Photo Credit: Dirk Mai
The Maine is an alternative pop-rock band from Tempe, Arizona. Formed in 2007, John O’Callaghan and company signed with Fearless Records and recorded their debut EP Stay Up, Get Down. Following lineup changes, the band eventually finalized its roster, releasing their first LP, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, in 2008. Eleven years later, under their own record label 8123, they released their seventh studio album, You Are Ok, on March 29, 2019.
Influences such as My Chemical Romance can be heard right off the bat. On the first track, “Slip The Noose”, there is a healthy dose of emo and pop-punk. Lyrics such as, “Break down // hysteric and young // I’m comfortably numb // Then you send the pain into oblivion,” highlight the heartfelt and stricken urges of youth, as the song confides with the resounding strength of compassion found within each of us.
The second track, “My Best Habit”, takes a note from pop hook-makers of the 2000’s era. John sings, “Am I making any sense? // Don’t know // I’m a little bit of letdown, my // My feet are mine to follow // You don’t get to decide,” soothing, yet energetic. The production value on You Are Ok is exceptional, especially the bright and distorted guitars. The album moves forward with the track, “Numb Without You”, calling out, “You are the violence in my veins // You are the war inside my brain // You are my glitter and my gloom // I am so numb without you”, lyrically somewhat reminiscent of Blink-182’s self-titled album.
Lead singer, John O’Callaghan, mentioned in an interview that You Are OK features strings throughout, which is a first for the band, and an exciting choice. Dynamically, the strings blend well with the guitars and O’Callaghan’s vocals. The album continues with, “I Feel It All Over”, another pop-rock escapade, with lyrics such as, “With every single breathe, oh, we’re singing every line // For every beating chest, I will give my bleeding heart”. There is a definite hearkening back to the heyday of the Warped Tour scene music.
“Heaven, We’re Already Here”, starts off with strings and the vibe of this track quickly turns into an anthem for the open road, as O’Callaghan sings, “So Alive, we could die // As we drive all night in the afterlife”. The following track “Forevermore” takes on an acoustic feel, which is a powerful method of slowing the album down and taking a moment to breathe. “Tears Won’t Cry”, “One Sunset”, and “Broken Parts” keep pace with the album’s momentum.
The album’s closing track “Flowers On The Grave” is a nine-and-a-half minute epic. With lyrics like, “Cause you don’t plan life, you live it // You don’t take love, you give it // You can’t change what is written // So when fate cries, you listen”, the song projects a momentous sentiment and alludes to the undertow of karma, hopefully pulling in our favor.
The Maine is a band for the mainstream pop-rock or pop-punk fan with a tender side. There is always a brighter perspective to relationships and the understanding of complex feelings. The Maine is equally rambunctious and introspective, yet pop-punk youthfulness prevails as their headline. If you are into rock music with heart, definitely pick up their latest album, You Are Ok.
WRITTEN BY: SEAN FITZGERALD