MxPx frontman Mike Herrera talks about the band’s new album Plans Within Plans, out today via MRI/Rock City Recording Company.

“Aces Up”
Making mistakes is just part of life. That won't change anytime soon. But how we react and navigate through life's many corridors, tributaries and superhighways is the real issue here. Many of the problems we face are a direct or indirect result of something not unlike a blocked artery. In the face of these roadblocks, of usually but not always our own making, we shake our fists at the gods and curse our enemies, but all we really need is to pursue happiness. That, in itself, is happiness. I don't know what this song is about. You decide.

“Screw Loose”
I get angry sometimes. Who doesn't? There's such a wide spectrum between insane-crazy and normal levelheadedness. I'm not convinced that it's a left-to-right spectrum. Maybe it’s a circle or sphere and you move around inside it … from weirdo to wonderfully eccentric to normal and five minutes early to “stab you in the neck and loving it” psycho. What I'm getting at is this: Every one of us is a little crazy in our own ways. Some are harmless and others harmful. And it seems like people usually don't get better. They get worse. I feel a little crazy.

“Nothing Left”
This is about how we interact with each other. But dig a little deeper and it's really about interacting with our own personal thoughts. How those thoughts shape our personal history, but more importantly, our future. Where you go from here is your choice, but not without consequences. There are only so many minutes in each day and only so much room in our minds for a distant memory. We must make way for new landscapes, new surroundings, new priorities, new passions and new ideas.

“The Times”
Don't let life turn into a treadmill, although it wants to make us sweat. It's natural for us humanoids to get too comfy and stressed all at the same time. Relax. Enjoy.

“In The Past”
Let's keep it in the present tense.

“Best Of Times”
This reminds me of … I forgot. Nostalgia. This song is based on a true story. An adaptation.

“Stay On Your Feet”
The ride most certainly gets rough. But that makes the good times that much sweeter. This song is a roller coaster. It's meant to uplift and encourage the listener through thick and thin. I've picked a female to be the subject of this story, but the ideas are universal. I dare say this song is to the listener what Wilson the volleyball is to Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away. To some, just a volleyball of a song; to others, a lifesaver, a best friend. Or … just a good, upbeat, clear-the-cobwebs-away pop-punk song.

“Lucky Guy”
How many ways can I say that I'm lucky in love? I put it to the test with this song. Any more would be annoying, any less would be half-assed.

“Far Away”
A fervent mix of mythology and pathology, fear spreads like a disease. “Run for the hills!” “Abandon ship!” Our instincts tell us to move, to get out of the way. Yes, we do this in our physical lives but also in our relationships, in our heads and hearts. “Get out of the way!” Come back, before you're too far away. This isn't about physical space. And in the end, I realized, you're never too far away.

“Cast Down My Heart”
My grandma wrote a lot of poems when she was younger. Many years ago, she gave me a notebook full of her poems. There were poems about the mailman (not sure what you mean), about nature, about politics, about love, but one poem stuck out to me. It was called “Cast Down My Heart.” It was written by a girl sending her young World War II soldier off to war. And the helplessness that she felt must have been unbearable. I took that poem and adapted a few of the lines and wrote my own song based on the title, “Cast Down My Heart.”

“When It Comes To You”
This is an interaction between two people but she doesn't know about it.

“Inside Out”
This is my version of R. Kelly's “Real Talk,” but from a punk perspective and actually nothing like R. Kelly's “Real Talk.”

“Nothing's Gonna Change”
This was meant to be an inceptor, a song that inspires you to change your world from the inside out … but it got weird. It's got a glimmer of goodwill but ultimately failed to say what I intended. On the other hand, it's exactly what I meant. alt