Sound: If you think that the latest MxPx release sounds familiar, you would be correct. But Let It Happen is being re-released as a deluxe edition this time around, complete with a bonus DVD, 3 new songs, and a few unreleased demos of previous hits. While the majority of material on Let It Happen will be nothing new to fans of MxPx, the deluxe edition does provide listeners a chance to hear some new material before the band's next full-length release.
Probably the best aspect about both the 1998 Let It Happen and the latest version is its focus on the band's harder-edged material. While MxPx (vocalist/bassist Mike Herrera, guitarist Tom Wisniewski, and drummer Yuri Ruley) has always had a nice melodic undertone, the earlier songs definitely were rawer and sounded more like classic punk. The band is at its best in songs like Suggestion Box and Can't See Not Saying, which both feature a more straightforward punk feel. Suggestion Box also features some fantastic changes in the tempo of the song, making it one of the album's most interesting listens.
Another highlight comes with the covers that MxPx performs, Oh, Donna (a Ritchie Valens hit) and Sick Boy (originally done by Social Distortion). The best pick of the two is Oh, Donna, which the band completely transforms into a new song. While there are moments when the band uses a slower tempo that sounds quite similar to the Valens' version, most of the time you would be hard-pressed to even think this wasn't their song to begin with. Sick Boy is done competently and brought up-tempo just a tad. While Social Distortion vocalist Mike Ness delivers gruff vocals that make the lyrics a tad more believable, MxPx do a pretty solid version as well.
As far as the new additions to Let It Happen, it is actually the 3 bonus demos and not the new songs that deserve the spotlight. While the new songs have a more pop feel to them, the original demos Twisted Words, Suggestion Box, and Too Much Thinking are more pure punk and feature plenty of memorable guitar and percussion work. The DVD features 12 videos and no other bonuses, but hardcore MxPx will probably be content to have those finally in their home library of DVDs. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics for plenty of the songs are likely to stand out to listeners on Let It Happen, and a few go beyond the traditional lyrical format as well. A good example would be Twisted Words, which takes an observatory stance and is never really separated by choruses or verses. Herrera sings, Have you ever noticed; How people twist the; Words that you have said; To them funny how these; Things occur taking it; Literally all the thins. It's an odd format, but that's part of the reason why it's one of the best tracks on the CD.
There are several songs that incorporate what you might expect to hear in love songs, and that might turn off more hardcore punk listeners. However, Herrera does deserve credit for having the guts to wear his heart on his sleeve. In Swing Set Girl he sings, I know those kinda girls don't go for guys like me; So I guess I haven't got a lot to lose; But I just can't help wondering; What's she gonna say to me. Sentimental lyrics won't come as a surprise to any MxPx fans, particularly considering most of the songs have already been out for nearly a decade now. // 8
Overall Impression: While the majority of the material on Let It Happen will be a familiar listen to many, the additional videos do make it feel like it's actually a DVD release. The DVD portion is limited to basic music videos and doesn't feature interviews, but the band released B-Movie a few years back and it covered the documentary part already.
The music portion is a fun listen, particularly if you still hold a spot in your heart for MxPx's older material. The new song Prozac is a pretty fun song and you might be humming it for a long time after hearing it, which is a plus in plenty of people's minds. If there's one thing that the band is best known for, it's the ability to continuously releasing material to keep the fans happy. The deluxe edition of Let It Happen might not be a new experience to some listeners, but it does provide enough little extras to entertain fans. // 8