VA - Happy Meals Vol. 2, The Perfect Marriage (2000, My) MP3/Flac

One good thing leads to another, or at least that's how it's supposed to go.  That optimistic bit of logic certainly applied to the trio of Happy Meals cd compilations released between 1997 and the early '00s.  It sure seemed like every time one of these gems fell into my lap, I was exposed to no less than half a dozen phenomenal bands that I may not have encountered otherwise.  I had pretty high praise for the first Happy Meals disk that I posted way back in 2008, but Vol 2 really takes the cake. 

Curated by My Records proprietor Joey Cape (of Lagwagon, Me First & The Gimmie Gimmies, and Bad Astronaut renown) Vol 2, The Perfect Marriage continues our man's quest for bands that bridge the oh-so-slim gap between punk and deliriously melodic power pop.  Cape had a penchant for including combos that had recently, or were about to, sign their collective lives away to useless major label contracts.  I say useless because most of these bands (specifically Ridel High, Nerf Herder, Silver Jet, and Skycycle) while all pretty excellent, were never given an adequate push, or in the case of Skycycle, were dropped just a few months shy of their album coming out.  Nerf Herder enjoyed the most success out of this bunch, and their contribution "Hospital," an ironically upbeat tale of domestic abuse, is the strongest cut they ever committed to tape, in my opinion.  Ridel High, featuring Weezer album Kevin Ridel turn in the equally frantic "Facelift."  As one might expect, two of the aforementioned bands that Cape is personally a co-conspirator of are represented as well, with Me First offering up a punky power-chord ridden take of Hall and Oates "Rich Girl," and a very solid Lagwagon entry "Messengers" following soon after.  Ken Stringfellow's short lived Saltine project had their foot in the Happy Meals door as well, contributing a track that was only otherwise available on an import ep.  Armchair Martian, Knee Jerk Reaction and Chixdiggit show up to the party with blistering, power punk slammers, on deck hitters The Ataris share one of their career best, and Joey Cape's brothers-in-arms NOFX close the affair out with a cover of Bracket's "Lazy Train."  Happy Meals Vol 2 is nothing short of a goldmine.

01. Me First And The Gimmie Gimmies - Rich Girl
02. Armchair Martian - Armslength
03. Nerf Herder - Hospital
04. Ten Speed Summer - Pantera Fans in Love
05. Ridel High - Facelift
06. Lagwagon - Messengers
07. Saltine - I Owe You
08. The Living End - English Army
09. Marvel - Trigger Happy
10. 22 Jacks - Passport
11. Limp - Clear Color
12. Skycycle - Antebellum
13. Silver Jet - On the Fence
14. Keith Brown - Suicide
15. Knee Jerk Reaction - Unsure Thing
16. Chixdiggit - Brunette Summer
17. The Ataris - How I Spent My Summer Vacation
18. NOFX - Lazy Train