Review Summary: A mixed bag which holds more gold than stone.
It always pisses me off significantly whenever a new Mayday Parade album is compared to A Lesson in Romantics. The album was crucial to the astounding popularity of Mayday Parade, and today it stands tall as the band’s crowning achievement in music. But whenever new material is released by the band, people always insist the same damn thing. The constant complaints directed towards Mayday Parade’s new material always contains a faint hint, a slight nudge, of brash words stating that its “Not as good as A Lesson In Romantics.” It’s highly arrogant to judge an album with such intolerance due to the fact that the album does not reach the high expectations the band’s debut set. This can be related to Taking Back Sunday in a way, as after their excellent debut they were judged a lot harsher since they had to live up to Tell All Your Friend’s standards. We all have to face it; A Lesson in Romantics will never be repeated. Six years later and still the hasty comparisons are being made, but Monsters in the Closet stands on the tip of its toes to receive the appreciation it deserves.
Though there haven’t been many changes to Mayday Parade’s overall formula, there are elements that have gradually improved over time. The guitars have been tweaked to sound more intricate and complex then its lingering shadow. Even as corny as some of the guitar parts are, especially the guitar solo that flamboyantly plays within the first three minutes of the album, it’s a step above the boring riffs and guitar lines that most generic pop-punk bands use. Derek’s voice flows pretty well with the music, but he can sound somewhat dull and boring for a good chunk of the beginning. Thanks to Jake’s frequent back-up vocals, the album’s vocals tread just above mediocrity due to Jake’s resonating voice. It’s a shame that he never gets his own song, as it would be a great change of pace from hearing Derek dominate most of the vocal territory.
There is a lot to digest here, and some of it can blockade the overall experience from being fully enjoyed. “Girls” may go down as one of the most annoying songs Mayday Parade has ever released, with its insensible lyrics to its dull instrumentation; the song barely gets anything right. “Girls” is clearly aimed at all the adolescent girls who worship Mayday Parade more then they worship their actual religion. It’s sad to say that there are other songs that insist on providing this girly fan service, as the band is capable of producing much more mature and well thought out music. The second half picks up the slack of the first half, and with it produces the memorable “Nothing You Can Live Without, Nothing You Can Do About” and the grand finale “Angels”. “Angels” is the band playing to their absolute limit. Nothing resembles the artistic value the song has to offer on the entire album. The lyrics are top notch and the violin smoothly singing in the background adds a tone of emotion and elegance which is heavenly deep compared to the rest. The band clearly saved the best for last, and it’s the last five or six song’s on the album which ascend the music into the clouds.
Monsters in the Closet is a well-rounded experience that treads into a familiar territory, but with some minor changes that help the album stand perfectly on its feet. After six long years since A Lesson in Romantics, Mayday Parade still shows the listener that they are capable of still making astounding music for a pop-punk band. Though the album does have its negative aspects in the form of the dull beginning and Derek's mixed vocal performance, the band follows it up with an excellent second half. “Angels” shows there is hope for critical success in the future, and Jake’s voice couldn’t sound any better. Mayday Parade shows they still have it, even six years after their infectious debut.