ALBUM REVIEW: The Maine – Forever Halloween

Artist: The Maine
Album: Forever Halloween
Release date: June 4th

For the past several months, The Maine has been hard at work writing, recording, demoing and releasing their new album. While it’s always an antagonizing wait for new music, it’s safe to say that this wait has been worth it. I would say this is their most mature album yet.

The highly anticipated release of Forever Halloween marks the fourth full-length album the band has put out since 2008. While their last album, Pioneer, added a range of experimental vibes to the roster, it did not quite live up to the hype of it’s predecessor, Black & White. Forever Halloween, however, may just be the band’s greatest achievement.

Starting us out is “Take What You Can Carry”, a perfect choice to set the mood for the album. Initially sounding like a pop/rock song reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys’ newer vibes, the old sound of Black & White eventually breaks through by the second verse and the song takes off from there. Track number two, “Love & Drugs” was the second single and one of the more alternative-sounding tunes. It’s a classic ‘reckless teen’ anthem with an upbeat tempo; something you just want to dance to. By the third song, we’re given frontman John’s ever-maturing lyrical storytelling in high gear. Run” gives us the sound of a feel-good song, but with the lyrical strength of something much deeper, therefore easing us into the belly of the record.

The change of emotion throughout this record is immense, and is quite impeccably done. The fourth track, “White Walls”, is a fantastically executed song with lyrical composure that makes it a great love song – except love isn’t actually mentioned at all. One of the great things about this band is that they can make you truly believe what they try to convey through their music, and this song is a perfect example of it.

“Happy”, the fifth track, was the first single. It’s a great song to showcase the band’s split from their old days of Pioneer while still continuing their rock sound. After “Happy”, however, a shift occurs in the album’s emotional spectrum once again. And this time, we’re thrust into a dark world of heavy sounds and equally heavy words.

“Birthday in Los Angeles” is basically a breakup song with the city; an open letter honing in on the corruption that can get the best of anyone. “Blood Red” gives us back that evaded Pioneer sound with grunge-rock undertones. Rounding off the melody are Kirch’s drums and some heavy bass from Nickelsen. The eighth track, “Kennedy Curse”, is an unexpectedly dark song with, once again, those impeccable lyrics from O’Callaghan that draw you in. Concluding with heavy guitar from Brock and Monaco, we are taken out of the darkness and brought back ready for more.

“Sad Songs” brings us a pop-rock sound with melancholy lyrics to accent it. This tune could easily speak to those individuals who live life quite pessimistically, with lyrics from O’Callaghan stating “I only like the sad songs/No one gets me like the sad songs”. “Fucked Up Kids” hits us with another ‘reckless teen’ anthem with an immense guitar break. At the break, we see one final shift on the emotion spectrum, with a slowed-down tempo reminiscent of “We’ll All Be…” from the band’s first album, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. Somewhat bittersweet is this recollection though: while the breakdown of “We’ll All Be…” spoke of good times with good friends, “Fucked Up Kids” talks about being alone. From there, the album’s up-down swing of emotions ends, and the album is brought to a close with two modest songs,These Four Words” and the title track, “Forever Halloween”.

“These Four Words”, the album’s masterpiece of a song, is a beautiful piano number accompanied by O’Callaghan’s poignant lyrics. It may very well be the saddest song The Maine has written yet. And leading us to the end is “Forever Halloween”, a somewhat macabre song with lyrics giving a haunting farewell to adolescence. Monaco heads it off with a slamming guitar solo, and the song breaks off and ends suddenly, suggestive of that moment when you wake up one day and your childhood is long gone. Superbly executed, it is certainly a great end to the album.

If you aren’t a fan of The Maine, give this album a listen and I’m positive you’ll be wanting more by the time you’re finished. This band has done it again, folks. They’ve given us their best and then some. Hats off to these five men who works their asses off every day to make music that they not only enjoy, but that they are proud to have made. That pride flows through each note and lyric with a sense of urgency one can only marvel at, and like a constant high, this band will never let you down.

Tracklist:

1. Take What You Can Carry
2. Love & Drugs
3. Run
4. White Walls
5. Happy
6. Birthday in Los Angeles
7. Blood Red
8. Kennedy Curse
9. Sad Songs
10. F**ked Up Kids
11. These Four Words
12. Forever Halloween

Rating: 5/5
Recommended tracks: White Walls, These Four Words, Kennedy Curse
Written by Shelby Kreiger

Check out Love & Drugs below:

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