Come Back Marcy Playground, All Is Forgiven!

Actually it's US who should be apologizing to YOU.

Like many of you, I've long held Marcy Playground at arm's length because of my ambivalence toward their giant hit from 1997, "Sex And Candy".  My distrust of them stems from the fact that I still can't tell if someone is having a larf at my expense.  Why would THIS song be such a radio smash?  I just don't get it.

Was some radio programmer who was just given notice by the station decide he was gonna fuck with everybody his last couple weeks on the job?  I mean, if anything, "Poppies" seems like the song modern rock radio would have gone ga-ga for love at radio and it's got a Cracker-meets-Spacehog quality to it that should have made it a no-brainer at back in '97.

Instead, the slacker jam "Sex And Candy" got plucked from the bunch and was one of those hits that does more harm than good to the band in question.  That one song that is just beaten into us that we begrudgingly embrace, but only under the condition that we get to outright ignore anything they do hereafter that does not sound like "Sex And Candy".

So one night I got stoned and decided I was gonna listen to the album.  My initial response after first listen is that this is a really great band that would have probably had one helluva career if not for "that damn song".
Don't believe me?  Pull up the album on your favorite streaming music service and listen to "Gone Crazy".

Do you hear that?  Wouldn't you rather pay $125 to sit on the lawn at Poplar Creek and listen to this instead of fucking Foo Fighters?  And that's coming after four, count 'em, FOUR completely bad-ass slacker jams with some swang to 'em.

I thought for sure following "Sex And Candy" with third single "Saint Joe On The School Bus" was the right move, as it's in the same stylistic ballpark but also has a little more going on.

I'll be the first to admit that I couldn't imagine a song called "A Cloak of Elvenkind" being even remotely listenable, but darn it if they didn't borrow liberally from "Across The Universe" to prove me wrong.  Maybe THAT was the song they should have picked.  After all, it's pretty fucking hooky and ethereal and I'd rather hear this a million times that that infernal Donna Lewis tune "I Love You Always Forever".  ARGH, GET IT OUT OF MY HEAD!!

But nooooo, it seems Capitol's ability to get radio to play any other song than "Sex and Candy".  I mean, even to this day, if there's a modern rock station in your town, they STILL play that song 25 years later.
And most folks who find themselves tapping along on their steering wheels even know that the band continues to make new music to this day.  I was as surprised as you will be to know that their last studio album was 2012's Lunch, Recess and Detention - and they're still on Capitol Records, aka "the label that dropped the Knack after three albums", just sayin'.

There's a certain comfort factor to John Wozniak's voice that really starts to sink in around the album's eighth tune, "Opium".  This is where Nirvana would have gone and they'd have been hailed as geniuses.  I'd rather listen to Wozniak hit notes than Cobain force his "whoa is me" ache upon us.

I say this without knowing that the next song is called "One More Suicide" and Woz does a spot-on Kurt impersonation, the only difference being that Wozniak's voice doesn't make you wanna clear your throat when you hear it.

"Dog And His Master"...kinda reminds of Deep Blue Something for some reason.  I know if they'd played this song on the radio as much as whatever that Deep Blue Something song was (I've blissfully forgotten, do NOT remind me), I'd hate Marcy Playground with a white hot passion.

"The Shadow Of Seattle" begins with a single strummed acoustic that is either the worst acoustic track ever recorded or a brilliant Pro Toolsian concoction that, the more I hear it, sits perfectly within the track.  The tune itself is cool enough, nothing special, but may be one you might wanna skip on a long cross-country road trip if your trying to stay awake.

The low-key "The Vampires Of New York" is one of those songs that, like it or not, should be sung by an entire arena of adoring fans all swaying in unison to one of the most beloved bands of the last three decades closing out yet another sold-out headline show, but nooooooooooo.  Instead, they're bottom-of-the-bill on this year's Summerland package tour with Eerclear (the headliners, can you believe it?), Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, and it.  If that's not bad enough,  turns out there isn't even ONE SINGLE CLIP of the band performing "Vampires" live.  Is that the kind of universe we're stuck in?

I almost wonder if Wozniak, upon completing the writing of that song, thought to himself There's the song that will kill the recording career that it gives me.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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