Before Everything (A&M)

MxPx 

Before Everything (A&M)

Is MxPx peeved that its pop-punk pogo, perfected when many current emo heartthrobs still thought girls had cooties, became commercially viable thanks to bands it influenced? All signs point to yes on Everything, which oozes with "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" attitude. The album includes slower tempos; slicker, Top 40 production; a big, dumb ode to fame ("Kings of Hollywood"); and almost as many guest stars (the Ataris' Kris Roe, Good Charlotte's Benji Madden, New Found Glory's Jordan Pundik) as a P-Diddy song. MxPx seems to be giving mainstream superstardom the old college try. Still, the Bremerton, Washington, trio hasn't gone soft. As always, the hooks stick around with the permanence of insects caught in amber. Lovey-dovey lyrics abound, along with the occasional wicked curveball. ("Don't Walk Away," with chunky, new-wave piano and ringing guitars, sounds like U2.) But when "Play It Loud" ends in an organ oscillation like the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," it sounds less like a coincidence than like a declaration that Everything is aiming for TRL gold.

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