Marcy Playground
Marcy Playground


3.5
great

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
May 17th, 2008 | 15 replies | 5,957 views


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mary Playground's self-titled debut is a great album that exceeds its reputation.

Long forgotten by the masses that made "Sex and Candy" a huge hit in the United States – the song spent a record breaking fifteen weeks at number one on the Billboard Modern Rock charts, Marcy Playground is an obvious example of either wasted potential, bad luck or a combination of the two. I don't know, I haven't heard either of the band's follow up records, Shapeshifter or MP3. But considering the successes of Marcy Playground, artistically and commercially, one would think that the New York-based band would be able to escape the one-hit wonder tag.

Regardless, Mary Playground's self-titled debut is a great album that exceeds its reputation as the record that had "Sex and Candy". While it's certainly true that the song, a late-90s alt-rock classic in its own right, is the unchallenged standout track of the album, there is more to Marcy Playground than the hit single. "Poppies", for example is an upbeat song based around an anthemic guitar riff akin to something out of an Oasis album. The song is rather goofy lyrically, detailing a vague (and probably inaccurate) account of England's opium discovery, highlighted by lead singer John Wozniak's proclamation of "poppies!" It isn't a very serious song, but its lively sound compliments the lyrics extremely well, which makes for an appealing listen.

Marcy Playground drops the fun, bouncy sound rather quickly, however. The next song, the aforementioned "Sex and Honey", carries a much more relaxed, carefree mood than its predecessor; a sound which much better represents the both band's song writing style as well as the album's direction. Wozniak's casual vocal drawl is the band's greatest asset in songs like "Sex and Honey" and "Saint Joe on a School Bus". That isn't to discredit the infectious alt rock grooves of the latter, as they certainly play a lasting role in the album's appeal. "The Shadow of Seattle" is evidence of this. Though the song, like the majority of the record, is nearly all acoustic it has the most aggressive build, particularly during the choruses which convey more of a grunge sound than the rest of the album.

While the majority of their debut album is your standard alternative rock fair, Marcy Playground occasionally drifts from their established formula. In "One More Suicide" and "The Vampires of New York" the band adds folk rock elements to their music, particularly in the former, in which Wozniak puts on his best Neil Young impression. "Ancient Wall of Flowers" explores a bluesier sound, culminating with a clean guitar solo. It's these songs, though, that are Marcy Playground's weakest. Each of these songs have their flaws, ranging from the aggravating vocal work in "One More Suicide", to the awkward flow of "The Vampires of New York", to the alterna-blues sound in "Ancient Wall of Flowers", which just doesn't sound very good. They're catchy tracks, I'll give them that, but on an album where nearly every song is really catchy, they just don't get the job done.

As easy as it is to write off Marcy Playground for their meagre efforts over the last nine years, their self-titled album is worth listening to. At around thirty-four to thirty-five minutes, the record is quite short, but this only furthers to enhance the listen as Marcy Playground manages to pack substance into their songs while keeping things concise at the same time. It has its faults for sure, but by no means is it a poor offering. It's just too bad Marcy Playground couldn't capitalize on their success.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
theacademy
February 28th 2010



28240 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i always forget how this is the greatest album of all time

theacademy
February 28th 2010



28240 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

and i just moved its rating up .1

theacademy
February 28th 2010



28240 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

fuck yeah

EVedder27
February 28th 2010



6088 Comments


I smell sex and candy herrree

theacademy
February 28th 2010



28240 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

listening to that: right now

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2010



14986 Comments


i remember that from Now! That's What I Call Music! or whatever

theacademy
February 28th 2010



28240 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

who's that casting, disappointed glares at my erection, yea mama this surely is a dream

theacademy
February 28th 2010



28240 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ancient walls of flowers

random
July 10th 2010



2259 Comments


Sherry Fraser rules.

ratowitz
November 20th 2010



175 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sex and Honey?

Where is the mention of "Opium"?

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
September 4th 2011



9033 Comments


Sex and Candy is sooooooo good

ohfoxxxycole
September 5th 2011



4350 Comments


sex and candy came on the radio today

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
September 5th 2011



9033 Comments


Yeah, I heard it on the radio on Saturday and remembered how cool it is

random
September 11th 2011



2259 Comments


The literal version of Sex and Candy is hilarious. "I'll move my hands like I'm really dope".

Dogsmith
May 7th 2012



14 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"Sex and Honey?"



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