One of the first things I notice about Lovely Little Lonely, sixth studio album from The Maine, is its incredibly smooth and very deliberate construction. I don’t normally like to review track-by-track, but this album warrants an exception to the rule. For example, “Lovely”, “Little” and “Lonely” make up the album’s three title tracks, serving as creative interludes that allows the various moods and styles to flow together in a way that makes the album feel much more like a long, coherent thought process than a simple collection of songs.
The Maine have come a long way from the more traditional pop-punk leanings of 2008’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. The music on show here is very smoothly put together, experimenting with a variety of different sounds whilst still remaining consistent amongst itself. John O’Callagahn turns in some of his best work here, both lyrically and vocally. The band’s style has matured considerably alongside its members and makes for a surprisingly introspective album that should resonate with any twenty-something adult who sees thirty as a relentless oncoming train.
In this way, Lovely Little Lonely starts with some great catchy, upbeat tracks like “Don’t Come Down” and “Bad Behaviour”, the latter being one of my personal favourites of the album and relentlessly punchy. “Black Butterflies and Deja Vu” and “Do You Remember” are bigger, with plenty of kick behind them but while still managing to capture the emotive moments that define the album. “Black Butterflies” specifically uses its faster pace to enhance the story behind the song, the powerful frustration that comes from failing to “find the sound under my tongue.”
If Lovely Little Lonely is a reflection on life so far, then the opening arc is the youthful and fully energetic stage before it slowly becomes more and more introspective, with the growing maturity and the inevitable reflectiveness that comes with age. “Taxi” is an effective bridge between moods, a little softer and melancholic, whilst still retaining the ultimately pleasant feel present in the previous tracks.
“Do You Remember” and “The Sound of Reverie” are a key moment in the album’s overall arc, when youth becomes something more in the past that you need to fight to keep a hold of. Both are big, fun tracks that successfully capture the mid-twenties feel of making sure not to grow up quite yet. “Lost in Nostalgia” doesn’t leap out quite so much, not quite an interlude in the way that the album’s title tracks are and acting more as an epilogue to “The Sound of Reverie”.
“I Only Wanna Talk To You” is where The Maine take a much more melancholic tone, with an almost “Wonderwall”-esque feel to its sound and a sense of utter confusion about the future; “Yesterday I said tomorrow I learned today tomorrow can’t be saved.” It’s not my favourite track, but fortunately it provides a strong lead into “How Do You Feel?”, an effectively introspective track that brings the album and its varying themes to an ultimately hopeful conclusion: “Give me your voice and I’ll give it a listen.”
Check out Lovely Little Lonely on Spotify or head over to iTunes.
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