EMI Music, México
by Enrique Coyotzi
PXNDX is one of those bands that, mostly for worse, continue to build a solid legacy within a certain sector of listeners who is generally poisoned by MTV's limited music content and Los 40 Principales' brain-killing programming. The band’s main audience, during 2005 and their release of their official jump into the mainstream, Para ti con desprecio, principally consisted of the new wave of emos–a fleeting fashion pioneered by the likes of 30 Seconds to Mars, My Chemical Romance, amongst other horrors. Even though they were accused of plagiarizing some of these bands, PXNDX adepts grew even bigger, somehow finding meaning in their inoffensive punk rocky tunes, whining lyrics, and lead singer José Madero’s raspy and occasionally emotional singing.
It’s been a while since that trend disappeared for good and since Para ti con desprecio (which, alright, still has a pair of okay tracks) came out. Afterward, PXNDX went from moderately ingenious to blatantly predictable and irreparably mediocre, while their followers seemed to remain the same: forever depressed, with a perpetual apathy toward life, just minus the emo tag and haircut (and there are persons worried about the supposed “Generación Zoé”? Take a look at these guys, people). Last time we knew about the Monterrey natives, they had recorded an unnecessary MTV Unplugged, which managed to be even more unnecessary than the live album they had previously released. Following that disaster, they return with their sixth studio album, Bonanza, an absolutely uninspired catastrophe which basically feeds the listener more of the same pop punk, plastic tunes they’ve built their name on. But this time around with lyrics that go from abundantly lame verses to cringe-worthy metaphors. This obviously doesn’t mean PXNDX has ever been good, but, as time has proven, the horrors that envelop Bonanza simply culminate into what Carlos Reyes had smartly predicted: they’ve finally become the punk Maná.
Re-repeating themselves instead of giving a chance to reinvention, PXNDX offends with a collection of 13 songs we've already heard, either from their own not-so-genuine authorship or from countless groups that could be mentioned. And there’s no problem with borrowing ideas from other sources, but there is with being a copycat, and these guys have succeeded at that, even becoming a parody of themselves. First single “Envejecido en barril de roble” has to be one of the most uninspiring songs about alcoholism ever written, a real offender to magnanimous pieces of art that deal toughly with this issue like Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars” or popular folk theme "The Moonshiner." “Latidos bombean alcohol con tal presión,” sings Madero in an entirely unmoving manner. You’d think he just assembled some ideas from a La Rosa de Guadalupe episode to manufacture this cliched trash that could maybe pass as an average Green Day piece.
Best moments on the record come when other band members step in and save Pepe’s well-known vocal tricks and groans, somehow reinforcing the mess with heartfelt choruses, like in acceptable-yet-stupid tunes like “Pensándolo bien, pensándolo mal” or generic opener “Huésped en casa propia.” Titles like “Romance en re sostenido” y “Las mil y un camas” try so hard to be smart, but are instead painfully obvious. Listening to them turns out to be insulting, like when you know what a terrible joke’s conclusion will be before it's even over. And it gets worse as it progresses. For a record that lasts 50 minutes, PXNDX evidently administered the most rentable tracks for the first part (kudos to “Color negro pasión,” the only memorable and slightly touching thing out of this fiasco) and reserved the most yawn-inducing numbers and intolerable garbage for the second half. “Bella en mi cabeza para siempre” sounds like something Allison would’ve popularized, “Ilusión, oh iliusión” is some cheesy crapfest that resembles Camila going punk pop (please, never let that happen), and hideous closer “La vida en el barandal” begs for this shit to come to an end already.
It’s funny. In the press conference surrounding the release of the album, Madero explained how the group wanted to go back to their raw origins with Bonanza, which they never really did. Firstly, because they have never been hardcore, like, at all. And secondly, because this record feels so clean and harmless, you’d have to think he wasn’t being serious when he emitted that thought. He also states how PXNDX doesn't mean to transmit a message, and you have to give him credit for admitting it. They absolutely don't, and we're lucky for that. After the total embarrassment that Bonanza is, you can’t help but lament that these dudes are still taken seriously. But if Maná is, why can't PXNDX be part of the club? Long live rock and roll.