When I’m asked about my favourite bands, an extensive list unfurls in my mind. It spans the entire music spectrum, starting with All Time Low and ending with One Direction. There’s one band though that I usually place on my list that hardly anyone knows, and that band is The Maine.
I’m met with quizzical looks and questions along the lines of ‘the main what?’ or, the more widely used joke ‘I didn’t know the entire state made a band!’ They haven’t. It’s confusing, sure, considering this quintet hail from Arizona. However, if you suspend your disbelief for a few minutes, I can clue you in on some great music.
The Maine have released six studio albums and are in the process of recording their seventh. As much as I love all their releases, I want to narrow it down and tell you about Forever Halloween. This is their fourth full-length album, their second self-funded release on their own label: 8123, and it marked yet a new direction for the band.
I was fifteen when it was released in 2013, at the height of my emo phase, and ready to devour whatever they could give me. I’d played the four singles they’d released beforehand to death and I was ready for the real thing. They did not let me down.
Forever Halloween takes you on a journey of what I believe sums The Maine up perfectly. From the opening song, ‘Take What You Can Carry’, to the closer, aptly named ‘Forever Halloween’, encapsulates what the band’s music is about. Songs like ‘Take What You Can Carry’, ‘Run’, and ‘Love and Drugs’ showcase their ability to get you singing and dancing without realising it. Then, your heart is dragged through melancholy and nostalgia with the lyrics of ‘White Walls’ and ‘F**ked Up Kids’.
The title song, which is a five-minute epic ending, makes you feel the pull of autumn and raises goose-bumps with the chorus. An honourable mention goes to ‘Sad Songs’ which tells the story of a man who lost his first love to an arranged marriage. It’s a true story that the lead singer, John O’Callaghan, was told in a taxi once after a show. I’m not sure if there’s a time I’ve heard it and not teared up.
The first half of this twelve-track album is particularly special to me. It features songs I’ve got a lot of memories attached to, including when I saw The Maine live for the first time.
In March of last year, they kicked off the world tour for their newest album in the UK and I was lucky enough to be there. As they performed their set, the thought of hearing ‘Take What You Can Carry’, a personal favourite, did not cross my mind. So, you can imagine my shock when song nine came around and ‘Take What You Can Carry’ began. It’s one of those songs that just makes you feel good, and I got to dance in a crowd with old and new friends. Forever Halloween unites upbeat music and meaningful lyrics with ease, which are prominent in songs ‘Kennedy Curse’ and fan favourite ‘Happy’. They’re the ones that you can scream surrounded by friends or in a crowd, with either a smile on your face or tears rolling down your cheeks. Which, really, is the essence of The Maine. They put feelings you didn’t know you had into songs you didn’t know you needed.
So, the next time you’re in need of some new music, I suggest listening to The Maine. Help me make Forever Halloween a well-known favourite rather than an obscure one.
P.S. Listen to the deluxe version of Forever Halloween if you can! There are some brilliant B-Sides just waiting to be discovered.