The beauty of pop-punk is all around us.
I see it when I peer down at my turquoise and lime green limited edition Air Force Ones. I see it on my computer screen while I’m bashing other reviewers for hating my favorite bands. I feel it when I pen every new, wonderful, totally original opening paragraph about a pop punk band. There’s just too much about this music – and life for Christ’s sake – to love. I’m in love! With a girl. With The Maine!
Let me tell you about it!
The Maine are original in the way that Doritos keep making zestier Cool Ranch or tangier Nacho Cheese chips. (And we’re supposed to celebrate this? It tastes the f**king same!) Rather than nut-busting rockers, they prefer to chill us out with acoustic guitars and jog-don’t-sprint tempos. Also, while most of the lyrics are terrible, they still find a way to resonate with me. I’ve been there: One time a girl blocked my advances and I almost died. Another actually broke up with me and I was clinically dead for 6 minutes.
“Everything I Ask For” buzzes to life with mid-tempo strumming and John O’Callaghan’s semi-abrasive vocals. He’s a mix between Kenny Vasoli and the weird named singer of Cute is What We Aim For, just like extra crunchy peanut butter is the perfect blend of whole peanuts and buttered peanuts. Akin to an 80’s hair band anthem riding on a gust of hot wind, “Girls Do What They Want” develops into a massive chorus complete with “Whoa Oh’s” and all the other things teenage girls – and I – like. Also, if my super hot, but f**king crazy girlfriend is any indication – Hey Christine! – The Maine are completely right on with the lyrics here. Women are such a strange species.
If Christine breaks up with me I’ll die forever.
Skipping ahead to the awesomely strong dosage of lovelorn anthems (“This Is The End” and “Whoever She Is”), it becomes clear why The Maine are so likeable. Spinning moderately fresh takes on teenage angst and frustration is all it takes to hit it big these days. If your hair falls over your eye in just the right way and you happen to own a To Write Love On Her Arms hoodie, well, that’s just icing on the emo cake. Pianos and an appreciation for acoustic mood-rock helps to take this band out of the more bruising (yet still super trendy) summer music category occupied by bands like Hit The Lights and Forever The Sickest Kids. Also, if you don’t dig the handclap section in “This Is The End,” you’re going to hell.
Quick note: If you like the song “Closing Time” by Semisonic, acquire “Into Your Arms” immediately.
“You Left Me” shows a fascination with technology and alien abductions by distorting vocals and utilizing a high-stepping electro beat. O’Callaghan uses a bit more range here (he tends to sing the same few notes on every song, but why get nitpicky?) and the trendy factor of this song actually works in its favor. Sure is weird how a popular formula is actually a good formula. “We’ll All Be…” slide guitars its way into your heart like a pretty girl when she wants you to give her an Angry Dragon. But in the same way that she tries to not look like a slut, this song’s alt-country vibe is laid on very thin, so as not to scare away any mascara-wearing 11 year olds. Meanwhile, the galloping drum beat and ringing guitar effects set a tone that’s perfect for lines like, “Don’t say goodbye / Cause in the morning we’ll see you around.” It’s… cute; you’ll dig it.
Americans young and old will buy and enjoy this compact disc. At first they’ll criticize it for being juvenile, and then they’ll realize there’s no such thing. Growing up doesn’t mean you have to forget your past, but it’s hard to find a disc like Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop relatable when you refuse to do a bit of legwork. I hope you won’t skip over The Maine because they’re prettier than you. I hope you won’t skip over The Maine because “I Must Be Dreaming” might make them a million dollars on the wings of its catchy acoustic guitars and cymbal madness. I, for one, can’t stop and won’t stop listening to this record.
You shouldn’t stop, either.