It’s officially been a week since Mayday Parade released their latest album Sunnyland, and let me tell you: I HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO THIS NON-FREAKIN-STOP. This is easily going to be one of my top favorite albums of this year, so let me just delve into it and tell you what exactly it is I love about it.
For starters, I want to give a brief background on Mayday Parade. They have been a band for over a decade, and they have become so huge in the pop punk scene. Their debut EP, Tales Told By Dead Friends, launched them into the scene, and their first LP A Lesson In Romantics followed shortly after. Those albums are highly respected in the pop punk scene, and MP gained a cult following and was known for their pop punk riffs and well-created ballads.
In my opinion, their discography takes a dip between the years of 2013 and now, 2018 – mainly because those two albums just don’t resonate with me as all of their others. MP released their fourth studio album, Monsters In The Closet, in 2013. I liked it at the time, but over time I have found myself going back to their first couple of albums more. They announced in 2015 that they were dropping a new album, Black Lines, set to come out in October 2015. I hate to say this, but I think that album totally flopped. It was meant to be stripped down of production, giving it a more raw and angsty feel, and that just never really translated to me. A couple songs were alright, but that is one of the albums that I never come back to.
Despite this, I was excited upon hearing news that MP was releasing a new album this year. Once I heard the first single “Piece Of Your Heart,” I was instantly hooked. It felt like a more matured version of A Lesson In Romantics, something I didn’t know that I wanted at first but was so incredibly pleased when I heard it.
So what is it that makes this album spectacular? First and foremost, lead vocalist Derek Sanders has a great vocal performance throughout this entire album. Derek’s voice really shines on slower tracks, such as “Piece Of Your Heart,” “Take My Breath Away,” “Always Leaving,” and the title track “Sunnyland.” With the amount of slower tracks on this album (4/13) I would usually say that is too many “lulls” of an album, but it totally works for Mayday because that is a staple of MP. The soft gentleness of Derek’s voice is what really keeps these tracks moving instead of making them dull and uninteresting. On the other hand, he has some shining moments with more angst filled vocals, especially on tracks like “Is Nowhere” and “It’s Hard To Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerated By Bolts Of Lightning.” There’s a good balance on this album of slower, more hearty songs and songs that are filled with angst (some even politically motivated).
The instrumentals on this album are, of course, the other driving force of this record. The crashing chorus on “Is Nowhere” and catchy guitar riffs found on “How Do You Like Me Now” feel reminiscent of Black Lines, but as if Black Lines had been done better and was a little bit more put together. The guitar solo in “Satellite” showcases that MP is a band that isn’t just throwing together the same four chords that we all know sound good, but rather, are throwing in some classic rock elements (kind of reminds me of Joe Walsh of The Eagles, tbh). Slow acoustic tracks like “Take My Breath Away” and “Always Leaving” feature guitar chords that are actually interesting to listen to, as they offer a more twinkling sound that you can tell took a while to master.
Of course, there are some drawbacks to this album. MP played it safe with this album, not really offering anything that new from previous discography. I can’t really blame them too much, however, since I believe that Monsters In The Closet and Black Lines were their attempts at stepping outside of the box. These are typical songs that you would expect from them as a group, but as I stated before, it’s a more matured sound from when they first started in 2006. I personally like that they stuck to what they know, and if you enjoy early Mayday Parade, then you will most likely enjoy this. Songs like “Stay The Same” and “Satellite” kind of get lost and forgotten to me, but by no means are they “skipable.”
Overall, I think the album flows together well and I really enjoy it.