Review Summary: "I could never imagine we'd end up this way"
Mayday Parade have never been a particularly adventurous band. They consistently craft solid and entertaining pop-rock albums with a smattering of excellent songs, and they utilise dual vocals well across the majority of their discography… but they’ve always played it relatively safe. Unfortunately, with Monsters In The Closet, this trend continues – and even worse, they’ve regressed somewhat. If there’s one word that is repeated ad nauseam in the notes I took for this review it’s this; boring. There’s nothing wrong with being a safe band if you can create entertaining music, unfortunately Mayday forgot the entertaining bit.
In fact, the album takes so long to get going that I found myself genuinely bored by the time the fifth song ‘The Torment Of Existence Weighed Against The Horror Of Nonbeing’ had finally closed out. There’s a couple of things that distinguished these early five songs from earlier Mayday offerings, mainly the presence of not one but TWO guitar solos, and a rather disturbing lack of prominent dual vocals, but these did nothing to stop the five initial tracks from being anything but dull (With the exception of song "Last Night For A Table Of Two" Which uses the aforementioned solo to fantastic effect towards the end). Fortunately the album does pick up from that point with the first standout track in ‘Even Robots Need Blankets’. A ballad track, the type that Mayday Parade have always done so well in the past, it signifies the start of the substantially improved second half of ‘Monsters In The Closet’. It builds up to an epic closing segment with an anthemic chorus that will perfectly suit being bellowed out by the crowd when sang at live shows and is backed by subtle yet intricate guitar work. After a bit of a lull with ‘Repent And Repeat’, there’s a rare combination of two great songs in a row; ‘Demons’ and ‘Sorry, Not Sorry’. Both are far more interesting than anything that features in the earlier segment of the album, even if the lyrics are never really elevated above the typical Mayday Parade fare.
And lyrically, well, it’s a mixed bag. The aforementioned ‘Sorry, Not Sorry’ features a chorus that will soon have you singing along with it, bellowing out “And I’m so sorry for myself” as it’s played over optimistic guitars and a lovely build-up. Somehow this is followed up on the following track ‘Nothing You Can Live Without, Nothing You Can Do About’ with lines such as “Dressed as a girl, you’ll be part of this world.” Mayday have never been particularly known for their lyrical prowess, but it would have been nice to see a hint of progression, just something to say that they’ve grown up a bit and that they can do more than sing about being broken hearted – or at least to do so in a more lyrically diverse way. The instrumental work follows much the same pattern; it’s okay, it’s just kind of there. It’s exactly what you’ve heard on every other Mayday Parade album.
This wasn’t an easy album to rate. It’s got a ridiculously dull first half followed by a far more impressive second half, but even that second half never reaches the levels of their self-titled or A Lesson In Romantics. The closer, ‘Angels’, was the song that I personally was most excited for. The closing song on Mayday Parade albums usually reigns as my favourite song on said album; ‘Happy Endings Are Stories That Haven’t Ended Yet’, ‘I’ll Be The Wings That Keep Your Heart In The Clouds’ and ‘The Last Something That Meant Anything’ are all epic love ballads that reign as some of the best songs Mayday Parade have ever crafted. Monsters In The Closet’s effort, just like the majority of the album, is okay without ever really reaching the heights set by their previous work. It’s disappointing, and in a year containing some fantastic pop-rock/punk from the likes of The Maine and The Wonder Years, it’s not quite good enough anymore. Standing still isn’t good enough anymore.
Closing track ‘Angels’ bellows out the line “I could never imagine we’d end up this way” – stylistically this is how you'd imagine a Mayday Parade album to end up. Unfortunately, it’s probably not quite as good.
Recommended Tracks –
Even Robots Need Blankets
Sorry, Not Sorry