Reviewed by: Kendall Hirata
Record Label: Tooth and Nail
Release Date: February 25, 2003
Dave Elkins – Guitar/Vocals
Zach Gehring – Guitar
Mark Padgett – Bass
Jacob Marshall – Drums
Rob Sweitzer – Keys/Vocals
In February of 2003, a band named Mae broke out onto the scene with their debut album called “Destination: Beautiful" which would gain the attention of a lot of people. Many people who hear their work often smile when they hear their music or think back to times of hardship and sorrow as that is how powerful their music is. Lyricist Dave Elkins writes lyrics that would get anyone thinking about love, inspiration, and hopes of starting over which is the foundation of the band. As evidence in “Destination: Beautiful", it is filled with beautifully written songs that have a certain ebb and flow that shows this band is serious. With a blend of soft and serene piano parts to heart-pounding guitar parts, “Destination: Beautiful" is the album that seeps with musicianship to its finest. And now I introduce to you ladies and gentlemen, “Destination: Beautiful" By: Mae.
“Destination: Beautiful" By: Mae
Embers and Envelopes:
The CD starts off with a very nice song that anyone could like, a drifting guitar part then the bass comes in with a thumping beat along with the drums. Some synthesized effects, but it actually adds to the songs making you feel like you are in heaven. The chorus picks up and really makes you feel warm inside when you hear it. Dave does a good job with this song, from whisper soft lyrics and in the chorus a prominent confident voicing really makes this song stick out. The song that proclaims starting life over and giving a relationship once lost a second try is the theme of this song. A small piano part near the end is a nice addition too, a definite classic for Mae.
This Time Is the Last Time:
The song starts with and acoustic guitar playing quarter notes with Dave singing “Save yourself…" underneath the guitar. The band slowly comes in with the drums and bass coming in with an acoustic riff being played underneath. The beat itself will get you tapping along with the beat, which is quite catchy. Again like “Embers and Envelopes", the loud chorus and verses really surprised me. A lighthearted song, which is portrayed in Dave’s voice, Zach does a good job with the picking guitar parts that add to the song. Rob also has a small part in the chorus where you can hear a piano part underneath it all. Not quite as good as “Embers and Envelopes", but still a good song all in all.
All Deliberate Speed:
A drumbeat is played to start the song off and a guitar riff goes to follow it into the song itself. The bass has a nice part in the verses, which shows Mark’s talent on the bass. A slightly heavier song than the previous two songs, but still has that lighthearted feel to it that Mae is known for. Heavy synthesized effects in the end and effects ridden guitars with a bass line that is simply stunning really takes this track home.
Another foot tapping beat with a nice guitar part to go with it. I paid more attention to the guitar parts than Dave and his singing, as it was so complex it was attention getting from the start. Dave’s voice, if any, is almost totally over shadowed by the bands playing, a shame really but it is still noticeable. But all in all, a good song I totally like, rivals “Embers and Envelopes" but still doesn’t come close.
Don’t know what to say about this song, a nice song altogether with the bass following Dave’s voice, and a guitar line to support it. A lot of thought must have gone into making this song, as the lyrics are very deep and engrossing. A small guitar interlude adds icing to a beautifully written song, but the ending really stands out in my mind. A beautiful piano solo done by Rob makes me wonder why doesn’t he add more pianos to the songs they write? One of the best songs on the album in my mind but still can’t say enough about the piano solo!
Crescendos into the song with a picking guitar part and yet the bass is still a prominent part in this song. Slowly builds to the chorus, which really makes this song stick out from the other songs. With backing “ahhs" and “oohs" in the chorus and second verses, it makes this song upbeat and sound happy and inspiring to the listener. The bridge is also nice with the distorted guitars and bass going at it really makes the song last. Another standout track in my opinion, very enjoyable from beginning to end and doesn’t get too repetitive.
A ballad sort of song with bells and an underlying bass part backing up Dave in the intro. Then some guitar parts come in with a soft, serene type of feeling that gets you thinking. It really takes you back to times to when you are with the one you love and just driving along. Beautiful song, really wish a piano part was in this song, but still a brilliant song. Dave’s vocals with his signature whispering type singing really add to the aura of this song, which is another standout track. The ending instrumental is another part of the song that although “ho-hum", really is a perfect ending.
Soundtrack For Our Movie:
Back to the upbeat songs with a palm muted guitar part during the first verse support Dave in singing. The part after the first verse really sticks out in my mine and the picking is haunting too. The chorus itself uses the same verse, then after that is the interlude of some sort with a synthesizer solo, which is really neat. Love the lyrics and singing Dave has made for this song, really deep and engrossing that will get anyone’s attention with one read. The guitars and keys really make this a standout track. Wow Mae is going to have a lot of standout tracks huh?
A decent song, nothing special in my opinion but it does have a light feel to it like all of Mae’s songs. A synthesized part near the end of the song makes it sound really spacey when the song actually started out sounding like a rock song. At the end, the entire band just rocks it out and releases their emotions to end quite arguably a weak beginning but a powerful ending song. The end really saved this song to what could have lead to a failure.
Giving It Away:
The intro sounds like something out of Nintendo game, I forget what game but whatever, falling feeling type of intro with a lone drumbeat backing it up. Synthesized violins and a bass back it up after a while into the intro. Reminiscent of “Skyline Drive" but not as good in my personal opinion, but still has its own qualities in its own light. The middle of the song starts to pick up though, but not enough to actually make this song good. After a while it gets boring and repetitive, don’t know what else to do but skip it. But actually I like the ending where he’s saying, “Giving it away"; that part is nice but still…
Can their closing song be as strong as their intro song? The beginning is promising with a galloping drumbeat and guitar chords played in the back.
It quiets down into an acoustic part with some piano parts scattered here and there. Floating type of feeling here with the feeling of longing ness in Dave’s voice really make you believe him when he sings in this song. The piano parts are beautifully written to intertwine within the song itself, and end with everything coming together and ending. Beautiful song to end a beautiful record, I hope you enjoyed the ride.
I tried to keep an open mind on this record as I have listened to “The Everglow" (Mae’s Sophomore release) before listening to “Destination: Beautiful". But to tell you the truth, the band sounds separated in “Destination: Beautiful" while they sound more like a band in “The Everglow". I’m not saying “Destination: Beautiful" is horrible, I’m saying that it has its own qualities that make it better than “The Everglow" but on the other hand, doesn’t sound as together.
Many will argue with me on this one, but I prefer “The Everglow" over “Destination: Beautiful" because “The Everglow" has A LOT of songs that stick with you after you listen to it and the piano is more involved too. “Destination: Beautiful" has better lyrics over “The Everglow" as it is hard to tell what Dave is trying to say, but you can figure it out after thinking about it. Think Jimmy Eat World’s album “Clarity" when you listen to this album, as this album is very reminiscent of it. But all in all, “Destination: Beautiful" is still a very good album with superior musicianship and beautiful songs of love, hope, and wonder.
-Ballad type songs that really gets you thinking
-Great guitar, bass, and drum parts!
-Beautiful singing done by Dave
-Complex lyrics that has a deep meaning
-Some of the songs can start sounding the same after a while
-More piano parts!
-Hard for people who love heavy music to get into
Definitely Check Out These Tracks!
-Embers and Envelopes
-Soundtrack For Our Movie
Overall Album Rating For “Destination: Beautiful": 4.5/5