101. Life In General – MxPx
LIFE IN GENERAL (1996)
Christian music’s best and most prolific punk band created their magnum opus of sort with 1996’s “Life in General.” The last album directly for the Christian market for Tooth and Nail records before signing a major label deal with A&M, the band wrote and recorded 17 killer pop punk tunes that continued the bands earlier look at life growing up, this time a little more mature.
The album would also be the one that took them from a west coast phenom to a national spotlighted band with an ever growing following. Never a band with blatantly Christian lyrics, the album continues discussions about girls, God and being a rock star. But it would be the tongue firmly planted in cheek ode to the “cool dude” that would make the band a household name.
The song, and hilarious accompanying video for “Chick Magnet” remains one of the best tunes the band ever recorded and the best video by any Christian punk band. The “nerdy” drummer Yuri plays the suave and debonair chick magnet with cool and panache, using every table top magic trick a 17 year old knows. Brilliant and hysterical.
Move to Bremerton showed a maturity in musical direction and vocal harmony. If there was any justice in 1996 the song would have been a huge radio hit. It had everything Green Day offered, including an unforgettable hook. I was living in Gig harbor, WA at the time and remember the cool factor the song gave to the little Northwest town.
As a whole the album is a bit less frenetic than it’s predecessors. This is possibly due to the maturity in songwriting and a more creative musical approach. Don’t misunderstand here, the 17 songs still clock in at under 45 minutes, so there are no Stairway to heaven’s here, but rather a more classic pop sound infused into the aggressive punk sounds.
The band still creates great music and is just a viable today as in any time in their career. Life in general was just a perfect record for the time and one that will still sound cool, fresh and fun in another 15 years.