Next in our series of “Classic Christian Albums” is an MxPx masterpiece. “Life in General” was the crowning achievement for Christian punk, in my humble (but very correct) opinion. MxPx owns the title as kings of Christian punk and this album is their zenith.
My earliest memories of anything related to MxPx were browsing through my local Christian Bookstore when I was only 13. I had a pretty rad Christian Bookstore that would let you sample CDs in little listening booths with CD players. They also had an aisle of the craziest assortment of uber-underground metal, hardcore, punk and ska CDs. I don’t know who was stocking that place, but I guarantee there’s nothing like that stocked in any modern Lifeway or Family Christian Store (for a taste, I remember being horrified over and over to see this Metanoia album cover on the shelf).
I would browse through this assortment of wild album covers and terrible production (remember when Facedown bands had awful recordings?). And then it would happen. The crazy cover of Life in General would pop up. Wow. I would stand there and just stare at it for minutes. It was so unlike anything I’d ever seen. At the time (I wasn’t into heavy music yet, just enjoyed being wowed by how off-the-wall these bands were) I even questioned how this band was considered Christian, haha. It was simultaneously the most exciting album art I could have ever looked at and the most “wrong” album cover I could look at. It made me feel cool just to hold it and know it existed. Even though I could’ve sampled it, I didn’t for several visits because I knew I wouldn’t understand it.
So there’s my story of awe surrounding this title, even predating my opportunity to actually hear the album. The rest is history, as they say. I heard it a few months later, was fascinated by the speed and rebellion of it and fell in love with every aspect of it. My story isn’t unique. I bet Brandon has a very similar story about this album or another MxPx album chronologically near it.
This album is harder to talk about objectively because its coolness is inherent in its attitude. Yeah, the songs are awesome. Yuri’s drumming is so fast, even now. Mike’s voice is gravel gold. Tom is… well Tom is there somehow (I actually heard a rumor that Mike played most of the guitars on the album because Tom wasn’t that good yet). The production is great, the cover art is already stated as being transcendent and the lyrics are full of angst and rebellion and questions. If you like punk at all, you gotta just spend some time with this one. 17 tracks of sweet, sweet, grimy, energetic punk. Do it.