Mayday Parade
Anywhere But Here


3.0
good

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
October 19th, 2009 | 22 replies | 8,907 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The chaos and blissful naivety give way to something more generic; Mayday Parade still have enough to keep their heads above water, but this is not the direction that holds the key to future success.

Mayday Parade are a band that have, for the last few years, embodied the difficulties of writing about pop-punk music in general. However good they are at what they do, there are only so many ways to say that the hooks found on A Lesson In Romantics are catchy, energetic and anthemic. It's tough to describe why that record, or any other similar one in the genre, is so well-written without falling back onto the same analogies and adjectives. Fortunately - but really, unfortunately - Anywhere But Here poses no such problem. The band's 2009 release can be perfectly summed up using probably the most common descriptor in pop-punk music journalism: generic.

I'm currently wondering why Bruised And Scarred's chorus sounds strangely like Steps' Tragedy (there's not a hint of sarcasm in that comparison) and I guess that's part of the problem. Listening to Kids In Love leaves the impression of a Sherwood imitation; frequently, the album recalls lesser pop-punk bands like All Time Low and Boys Like Girls, and although Mayday Parade are still for the most part a far superior outfit there's too much doubt present to assert so with any conviction. There's also little doubt where most of the problems here lie - since 2007's masterpiece, main songwriter and vocalist Jason Lancaster has taken flight and hence the band find themselves with two difficulties: firstly, how to replicate the youthful, heartbroken lyrical tone that stretched effortlessly across ALIR's run-time no matter how the music presented itself; secondly, how best to progress forwards without Lancaster and Derek Sanders' dual-vocal dynamic, which contributed so much energy to a record already brimming with things to say.

The dual-vocals are gone; Sanders accepts the lead, and he's certainly not a bad frontman in an arena of whining teenagers, but it just doesn't sound anywhere near as convincing or exciting as the old method; if this sounds like a personal preference, try to imagine Miserable At Best working without two voices and you have the major difficulty encountered by token ballad I Swear This Time I Mean It. Without the snappy, cross-over lyrics, the pre-choruses and refrains sound infinitely more straightforward, and no catchier; there is no mess here, nothing you can't put your finger on, and very little to experience on a fourth listen that you've not already memorised after the third. Sanders is enjoyable but not authoritative, sounding more like he's reciting somebody else's ideas than executing things he has a genuine connection to. The Silence and Kids In Love are notable exceptions, two early-album standouts where he sounds involved on more than a surface level.

The opener survives off the back of its tone (in short, it's a song about the whole idea of young love and whether its simplistic nature devalues it) but The Silence is remarkably cheesy; the chorus' vocal melody is insanely hooky, but impossible to sing along to because it's so lyrically clichéd. And hence we arrive at the record's second notable difficulty, one which it side-steps in a similar manner to the vocals issue, the result being basically identical. Mayday Parade are still just about good enough to stay this side of the line between fun and generic, but lines like 'Every night she cries and dies a little more each time / Say you love me,' lower your expectations to the point where you don't really hear gems along the lines of 'And you give and they take / It's love that you want, but not love that you make.' There are fewer of the specific references and abstract ideas found on A Lesson In Romantics, and more generalised assertions of emotion that sit side by side looking ever so pretty but not packing that much punch.

Instrumentally, though, the remaining members of the band put in a performance which ensures the result is - however watered-down and predictable it occasionally comes - a set of 11 pop-punk songs which stick in your head and contain enough excellent guitar lines and rhythm switches to remain viable listening after a fair few spins. Opener Kids In Love is arguably the record's best song, bouncing between its distant, relaxed verse guitars and its powerchord driven chorus - it's a promising start which contains numerous stop-and-listen moments, like when the instrumentation drops out before the final chorus starts. It's euphoric, one-track and distinctly impressive. The mid-record pairing of Save Your Heart and the massive anthem Get Up, which namedrops every city in the US on its way to a chorus written solely to make the kids dance, is another high point which documents the band's ability to write relatable material that still has merit outside its singalong value.

Mayday Parade are still better than the bands that they're going to be compared to, simply because there's still nothing awkward or dishonest about what they do and they're capable of writing lead guitar lines like The Silence's intro or the one that writhes in the background of Center Of Attention's chorus without making a big deal out of it. The worrying thing, though, is the absence of very many heartstopping lines. This Time I Mean It tries to split the difference between the first record's two ballads and just ends up sounding incredibly generic and leaving no real lasting impression. Mayday Parade are no longer the band they were when they created A Lesson In Romantics, and that's fine, but they need to find a new way to return to that powerful, passionate execution. In the meantime, as a transitional record, Anywhere But Here is worth a listen for its most dramatic moments, and it's a very solid offering on the whole, but so are a lot of the records in its genre. Your move, Mayday Parade.



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user ratings (308)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
October 19th 2009



10194 Comments


yay pop-punk

*puts on ALIR*

IndieOut
October 19th 2009



498 Comments


good call on how much of a cliche it is to call pop-punk generic. it's getting boring to read the reviews. this was an entertaining read however, good job hombre

Zip
October 19th 2009



5313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what the gay, you can't contradict the staff

MusicinaBox
October 19th 2009



513 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i agree w/ u 100%, pos.

Knott-
Emeritus
October 19th 2009



10194 Comments


it's not exactly a contradiction, we both agree it's good, just not HOW good.

also if anyone spots any typos please tell me cause french keyboards are ridiculousssssssssss

im worried one day im gonna run out of intros for pop punk reviews lol

ScorpionStan
October 19th 2009



1797 Comments


eh. Kids In Love is ok, but the theme of the song is SOOO cliche and overused that i just can't bring myself to enjoy it. The Silence is easily the best song, in my opinion. It's the only song that sounds as passionate as anything on ALIR. In fact, if it had halfway decent lyrics and a better bridge, it would be one of my favorite pop/punk songs of all time. Then again though, Black Cat was my favorite off of ALIR, and alot of people wouldn't agree with me there.

Very well-written btw, i will reflect that in the voting booth.

BigTuna
October 19th 2009



5151 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

VERY good review. I agree whole-heartedly, although I gave the album a 2 because I can't even grasp the catchiness. This really is a huge letdown for me. Pos'd.

Digging: EMA - The Future's Void

Zip
October 19th 2009



5313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

seems like everyone likes black cat but I hate it

ScorpionStan
October 19th 2009



1797 Comments


how can you hate Black Cat Zippermouth? (i'm gonna use your old name just to annoy you you now)

Douglas
October 19th 2009



8984 Comments


grande revue, même si la Mayday Parade ne m'intéressent pas

Pos'd

Knott-
Emeritus
October 19th 2009



10194 Comments


yea black cat grew on me massively but its still my least favourite song on the debut

ToWhatEnd
October 19th 2009



3172 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Jersey is probably my favorite on that. Least favorite for me is rather hard to pinpoint. Good review here. I have this a bit higher than you but can completely understand why you gave the score you did. Quite frankly because you wrote a great review expressing why.

Zip
October 20th 2009



5313 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love Jersey, Jamie All Over, When I Get Home and Walk on Water

mutatedfreek
October 21st 2009



7351 Comments


Yo strikey, you're good at French aren't you?

Knott-
Emeritus
October 21st 2009



10194 Comments


Haha, I've studied it for 9 years..

mutatedfreek
October 21st 2009



7351 Comments


Haha I'll take that as a yes then. I was wondering if you could translate a line of text from English to French for me as I was planning on making it the summary for my Editors review.

Knott-
Emeritus
October 21st 2009



10194 Comments


courseeeee. well, i can try. then some native speaker will come along and tell me it's not french enough. but sure.

mutatedfreek
October 21st 2009



7351 Comments


Excellent, the line is:

"It floats like a butterfly thats been stung by a bee"

I'd put it into a free translator but they usually fuck up the grammar and I have little to no understanding of French grammar.

Knott-
Emeritus
October 21st 2009



10194 Comments


Il s'envole comme un papillon (qui a été) piqué par une abeille.

s'envoler means to fly in an insecty way; as far as i'm aware the french don't really have a word for the whole float in the air kinda thing haha.

You might be able to use

Il flotte comme...

but I really can't tell from my dictionary whether that's good use of language. s'envole definitely is, it just might not be accurate enough in the figurative sense.

mutatedfreek
October 21st 2009



7351 Comments


Ahh ok, well thanks a lot man. To get back on topic this is a great review. I liked what I have heard of 'A Lesson In Romantics' so I might check out a few tracks off of this.



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