lit90s

When Marcy Playground’s borderline-annoying novelty hit “Sex And Candy” was all over alternative radio in the late ’90s, spending an astounding 15 weeks at #1 on the Modern Rock Chart, I couldn’t think of a song I could possibly like less.  So imagine my shock when I not only liked a song from their second album, but that second album became one of my favorites from the ’90s.

Shapeshifter was the trio’s second album, coming two years after their self-titled debut.  While there wasn’t an out of the box smash like “Sex And Candy” to be found, the first single, “It’s Saturday,” (download) (an infectious ode to catching a venereal disease) got plenty of airplay on 91X, my then-local alt-rock station in San Diego.  In fact, I had no clue this excellent power-pop song was from what I considered an awful one-hit wonder from two years prior.  Once I found out, it still didn’t prevent me from picking up Shapeshifter, a decision I didn’t regret.

Shapeshifter is packed with hooks from top to bottom.  Highlights include the second, less successful single, “Bye Bye,” (download) a smash that should have been.  In a different world, “Bye Bye” would have erased “Sex And Candy” from everyone’s consciousness.  In reality, only 91X gave it a few perfunctory spins while the rest of the alternative nation sighed and shrugged.

The rest of the album sports an impressive range, from the power-pop singles to folkier numbers, to psychedelic ballads like the stellar “All The Lights Went Out.” (download) I highly recommend Shapeshifter if you happen to see it lying about your favorite used CD shop.  It’s been unfairly forgotten thanks to the band’s one-hit wonder status, and I think you’d be pleasantly surprised by its depth.  It’s currently out of print, but Amazon and iTunes have the whole shebang available as MP3s.

Hey, if I could get past “Sex And Candy” to give it a shot, you can, too.

“It’s Saturday” peaked at #25 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart in 1999.

Get Marcy Playground music at Amazon or on Marcy Playground

About the Author

John C. Hughes

John C. Hughes began his Lost in the ’80s blog in 2005 and is now proud to be a member of the Popdose family, where he’s introduced LIT80s’s companions, the obviously named Lost in the ’70s and Lost in the ’90s, alongside the slightly more originally named Why You Should Like…

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