The Maine - Can't Stop Won't Stop
Record Label: Fearless Records
Release Date: July 8, 2008
There will always be bands that really have the potential to make something good out of what has turned into a completely saturated musical genre. These bands seem poised to break the mold and take the music in a whole new and inspiring direction. I remember feeling that way about Cartel when I first heard their demos and saw their live show; I remember feeling that way about All Time Low when I saw grainy, distorted YouTube clips of them performing at little hole-in-the-wall venues in my home state of Virginia. Bands like these are fresh and new - something to inject a bit of life back into the music that I love. Another band that I held out some hope for were The Maine, although I wasn’t completely sold.
Honestly, I must say that prior to the release of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, I didn’t really care for The Maine. I heard their debut EP, The Way We Talk, and thought it wasn’t anything groundbreaking or new: the sound had been around for a while and the lyrical content is pretty on par with the rest of the genre. I expected a little more from the EP, but still held a sliver of hope for Can't Stop, Won't Stop. I was hoping that they’d mature a little bit – even though they are teenagers – and come into their own a tad bit more. Lead singer John O’Callagan has a nice voice for upbeat songs and even slower ballads, at times; it’s even quite powerful.
With all that being said, I am let down by the release of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. Of the twelve songs on the CD, ten of them follow the same lyrical structure as The Way We Talk EP – meaning they are about ‘this girl’ or ‘that girl.’ Pop-punk, or whatever title people give it, has turned sour with the outbreak of bubble gum bands. Lyrical content used to be held in high regard, but now all the songs we hear are about a broken heart or getting hammered with friends, even though the bands are rarely of age to understand the true meaning of a broken heart, nor are they old enough to consume alcohol or even get into a R-rated movie.
I expected The Maine to break the mold and be the next big thing, but as far as I can tell, that won’t happen - or at least it shouldn’t. The first three songs on the album “Everything We Ask For,” “We All Roll Along” and “Girls Do What They Want” are my favorite three tracks all for different reasons. To me, they seem to be different in their own way while the latter part of the album starts to run together. The entire album consists of relatively simple lyrics that we’ve all heard time and time again. The first three songs are nothing new, but I like them for what they are; they have good hooks and that’s usually the biggest thing for me. If a song doesn’t have a good hook - regardless of how powerful the lyrics might be - I find myself drifting. After the third song, I just lost interest in the project.
But, since listening to it the first time, I’ve given the album two more thorough listens and I’m not much happier with the outcome. Producer Matt Squire (Cute Is What We Aim For, Boys Like Girls) does what he’s supposed to do with the music he was given, but aside from that... it’s nothing to write home about (Chris Lord-Alge also mixed two tracks and I must say that I think he did a great job). As far as the rest of the album goes, I’d be pushing it to say many other good things about it. In a completely watered-down genre where it seems a new band emerges everyday, I really wanted to like this album for obvious reasons. When the music stopped, I instantly forgot about it.
So all the hype around this band and around this full-length, to me, seems unwarranted. Until they provide concrete, substantial music like The Startling Line, listeners will have to settle for a Kenny Vasoli knock-off. For some people, especially fans of The Maine, that will be good enough. For me, however, it’s not.
I dig this CD... but I also understand how people wouldn't. On another note might want to change the track titles. They're "Everything I Ask For" and "We All Rock Along." Nevertheless still good support behind the opinions.