The Maine’s American Candy shows “depth and talent”


Photo courtesy of Instagram

Madison Daugherty , Reporter

Tempe, Arizona based band, The Maine released their fifth album entitled American Candy on April 1, marking a shift in their sound and growth musically. Back in my middle school days, The Maine used to be my favorite band. As the years went by I eventually stopped listening to them. I was no longer interested in their punk-rock vaguely teen pop sound. However, this new album has absolutely changed my mind on the band. This new album has more depth and talent than any of the previous one.

“A decade into their career, The Maine are proving they posses one of the most elusive qualities a pop-rock band can have: consistency,” Annie Zaleski, writer for Alternative Press, said. “There’s not one bad song on American Candy.”

In comparison to their first album, Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, which was released in 2008, the band has almost done a 360. Stereotypical lyrics about chasing girls and high school days have turned into songs that show off the best the band has to offer.

“The idea of ‘American Candy’ to me was about the junk they got us all hooked on in a force feeding way, the manufactured manipulative garage,” John O’Callaghan, lead singer, said to The State Press. “We’re trying to combat that by writing songs that were very authentic and genuine even if they were lighter in topic.”

The opening track, Miles Away, is easily one of my favorite songs on the album. “A tongue full of only tomorrow’s will never quench your thirst for today, so what do you say we take a trip miles away,” O’Callaghan sings. The song perfectly captures the feeling of wanderlust and carpe diem. This song is perfect for any road trip or wistful daydreamer.

The next track, Same Suit, Different Tie, follows the previous track vibe of taking advantage of youth. This is the type of song that is supposed to be sung in the car with your friends. It’s an enthusiastic anthem claiming that, “you don’t need high price designs to feel dressed up to the nines.” This is not a song that will make you think deeply about society, but it is a song to dance along to.

My Hair is next. Again, this song follows the lighter topic theme of the album, but despite that retains sincere message; grow your hair however you want because you’re still young. While it might seem silly to have song about growing out your hair, the lyrics reveal something deeper. It’s more about doing dressing or expressing yourself however you want without regard to what other people think. For a band whose main demographic is young girls, the message is well appreciated.

The following track is the most popular one on the album, English Girls. It was the first song I heard on the album, as it was the first single released. It’s easy to see why. The song follows a story between an exchange in a bar between an English girl and an American boy. While the lyrics are nothing extraordinary, they certainly are catchy. In this song, O’Callaghan’s voice has more of an edge to it accompanied by a strong bass line from bassist Garrett Nickelsen. Together, the song gives off a summer afternoon vibe, infectious to anyone who listens.

The next track on the album is actually my favorite. It’s called 24 Floors, and it’s the slowest song on the album, but it’s not acoustic. Rather it’s the kind of song that makes you aware of breathing. The smooth rhythm and lyrics like, “take one more breath to clear your mind, this moment is relevant.” It’s the perfect song to listen to after a long day.

The next two songs, Diet Soda Society and Am I Pretty?, have the same theme about how appearances give society an untrue and twisted perspective of how to judge and value someone. Diet Soda Society talks more about being sweep up into the superficial world of needing to look a certain way, while Am I Pretty? develops on the insecurities social pressure creates. Personally, Am I Pretty? not only has a more interesting message, but also just suits O’Callaghan’s deep voice more.

My second favorite song on the album is next, (Un)Lost. While the title of the song looks pretentious, the song is actually the most relatable on the album. “I’m not looking to be found, just looking to be feel (un)lost,” O’Callaghan sings. There is no teenager right now that is not a least a little bit lost, with their pending future in the horizon. This song helps to ease those worries and give perspective on what to value in the moment.

The next track is titled the same as the album itself, American Candy. It’s one of the more serious songs on the album, not discussing light-hearted topics like youth. Rather it discusses on how so much of our everyday lives are a result of a social pressure to be a certain way and how hard it is to change that.

If I had to choose a least favorite song on the album, it would be the closing track, Another Night on Mars. Not that this song is not good, it is a pretty decent track. Rather it is just that it is too similar to past tracks by the band about their friends and how grateful they are to them. It is not a bad message, just one the band has already done in very similar sounding songs.

Overall, I am impressed with the quality of this album. There is no song on this album that could be described as bad. Some of the messages and lyrics can be repetitive, but sound wise the band has never been better. The Maine has proven that even after ten years together, they are only getting better from their start.