Five years would come and go before Marcy Playground would release a follow-up effort to their 1999 album, “Shapeshifter.” Marcy Playground’s 3rd studio album, titled “MP3,” was highly anticipated by fans, despite the fact that the band would not deliver a tour to support or hype the album’s release. Couple that with the fact that there was virtually no radio air time for any of the four released singles and it’s easy to see why this album is almost virtually unknown to anyone who isn’t a die-hard Marcy fan.
“MP3” delivered a radical evolution in the band’s overall sound when it was released. The quirky, mellow, often psychedelic acoustic rock with the occasional children’s song undertone was replaced with an almost entirely electric, far more poppy sound with a hint of punk rock or grunge.
While that may sound like a drastic change on paper, when you listen to and compare the albums the change feels natural. This is because lead singer John Wozniak’s voice is an extremely versatile tool he uses to present every song with a unique feel.
Aside from simply becoming more aggressive in sound, the music gains new layers of depth in “MP3.” More instruments such as beautifully composed piano and stringed instrument sections are incorporated more often to give songs a more melodic and higher quality feel than we heard in previous efforts. Guitar solos are another thing rarely heard in past Marcy songs, and they are definitely a welcome addition. These additions give “MP3” a much more professional sound and a higher quality than is found in the previous releases.
The thing that is definitely missed, however, is the mellow charm and vast diversity found in the other two albums. The entire album has a set style that can be easily recognized as American Rock with undertones of punk or post-grunge. The thing that made me fall in love with Marcy Playground was their ability to mash genres together and contain a vast amount of styles into a single album, all while being easily distinguishable from any other band. All tracks have their own personalities at least, which is something Wozniak has always been able to accomplish with his songwriting.
The four singles the album spawned were “Deadly Handsome Man,” “Punk Rock Superstar,” “No One’s Boy,” and “Blood in Alphabet Soup.” Some people may have heard “Deadly Handome Man” from it’s role in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” under it’s original name of “The Devil’s Song.” But arguably to most popular song on the album was “Punk Rock Superstar,” which was featured on the re-released Xbox 360’s playlist.
- Blood in Alphabet Soup
- No One’s Boy
- Hotter than the Sun
- Rock and Roll Heroes(+)
- Jesse Went to War
- Flag and Finger(+)
- Deadly Handsome Man (+)
- Punk Rock Superstar
- Paper Dolls (+)
- Death of a Cheerleader (+)
- Brand New Day (+)
- Sleepy Eyes
All-in-all, Marcy Playground’s third album is definitely it’s own creature. It defied the mold that was previously crafted by the band and presented its own unique sound and style. It carried no successful singles and failed to outsell either of the band’s previous albums, but it is nothing short of a successful effort in the eyes of those who know it exists.
And if you’ve never heard of this album but plan on picking up “Leaving Wonderland… In a Fit of Rage” then you are in luck. For a limited time, anyone who buys the band’s highly anticipated fourth album will recieve a free download of “MP3,” which is awesome. Two great albums for the price of one!
Score: 8.9/10 (Amazing)
Lyrics: 9.0/10 (Amazing)
Music: 8.75/10 (Great)
Entertainment Value: 9.0/10 (14 tracks and one hidden track… which is just a bad joke. Literally)