Sound — 6
In a modern music world where many bands in the pop-punk genre are accused of sounding too similar, very few bands stand out and really make a name for themselves, to obtain an identity, and not be 'just one of those bands'. The Maine, an very, very young Arizona quintet, are lucky to be early enough in their career that this goal is still fathomable. However, on their debut, Can't Stop, Won't Stop, they demonstrate a bit of the potential needed, but fall short on uninspired, cliche lyrics. The band found some success with the hit single The Way We Talk, released on the EP of the same name, and playing the Vans Warped Tour this year. They also managed some fame in their 'Punk Goes Crunk' cover of I Wanna Love You, by Akon. Musically speaking, The Maine have a straightforward approach, the guitars range from heavily distorted, to acoustic. The bass lines tend to follow the rhythm guitar and never stray off. The drums do their job, keeping the beat, nothing more. But in order to break out of their current scene and become a heavy-hitter of their cluttered genre, they may want to rethink the formula they have adopted so far.
Lyrics — 5
Lyrically, Can't Stop, Won't Stop contains hooks and verses you could find in any given Cute Is What We Aim For. Lyricist/vocalist John O'Callaghan's pen-to-paper results are rarely clever or thought provoking; in fact, you can almost predict the consequent line at times. The subject matter stays static throughout the album ranging from seeing the girl for the first time, to how I feel about the girl, to sex with this girl to the inevitable dealing with why the girl left me, and some party time thrown in for good measure. It's all a sense of deja entendu, in the 'heard before' literal meaning, not in a not-so-obscure reference to Brand New. O'Callaghan's vocals can sometimes resemble those of Kenny Vasoli of The Starting Line/Person L, which isn't a bad thing. His voice is sometimes the saving grace of the album, carrying the dull lyrics in interesting melodies over the rest of the band.
Overall Impression — 7
The Maine are lucky that they are still very young, and not far into their career. They can draw parallels to bands like Boys Like Girls or Cute Is What We Aim For, both lyrically and musically. Their straightforward music and relatable, although uninspired lyrics will appeal to the fans of any of the aforementioned bands, and most likely already do. Overall, nothing new here, just one of those bands. Oddly enough, despite all the faults I found and all the negative comments, this album, in its entirety, remains on my iPod. I firmly believe there are 3 kinds of musical consumers; the superficial listener, who isn't knowledgeable about music, and listens to music purely because they like the way it sounds; the 2nd being musicians that indulge themselves on the amount of work needed to not only write the music and lyrics for an album they listen to, and the 3rd being a combination of the two. I feel I fall into the last category. I like to listen to bands like Brand New because of the lyrical quality and overall sound, and yet. I can listen to The Maine and all their poppy counterparts, simply because the music is catchy and is just easy to listen to. Depending on who you are, The Maine do their genre good justice, but just don't bring anything new to the musical table.