Whether you love them or hate them, the one thing that I don’t think anyone can deny about The Maine is that they are constantly growing. They are a dynamic band, with each album building on the last. American Candy is the latest in a long line of impressive efforts.
As of late, especially with Pioneer and Forever Halloween, The Maine have shown a movement away from their pop-punk roots and have steadily progressed into darker and grittier territory. American Candy represents a move back to their pop-ier roots without loosing the more mature rock sound they have been cultivating over the past several years.
The album kicks off with the second single, “Miles Away.” They really couldn’t have picked better singles to represent the album and its melt of old and new styles than “Miles Away” and “English Girls.” They are upbeat, somewhat sugary pop tunes, but they have the guitar and drumbeat of real rock n’ roll.
Through all the sugar comes “24 Floors,” a song that reminds us that the John O’Callaghan of Forever Halloween has not left us completely. It is a dark tale told through an acoustic ballad from the point of view of a man about to jump off the edge of a building. In a similar vein comes O’Callaghan’s self-reflective tunes in the form of “Am I Pretty” and “My Hair,” the latter of which also serves as a giant middle finger to critics stating “I don’t care if you all care/its on my head and its not your hair,” a thinly veiled metaphor for their own music.
A personal favorite of mine is the title track, which seems to be a commentary on the media and how we allow it to think for us. Not only does it have a good melody, but the lyrics are interesting and thought provoking.
This was a really strong album. The Maine have steadily improved with every album they’ve released since Can’t Stop Won’t Stop and American Candy is no exception.