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.
- Sex and Candy
- Ancient Walls of Flowers
- Saint Joe on the Schoolbus
- A Cloak of Elvenkind
- Sherry Frasier
- Gone Crazy
- One More Suicide
- Dog and his Master
- The Shadow of Seattle
- The Vampires of New York
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)