After spending the last year and change filling in the holes in the MxPx discography from when I last was an active fan with 2000’s The Ever Passing Moment, I have arrived at the final full album I was missing, Plans within Plans. I still have a couple EPs to buy, but this will probably be the last MxPx album review I write until they release their next album. As we went through the discography we saw the band evolve a bit and, either under label pressure or from wanting to explore musically, seem to veer into the territory of bands like My Chemical Romance and Panic! At the Disco. Plans Within Plans is MxPx finally coming full circle towards their original sound while also having evolved since their early albums. To me, this album sounds like MxPx just being MxPx, not sounding like any other band. They’ve learned and grown and both the music and lyrics reflect that, but they’ve come to appreciate who they really are as a band. This was one of those albums that took a few listens for me to truly appreciate. Onto the tracks.
- Aces Up – The chorus is what really makes this song for me, especially: “Life don’t just deal aces, you may have to bluff some times”. Essentially about how we have to soldier on through life sometimes, but the rocking track makes it an easier listen than it might be in another band’s hands.
- Screw Loose – The only song on this album I’m not a fan of. MxPx seems to have one of these hard rock, almost screamo, songs every other album or so and I never enjoy them.
- Nothing Left – The song seems to be about a relationship the singer has let lie fallow or maybe they had a falling out and it was the singer’s fault. It’s quite abstract and hard to tell for sure.
- The Times – A song about taking the reigns to make yourself happy.
- In the Past – Essentially a song about working oneself up with the knowledge that the bad stuff is in the past, don’t dwell on it.
- Best of Times – Naturally, as the members of MxPx have grown older (they’re currently in their mid-40s) some of their songs have focused a bit on reminiscing about the past. (Culminated currently with Let’s Ride on 2018’s MxPx)
- Stay on Your Feet – I feel like this song takes the same themes of In the Past and does a better job of expressing them.
- Lucky Guy – This is my favorite song on the album. It’s a song about how the singer really appreciates his girlfriend and knows he’s not some amazing person that anyone would want.
- Far Away – In this somewhat somber album (overall, not every song) this one has the singer admitting that life is tough, but that they and the person they’re singing to (a friend? A girlfriend?) can work through life better together.
- Cast Down My Heart – A break-up song. There seems to be an average of one every other album.
- When It Comes To You – Seems to be a companion song to the previous one with the singer asking for their heart back since their girlfriend seems to have moved on.
- Inside Out – On the other side of things, this song has the singer asking either a friend or girlfriend to open up to them and share themselves fully. (lyrics: I wanna see your insides on the out/ I wanna know the things you think about)
- Nothing’s Gonna Change – Almost the punk version of a self-affirmation – the singer telling someone (or themselves) that they need to change in the way they want and not allow themselves to be defined by others.
Sonically and lyrically, this album is more or less right down the middle of the MxPx discography. It has neither the greatest nor smallest number of songs I enjoy. After releasing an LP every other year since the early 1990s, this wasn’t a bad place to leave things until the 2018 Kickstartered album. That said, I really liked 2018’s MxPx and would love to see the bad return to a more frequent release schedule (although I know that COVID has probably messed with that a bit since they didn’t get to tour as much as they would have wanted before COVID struck).