X – More Fun In the New World

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 3)

I am not sure why it is that I have the original release of this and not the reissue, unlike all the other X albums I own, but it offends my sense of uniformity. Ironically, this is my favorite X album and the one I would save from a very small natural disaster confined to the X section of my collection. 

What I Think of This Album

Not the best X album, but certainly the most enjoyable. Coming after the despairing Under the Big Black Sun, the band sounds relaxed and liberated, and there is no reason this album should not have been a mainstream hit. Start to finish, with one minor exception, this is thoroughly fun – never was an album title more appropriate.

“The New World” is a rollicking travelogue that doubles as a working class anthem and indictment of the Reagan years. John Doe and Exene Cervenka power their way through “We’re Having Much More Fun” while D.J. Bonebrake sounds like a train lacking all brakes. “True Love” – predictably – is the sole disappointment here; sounds a bit metal, actually. The band evokes the ‘50s with the excellent “Poor Girl,” with a heartfelt Doe vocal, while Billy Zoom toughens things up on “Make the Music Go Bang.” The cover of “Breathless” is perhaps sequenced too closely to “Poor Girl,” but whatever – the band (especially Zoom and, a distant second, Cervenka) sounds great on the Jerry Lee Lewis hit (written by Otis Blackmore, an African-American songwriter who also composed “Great Balls of Fire,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “All Shook Up,” and “Return to Sender”).

The paranoid-stoked ballad “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts” is an existential exploration of what it means to be an American – it’s not uplifting! “Devil Dog” gives Zoom ample room to show off – really, it’s the only reason this song exists, and that is a totally defensible choice. Zoom adds rockabilly flair to “Painting the Town Blue,” and “Hot House” also benefits from his work. Another and arguably stronger ballad arrives in “Drunk In my Past,” which may lack the lyrical scope of “Bad Thoughts” but is musically more compelling. A rampaging “I See Red” continues the hot streak on this record. Finally, X breaks out the funk in the eye-opening “True Love Pt. #2,” (that’s not a typo – it’s really “Pt. #”) which quotes or references more songs than your average Beastie Boys album, and adeptly and firmly links punk into the great chain of rock n’ roll. This was the final X album produced by Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, and perhaps not coincidentally, the last great X album.

The Best Thing About This Album

“Poor Girl” deserves to be much better known.

Release Date

September, 1983

The Cover Art

Mmm, no. Too busy and at the same time, boring. I really don’t appreciate how the yellow box intrudes upon the green text. That’s a crime.

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