The Maine - Can't Stop Won't Stop
Record Label: Fearless Records
Release Date: July 8, 2008
The Maine are, simply put, really catchy. They might not be innovative or original in any aspect of their existence, but I can't help loving this album nonetheless. It's great, airy, pop-punk music: heavy on the pop, light on the punk, and sure to do well with the TRL demographic.
Super-producer Matt Squire (Boys Like Girls, Cute is What We Aim For) worked with the Arizona natives to produce their first full-length, and his bag of tricks is evident from the very beginning. Can't Stop Won't Stop starts off with the band's first single, "Everything I Ask For," an upbeat track about (what else?) being hopelessly dedicated to a girl. This lyrical theme continues throughout all 12 tracks, along with spices of "loving your friends" and "living the life." Nobody ever accused this band of being insightful or poetic, but who needs brainpower when you are too busy bobbing along with the sweet melodies, windows down, headin' to the beach - which is exactly what this album is most suited for.
The second track, "We All Rock Along," is a drawn-out anthem for "living in the moment." Between John O'Callaghan singing like he has a mouthful of water, and the obnoxious electronic ticking randomly peppered into the song, this one could have been left off of the track listing. Luckily, one of the more enjoyable tunes from the disc is quick to follow. "Girls Do What They Want" is another upbeat song (anyone sensing a pattern?) complete with bouncy drums and echoed background vocals.
After the fourth track begins, the lack of musical variation becomes even more obvious. The first four cuts could basically be the same song, extended to great length. The drums sound the same on every track (bouncy high-hat, whiney guitars, reverbed background vocals) and the subject matter is nearly identical on every song, too: a girl who is perfect but terrible for you at the same time. "Into Your Arms" spices it up a bit with a piano intro, but quickly loses the touch and falls back into the mix like the others. By the halfway mark, you have picked up on two things: Matt Squire loves voice distortion, and John O'Callaghan really needs to get laid.
"This Is The End" is the same as the first half's selection, but the following track is where things really get interesting. "Whoever She Is" is actually different, and to be honest, I am a big fan. It starts out with simple vocals and an acoustic guitar, and as the song progresses, the vocals stay simple - no crazy auto-tuned computerization, and only a little bit of the echoing backgrounds. At about the halfway mark, a light sprinkle of piano makes an appearance for the chorus and it's just the right touch. While the lyrics don't become anymore impressive, they're sure to be a hit with girls looking for a new Myspace quote.
"Count Em One, Two, Three" is the only song off of the EP to make it onto the album, and it sounds like an electrified version of the original (which is good if you like that sort of thing). Notably absent from the song however is O'Callaghan's infamous "reach out and touch" lines and the "moan" which are instead replaced with a more G-rated verse.
"Kiss and Sell" is a slowed-down version of the first half of the album, and "You Left Me" sounds straight out of Forever the Sickest Kids' lineup. This song doesn't really fit in with the rest of the album, seeing as the rest of the CD is all the same song. Seriously, you can practically hear Jonathan Cook on the "whoa-ohs" following the chorus (thanks Matt Squire). Closing number "We'll All Be..." is a slightly country-sounding track about friends and being happy with your friends and because of your friends and whatnot; it's a good note to end the album on, slow and happy, with a little harmonica to freshen things up a bit and that speckling of piano again.
This album is two things: one, it's a group of young guys playing trendy music, and two: it's a great album for the warm summer nights driving around with your friends. It's not bunch of things: it's not original, it's not lyrically profound, and it's not going to change the face of music. I'm pretty sure the members know this, although they did try to convince everyone that the leak was not the finished version of the album. Regardless, if you like one song, you'll like them all. If you hate one song, check out "Whoever She Is" and see if that can change your mind.