Let me start this off by being completely honest; I love The Maine. I love listening to their music, I go to their concerts, I buy the merch; I am a fan to my core. Forever Halloween is yet another shining example of why I am a fan.
They are a beautiful example of what a band should be. I have nothing against co-writers or musicians, or modern recording methods, but good god, isn’t it beautiful when a band goes back to basics? The Maine has done that and from the opening notes of the album (“Take What You Can Carry”), the classic feeling is strong. Bands like The Eagles, the Clash, or even Cheap Trick had an obvious impact on the creative gears behind Forever Halloween.
“Love & Drugs” has an amazing beat to it (thank you Pat Kirch), accompanied by the dazzling guitar skills of Jared Monaco and Kennedy Brock. It’s catchy and fun, with lyrics that read like poetry. It’s addicting (pun very much intended)
“Run” has become part of the soundtrack to my daily run. It’s quick, it’s got biting lyrics that make you push harder, all with excellent timing. The bass on this track—courtesy of Garrett Nickelsen—really brings it full circle, adding to the feeling it gives you, almost like a runner’s high itself. “Blood Red’ follows later in a similar vein; it makes you want to leg it down the road like your life depends on it.
“White Walls” conveys a desperation that can be a hit or miss for many musicians. For The Maine, this is their territory. They can narrate growing up with an ease that cannot be taught. “We bleed the same blood, you and me,” John O’Callaghan croons, while Pat Kirch joins in on drums in a style reminiscent of the Goo Goo Doll’s “Iris”.
Shifting from desperation to tongue-in-cheek nonchalance, The Maine launches into “Happy,” which is the anthem for anyone who is sick of feeling too much and trying to please everyone. It’s both sad and upbeat at the same time and has an irresistible energy to it that makes you want to blast it as you drive down the road, like a big middle finger to anyone who’s ever tried to put you in a box or tried to tell you to “cheer up, kid” when all you want to do is wallow or be angry.
John O’Callaghan shows off his narrative chops in “Birthday In Los Angeles,” which tells the story of Boy Meets Girl, in a very 500 Days of Summer way. The contrast between the sad, bordering on bitter lyrics with the beachy music makes the track that much more impressive.
“Kennedy Curse” has something about it that is very difficult to describe. It’s easy to connect to, and it’s wonderfully written and played, but there is something else that makes it almost mesmerizing. It’s the one I’ve been playing on repeat, letting the lyrics roll around in my head, and the music fill my ears and etch itself in my mind. Each note has a power to it, and a raw one at that.
“Fucked Up Kids” is the epitome of what people think of when they think of The Maine. It’s like “Growing Up: Part Two.” It’s beautiful and it’s real; it’s everything you feel driving with your friends at midnight on your way to do nothing but thinking about how great it will be to graduate and get away from your hometown. It’s the anthem for anyone who doesn’t know who they’re going to be or how they’re going to get there, but they’re going to do it their way. Once again, The Maine provides a unity amongst listeners that is slowly restoring my faith in humanity.
Much like “Sad Songs,” “These Four Words” is heart-wrenchingly stunning, but with piano that would make Sir Elton John green with envy. Each note hits hard, giving Adele some competition in the Break-Up Song Department.
The title track of the album is perfection and ends the album with the strength that it began. With a choir and a hypnotizing instrumental, “Forever Halloween” is pure quality, proving, once again, that The Maine is worthy of every bit of praise they receive.
Forever Halloween is a perfect addition to the band’s discography. Each album shows growth on their end, which is incredible to hear and to see as a fan. Please be sure to check out this album, because it truly is a masterpiece.