Lovely Little Lonely
Release: April 7, 2017
At 12:30 A.M. Eastern Time, The Maine’s sixth studio album reached second place on the iTunes alternative chart and drummer Pat Kirch celebrated the news on Twitter. Lovely Little Lonely marks their 10th year as band and fourth independent release through 8123, which it makes it even more incredible to see how much people still genuinely care for the band. This love is easily justifiable, though, because The Maine keeps growing and putting out strong material.
Before the release on April 7th, the band had already shared three tracks: the first single “Bad Behavior”, reminiscent of American Candy’s “English Girls“; the moody “Black Butterflies and Déjà Vu”, an easy sing-along song; and the anthemic “Do You Remember? (The Other Half of 23)”, arguably the weakest tune on the record.
The best tracks from Lovely Little Lonely are the first and last tracks, “Don’t Come Down”, and “How Do You Feel?” – nothing new here, though. The Maine have been writing strong openers and closers throughout their career, from Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’s “We’ll All Be…” to American Candy’s “Another Night on Mars”, and Pioneer’s “Identify” to Forever Halloween’s “Take What You Can Carry”. What comes in between, however, is the most cohesive set of songs the band has ever released.
Every song fits perfectly next to the other as if they were a continuous piece (as albums should technically be); and, when they don’t, the interludes “Lovely” and “Little” provide a perfect flow between contrasting tracks. To be fully appreciated, this album needs to be listened to from front to back at least once.
Sonically, Lovely Little Lonely falls somewhere in between Pioneer (2011) and American Candy (2015). Both albums were also produced by Colby Wedgeworth. However, there’s not one single song that could fit on the previous records: no reworked discarded tracks or forgotten demos. What LLL shows is a struggle between upbeat and more vibe-y tracks, trying to experiment and wanting a pop-sounding production, darker lyrics and cheerful sounds.
Lyrically, it may be the band’s weakest work in a few years. There are highlights, of course, such as “The only thing I’m really sure of, I’m unsure of almost everything” from “I Only Wanna Talk to You” and “When you asked me “Is the sadness everlasting?” / I pulled you closer, looked at you and said “Love, I think it is” from “Taxi”. In general, though, they are focusing on relationships and all that surround them. It’s fine: everyone writes about love and vocalist John O’Callaghan still makes feelings sound better than most people in the music industry. Nevertheless, the odes to being young and even the social commentary from American Candy are missing, as well as the striking pain and doubt from Forever Halloween (2013).
Six albums in, one thing about The Maine remains: they are not going to release the same things twice. They work too hard and care too much about their fans to not try their best every single time. And, for that, they should be praised.