Retro-Review: Marcy Playground Self-Titled Album


Marcy Playground is probably (in my humble opinion) the single most underrated and unrecognized rock band from the ’90s. Their self-titled album debuted in 1997 and it’s first single “Sex and Candy” spent 15 weeks at #1 and managed to generate two other singles called “St. Joe on the Schoolbus” and “Sherry Frazier”. Despite the album’s platinum status Marcy Playground is now mostly a forgotten band remembered almost exclusively by the success of “Sex and Candy” which is an unfortunate fact because they really are one of the greatest bands around. You just don’t know it.



My single favorite thing about the album is it’s immense diversity. Members John Wozniak (Guitar, Vocals), Dylan Keefe (Bass, Back-ups) and Dan Reiser (Drums, Back-ups/no longer with the band) pulled off a huge variation of sounds ranging from modern-folk to psychadelic to hard rock, and they pulled it off well. Extremely well.

Despite having a very diverse sound, it’s all mellow and soothing yet still extremely blissful. John Wozniak’s lax vocals complement his creative lyrics perfectly. And the lyrics are another great thing about the album. “Poppies” for instance tells the story of how opium came to be. “St. Joe” tells about John’s wistful childhood. One of my personal favorites, “One More Suicide” tells a depressing tale of love gone horribly wrong.

Usually, when doing album reviews I talk about the good and bad songs. The thing is, I’ve looked with a very critical eye and still can’t find any bad songs on the album. “Opium” is probably the least impressive song but that’s about it. And the only thing that really keeps it from being as great as every other song on the album is it’s overly lethargic sound and the overall depressing mood it presents listeners. Even so, it’s a great song.

Of all the other songs on the album, my personal favorites are “Ancient Walls of Flowers”, “A Cloak of Elvenkind”, “Sherry Frasier”, “One More Suicide”, “Dog and his Master”, and of course the album’s most popular hit “Sex and Candy”. The latter-most listed, “Sex and Candy”, was easily the album’s strongest hit but some of the others listed are way better, just not as recognized.

Track List:

  1. Poppies
  2. Sex and Candy
  3. Ancient Walls of Flowers
  4. Saint Joe on the Schoolbus
  5. A Cloak of Elvenkind
  6. Sherry Frasier
  7. Gone Crazy
  8. Opium
  9. One More Suicide
  10. Dog and his Master
  11. The Shadow of Seattle
  12. The Vampires of New York

Final Words:

Marcy Playground’s debut self-titled album is a great gem that deserves a listen from anyone who grew up in the ’90s. It’s one of my favorite albums and has been for several years. Marcy Playground’s music has a timeless quality that’s sure to please just about anyone even today, ten years after it’s release. Check it out.


Overall: 9.3/10 (Amazing)

Lyrics: 9.5/10 (Inspirational, clever, and from the heart)
Music: 9.5/10 (Smooth and calm, yet invigorating at the same time)
Entertainment Value: 9.0/10 (It’s ten years old, and I still find it to be fresh and unique)

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12 thoughts on “Retro-Review: Marcy Playground Self-Titled Album

  1. I love Marcy Playground. Always have, since way back in the day. Shapeshifter is my favorite album, but this one is really good too. You excited for the new albums coming out?

  2. Pingback: Retro-Review: Marcy Playground Self-Titled Album « Everyview |

  3. This seriously is a grrrrrreat band that not enough people listen to. I’ve actually seen then live back in ’99. Their show was as mellow as some of their music, which made it kinda boring, but I love ’em anyway.

  4. You know what’s funny about this is that when the song Sex and Candy came out, I didn’t like it. Years later, when my friend, who, at the time, drove to college with me burned a 90s alternative cd, which spawned in me a hatred for that genre only overshadowed by my distaste for Lettuce. But I ended up liking Sex and Candy.

  5. I completely agree. Best band ever. I love these guys so much and listen to them almost non-stop.

  6. Pingback: Everyview » Blog Archive » [CD Review] Marcy Playground “Shapeshifter”

  7. I never really paid close attention to this post, but upon further inspection, you are good, your penning style is admirable and there is no question that it was cammendable of you to address this topic with such grace! No wonder people love you so much!

  8. couldn’t agree more and they r still putting out great albums.Very good review also.

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