later and the first “Let It Happen” album, MxPx signed with A&M Records. Now, 13 years after their debut, the partners have come full circle.
With all its extras, “Let It Happen” is a gargantuan punk album. Most of the songs, recorded when the trio was fresh out of high school, follow the tried and true formula of punchy, wrist-snapping strums and one- and two-part harmonies, sometimes alternating speeds. Tracks like “Never Learn” are good, catchy and expeditious. Before punk took on more of a pop polish, MxPx showed they weren’t afraid to get raw with gritty cuts like “Small Town Minds.” Other times, specifically on “Can’t See Not Saying” and “Easier Said Than Done,” they ventured into hardcore. A cover of Ritchie Valens’ “Oh Donna” and a riffing “Smoke on the Water” show their humorous side.
Three new songs open the 32-track CD. One of them, “Prozac,” proves MxPx to be as whipsmart as ever. It’s nice to see some people never grow up. Other new features include original demo recordings and a DVD containing every music video they ever produced. The CD jacket is comprised of rare and revealing photos of MxPx from their humble beginnings to the present day.
Even after almost a generation worth of music, the newest versus oldest material on “Let It Happen” reveals not much has changed. For most fans, that’s good news.
More importantly, though, the album is a celebration of two institutions that have endured in a fickle environment.