Mayday Parade
A Lesson In Romantics


4.0
excellent

Review

by Green Baron USER (159 Reviews)
January 20th, 2015 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A lesson in looking beyond the surface.

Before anything else is said, let’s get one thing straight – A Lesson in Romantics is not a unique nor an innovative record. Neither is it genre-defying or even anything special. This album is full of simple pop-punk songs that follow a standard verse-chorus-verse structure, and at times it can be very predictable. Lyrically, the only subjects discussed are broken hearts and the power of love, topics that have been sung about to death since forever. There’s also nothing about the lyrics that distinguish them from other songs that tread on similar subject matter, and the instrumentation is also pretty standard. With all that mentioned, why is it that this album, the first by Floridian-based pop-punk act Mayday Parade so damn captivating?

The main characteristic that sets A Lesson in Romantics apart from their ilk is simply just how catchy it is. With an endless treasure trove of memorable hooks and addictive melodies, most if not all of the songs on here contain one. From the get-go, the album establishes this as its strong suit with the absolutely infectious opener “Jamie All Over”, cementing itself as one of the record’s best with its anthemic, sing-along chorus. Arguably the best one they ever wrote, it’s filled such vivacious energy that it’s hard to resist its alluring charms. It’s one of the few happy songs on here, and that makes it stand out amongst the heartbroken, angst-ridden tales of defeat. Sometimes, recalling a dream about spending copious amounts of time with your true love and making love by the ocean is the perfect way to kick-start an album defined by its reaction to heartbreak. While there’s still a longing sense to it, “please don’t tell me that I’m dreaming when all I ever wanted was to dream another sunset with you” is a line that is delivered with such fervent passion and emotion that listeners can just feel the sentiments that are being detailed. There’s just so much power in the way Derek Sanders and Jason Lancaster sing that give songs like “Jamie All Over” and other cuts including “I'd Hate to Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About” and “If You Wanted a Song Written About You, All You Had to Do Was Ask” a foreboding sense of strength and triumph, like the final erasing of any pain left before.

Sanders and Lancaster are also gifted with the ability to sing with passion and emotion; whether it’s the “and I hope this makes you happy now, that the flame we had is burning out” line from “If You Wanted a Song Written About You, All You Had to Do Was Ask” or the poignant bridge of piano ballad “Miserable at Best”, the emotions presented in A Lesson in Romantics always feel genuine. Unlike other bands that constantly remain dull and fail to show any sort of personality whatsoever, the dueling vocalists of Mayday Parade manage to come off as incredibly heartfelt and honest, with the contrast of Lancaster’s deeper, more contemplative voice and Sanders’ more pop-punk styled singing working wonders for the band. The former’s absence on future records is pretty notable, which is partially why Mayday Parade struggled so hard to recapture the glory of their debut. A more aggressive side is displayed on “When I Get Home, You’re So Dead”, and although the belligerence runs the risk of seeming forced, the heavier riffs and somewhat quiet breakdown fit within the context of the song perfectly well. The spite and anger in lyrics like “On any other day I’d shoot the boy, but your simple toy had caused a scene like that” resonates strongly with the tone of the song.

From start to finish, A Lesson in Romantics remains consistently solid, churning out song after song of pure pop-punk goodness. There’s never a large patch of incessantly dull moments, and with the choruses Mayday Parade are capable of writing, it shouldn’t come off as too big of a surprise. The jazz-tinged riff of “Black Cat” and modulation on the final chorus of “Jersey” are just a few examples of how the band manages to switch things up a bit. While there still are a few dull moments – “Walk on Water or Drown” manages to be the sole unimpressive song, lacking the spark that most others contain, “Miserable at Best” could be a bit better if it was a little trimmed down, and the vocals in “Take This to Heart” is just a tad bit too whiny. Other than those minor setbacks, A Lesson in Romantics is a great listen from front to back, and even though it mostly uses the same formula each time, it’s a winning formula that plays a huge role in its quality control. The album’s biggest flaw is one that can easily be overlooked, and that would be the lyrics. Every single song is about love and heartbreak, and at times they can stray into some pretty clichéd territory. While there are no demands to bring up topics like existentialism or politics, there definitely are qualms concerning the generic nature of some of Lancaster’s word choices. At times a bit too predictable and overused, the lyricism is definitely not one of the main reasons why the album succeeds like it does.

On the surface, A Lesson in Romantics is just another generic pop-punk release made by an average band with not much going for them. Yet it’s the sheer emotion and passion that the duo of Lancaster and Sanders bring as well as the immensely catchy hooks that make Mayday Parade’s full-length debut stand out in a sea of forgettable nobodies. From the opening chords of “Jamie All Over” to the soaring ending of “You Be the Anchor That Keeps My Feet on the Ground, I’ll Be the Wings That Keep Your Heart in the Clouds”, A Lesson in Romantics is nothing more than fifty-six minutes of non-stop, energetic breakup anthems filled with the spirit of a thousand lonely lovers. Even though it seems like just another pop-punk album, one listen is all it will take to convince any naysayers that it’s not.



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user ratings (763)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Knott- EMERITUS (4.5)
    A Lesson In Romantics is like most pop-punk. It's just a hell of a lot better....

    gophersister1 (4.5)
    Mayday Parade takes every emotion available to humans, puts it into words, and pairs it wi...

    Tempertemperature (4)
    Its time you learned your Lesson....

    JPAC (1.5)
    What the hell is wrong with you people? This is NOT a classic album! Mayday Parade is real...

  • InRegardsToSelf (5)
    Now altogether I know that I practically praised this band but this is just plainly an ama...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Cygnatti
January 20th 2015


32950 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

< 3

Green Baron
January 20th 2015


24807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ok guys i promise i'll start reviewing more often

NervousBreakdown
January 20th 2015


172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I can shamelessly say this album rules



no matter how many scene kids dig this band

Tunaboy45
January 20th 2015


16811 Comments


Good review Green, band never really caught my attention

trackbytrackreviews
January 20th 2015


3408 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Too bad they suck dick now

hogan900
January 21st 2015


3073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Not shamed at all to admit this album is excellent.

NervousBreakdown
January 21st 2015


172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'd only be shamed because the people who like this are of the ilk of Sleeping With Sirens, Pierce the Veil, All Time Low, Black Veil Brides, Bring Me the Horizon... yeah, that scene garbage.



And I hate all those. Well BMTH is questionable.

Green Baron
January 21st 2015


24807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

*implying any of that matters*

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
January 22nd 2015


6744 Comments


"is not a unique nor an innovative record"
anytime I see "nor" in a sentence it's ideal to see it paired with "neither". So, you'd say "it is neither a unique nor innovative record". in saying that, you could cut out the following sentence as it's redundant - you already say the album isn't unique or innovative, so saying "it's nothing special" isn't necessary at this point.

one thing about your reviews that could be improved is wordiness. your Wonder Years review was nice, as you summed up everything nice and compactly. with this review, I feel there's spots you could go through and trim a bit of fat. for example:
"This album is full of simple pop-punk songs that follow a standard verse-chorus-verse structure, and at times it can be very predictable" could be reworded as: "The albums adheres to simple pop-punk songs reliant on predictable verse-chord-verse structures." ... ok, not a big difference, but you see how I trimmed the word count and said basically the same thing?

Another example: "The main characteristic that sets A Lesson in Romantics apart from their ilk is simply just how catchy it is"
you already established in your first paragraph how seemingly "standard" this album is, so we already know your thesis is how it manages to set itself apart. So, the whole "The main characteristic that sets A Lesson in Romantics apart from their ilk..." bit is unnecessary. You could follow up on the "what makes this so captivating?" question by starting that paragraph with "In a word: catchiness. With an endless treasure trove...." or something.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
January 22nd 2015


6744 Comments


I'll read through this review and a few more later in the day if I have time, but my main 'criticism' is simply cutting down the length and making things snappy. that doesn't necessarily mean cutting out certain information entirely; rather, just try to avoid repetition, and ask yourself what the most important things to take away from the album are so you can hone in on those in your review

Green Baron
January 23rd 2015


24807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I do have a tendency to extend sentences to maximal word length. I get at what you're saying, and it's definitely something I should avoid doing in the future.



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