Album Reviews

King Dork Approximately
Monday, October 3, 2016 - 21:35
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- by Nate Hennon

Nearly 20 years ago, I went to my first punk show. I didn't know what to expect, but I knew that it was going to be an experience. That experience was The Mr. T Experience (lame I know, but hear me out). I never heard of them before this event, but the college crowd loved them.  Maybe the crowd was nostalgic for their high school days, or maybe they missed that first crush, either way, the crowd's energy was infectious. This experience helped solidify my love of all things pop-punk and cemented my fondness for Dr. Frank's work.

Even though MTX has not made much music recently, it doesn't mean Dr. Frank has not been busy. For the last decade, Dr. Frank has pivoted his songwriting skills towards the Young Adult novelist world. Just like his songs, the characters in his King Dork series are high school misfits seeking love, approval, and acceptance while sticking to their rock & roll ethos. While Dr. Frank's songwriting tends to be light and witty, his books dive deep into the darker recesses of the adolescent mind. Without compromising his innate ability to turn-a-phrase and to keep a long-running joke vibrant after it's numerous iterations (the main characters come up with crazy bands names frequently in both King Dork books).

Previously, Dr. Frank's two lives did not converge. But, MTX's first album in 12 years, titled "King Dork Approximately the Album," bridged this gap. This album does not just provide a rehashed version of old MTX tunes and tropes. MTX expands their musicality beyond just 'another song about a girl'. For instance, "O'Brien's Tryin' to Learn to Talk Hawaiin" is a ridiculous song used as a plot point in the novel, but this track is a catchy-fingerpicking tune with some silly lyrics not seen in other MTX work.

Being that I read the King Dork series before listening to this album I cannot judge this album on its own, yet that is not the point. Acting as a companion piece to the novel of the same name, KDATA is full of inside jokes and references that create a more immersive experience for both readers and listeners. If you find yourself a fan of Dr. Frank's novels, then you will love this album. If you find yourself enjoying MTX, then do yourself a favor and read King Dork (1 & 2).

On the other hand, if you have never heard of MTX or Dr. Frank, then why did you read this entire review? Go read a book or listen to some music instead of reading the ramblings of a mediocre music critic trying to express his views on nostalgia and his youth. Yeah, that took an odd turn.


Track listing:

  1. Cinthya (with a Y)
  2. Sadistic Masochism
  3. King Dork Approximately
  4. Still not Done Loving You Mama
  5. O'Brien Is Tryin' to Learn to Talk Hawaiian
  6. Gooey Glasses
  7. High School Is the Penalty for Transgressions Yet to Be Specified
  8. Thinking of Suicide?
  9. I Wanna Ramone You
  10. Robot Rag
  11. King Dork Redux
  12. Down with the Universe