This really should have been an easy review for me to write. The factors were all lined up for it to be simple. A band that is at the top of the list of my favorites. A raw sounding rock record and to top off that, it's named after my favorite holiday. So, it should have been really easy, right? It was anything but. I've had the album for about two weeks now I think. Maybe more. And I've listened to it roughly fifty times. And I kept sitting down to sum it up in a nice little package. Track by track. With pretty words. And I'd tie it all up in a nice bow that gave a grade. A+, boys. A+. That's what I was expecting to do and what I kept trying to write. But it kind of hit me when I woke up this morning that I can't do that with this album. Because this album isn't pretty. This album is real. This album is, as I already stated, raw. This album can be messy at times. It's flawed. But that's what makes it perfect. So I'm not going to go track by track. I'm going to talk about it as a whole.
But let me back up in my life a little bit so there's an understanding of exactly what this band's music can do for my mentality. I've always enjoyed them. Their earlier songs and albums were fun. Catchy. John's voice stood out from the rest of the bands around so they stuck with me. And the band as a whole sounds really distinct. When I hear The Maine, I know it's The Maine before any words are even sung. But there was never an emotional attachment to the songs. Then Black and White happened. Which was released during a very bad time in my life. I won't say it kept me alive or anything. But at moments, it did keep me sane. And I still, three years later, listen to Saving Grace every day. The entire album is still played when I'm driving long distances and can listen to it as a whole and when I need to fall in love with the band all over again like it's new, I go to Black and White. That's summing it up in the most condensed way possible.
Pioneer brought a more mature sound from them. And to me, they started to become more of a band that tells stories with their songs. Where you can tell that when they sit down to compose and record and write, they want to tell the most amazing story possible and have us not forget said story. I love Pioneer as well. But it doesn't have the pull for me that Black and White does. Well, most of it. The B Sides do. I love it. It's one of my favorite albums, don't get me wrong. It's just not Black and White. But when Pioneer was released I wasn't in the same season of my life. So I just figured maybe that's why. Black and White will always be my favorite and nothing will ever be loved more than that album.
Wrong. I will admit I was wrong. Because then this album happened. This album that with every single song, I feel like John is exposing us to little pieces of his mind. But in a subtle way. It's almost like you need to be in the same mindset as he is to understand it. But at the same time, every song is up for interpretation as to what it can mean for the listener. His voice singing the songs sounds like pure, bluesy, rock and roll and the instruments sound like you're sitting right there with them while they're recording. And in a way, we basically are since they recorded this album the way that they did. To me, it sounds like we're listening to a jam session that they happened to record. And I honestly cannot wait to hear all these songs live. I think they're going to be so confident in how they sound with them that they're going to be even more dynamic than normal on stage. I can't pick a favorite off of the album. If I was asked I'd try to get away with answering "the whole album". Not because I love everything they do, but because to me, this album evolves with each song. The first song needs the last and everything in between in order to be complete. I've yet to just sit down (since I got the album to review. Obviously I could when Happy was released) and pick one song to listen to and then turn it off. I have to listen to all of it. However, if forced to pick a favorite, it would be between Kennedy Curse and Forever Halloween. I think. Maybe not. Definitely Forever Halloween. Because that song means a lot to me. Maybe I interpret it wrong as a whole, but I don't interpret it wrong for myself. And I'll just keep that interpretation to myself. If they want to know, they can ask and tell me if I'm right or not.
This is a long review. That's not even really a review. This album is hands down the best The Maine has released. And if this is what they sound like now, I can't wait for the future. I really hope they're still making music when they're eighty years old. And can barely move.
A+, boys. A+. (I had to)