When The Maine released “Pioneer” in 2011, no one really expected that kind of release from a band that was writing cookie-cutter pop-rock songs while wearing matching white-shirts stained with gold paint during their stage show (if anyone in the band is reading this: yeah, I went there). It may have been hinted at during their sophomore effort, “Black and White”, but most expected them to head more towards the pop-rock route again. The album proved to be their best work yet, proving that they truly are a great rock band.
Fast forward to 2013. “Forever Halloween” only further solidifies this fact. While it sounds just as mature as “Pioneer”, it has a much more “raw” feel. This could be due in part to the band recording the entire album live rather than going the traditional route and tracking each instrument individually.
God, it must be nerve wracking to record an album live. But this was a very smart move for the band. In today’s day and age, you can go into a recording studio and make all of the mistakes that you want. Editing software will fix any vocal mishaps or extra guitar notes added into the song. Recording live changes the whole game. It means that there’s really no room for error; you truly have to know all of your parts and know how to play your instrument.
Each song has it’s own identity, something that can be considered very rare in the world of music today. That’s always been an element of The Maine that has stood out to me: no two songs are exactly alike. Songs like “Happy” are more upbeat, while songs like “Birthday In Los Angeles” and “Fucked Up Kids” slows things down a bit. “These Four Words” is a hauntingly beautiful anti-love song, and could very well be one of the best tracks they’ve ever put out.
The album closes with the title track, abruptly ending after five and a half minutes with the sound of a record scratch. What will The Maine do next? Who knows? (and that’s the fun of it). For now, check out “Forever Halloween”, a truly spectacular rock album.