When The Maine first started touring, half the band had yet to finish high school. Fast forward to almost a decade later, the five dudes have graduated into a matured and developed sound. Originally from Arizona, but known for connecting with their fans across the map, they recently released their latest album, American Candy. John O’Callaghan, Kennedy Brock, Garrett Nickelsen, Jared Monaco, and Pat Kirch have assembled 10 tracks of ripened memories. Although they have a favorable discography behind them, this might just be the best one yet.
One of the differences from their adolescent anthem “I Must Be Dreaming,” is apparent right when “Miles Away” kicks off American Candy. The foundation is built from the rhythmic drums as John O’Callaghan’s voice is more grounded, unlike the juvenile and confused boy he once portrayed. Don’t be mistaken, they still have that youthful spark, as heard in “My Hair” with the background clapping and occasional echoed, “Yeah!” Listen to the lyrics, however, and you’ll realize that they have indeed grown up—”Grow your hair out, let your hair down while you still can because it’ll fall out, you’ll go bald like an old man.” With a little bit of rebellion and a lot of self-realization, the boys aren’t taking anything lightly anymore, as they repeat, “Nobody’s gonna tell me how to wear my hair” to song’s end. They’ve explored other affairs with “English Girls,” “Well she said, ‘English girls they just like sex/I couldn’t believe when he said, ‘I’ve got news for you, American boys do too.’” Looks like they’ve let go of their gripes about broken hearts and girls leaving like they naively sang in “You Left Me” back in 2008.
The album noticeably mixes their spirited, and sometimes comical characteristics with budding, and sophisticated themes. Not only do they display more intricate guitar work, their lyrics visit matured arguments. They explore insecurity, not in a, “Will she take me to prom?” way, but in questions of being self-conscious in physical and social ways with a love interest. “Am I Pretty?” is definitely relatable to different genders and ages, alike.
Toward the end of the album, the title-track “American Candy” initially sets in with an almost melancholy and serious attitude—shadowed with pulsing drums. As the chorus starts, so does heavy guitars and advancing cymbals. “Another Night On Mars” ends the collection, soft yet patterned, with sprinkles of piano and people’s commotion in the background. As the chorus repeats, we hear John O’Callaghan’s hollering, “We all share the same sky! It’s quite bizarre… Wouldn’t you agree?” I do.
In A Hyphenated Word: Grown-up