Review: Mayday Parade – Sunnyland

Almost everyone who went through a major emo phase loved Mayday Parade at some point or another. It’s a given. There wasn’t a MySpace page that didn’t have a quote from “Miserable At Best” or “Oh Well, Oh Well”. I’m the exception to this rule, per usual.

My “emo” phase (if you could even call it that) happened a lot later than most kids’ did. I wasn’t around the music scene for the heyday of many of these bands. I came in a little later: For example, I’m much more familiar with Paramore’s Brand New Eyes rather than All We Know Is Falling. In short, I was too young for the Golden Age of Emo, and therefore too young for Mayday Parade.

You can buy Sunnyland on Apple Music.

I never went through a Mayday Parade phase until today. I blasted through their entire discography to prepare myself for their sixth album, Sunnyland. Of course, I dabbled in their singles. You can’t have “Jamie All Over” without the word “jam,” now can you? I know a lot of diehard fans of Mayday, though, so I’ve definitely received expert secondhand knowledge. It’s enough to get me by.

Sunnyland starts with a track called “Never Sure.” I think it’s called this because I’m never sure whether I’m listening to “Melrose Diner” by The Wonder Years or a Mayday Parade song. That being said, it’s a great track and the perfect choice for an opener. This seems like a weird detail to hinge on, but I love the tone Derek Sanders’ vocals in the chorus. He truly shines on this album, whether he’s singing softly or really putting some growl into it.

The album continues with “It’s Hard to Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerated by Bolts of Lightning”, which just might be the longest song name released by a band who isn’t empire! empire! i was a lonely estate. I wasn’t a huge fan of this when it was released as a single. I had never listened to Black Lines since it was released in 2015, so I wasn’t used to a heavier sound from the band. It fits into the album very well, though, and I have a new appreciation for it.

The fourth track really stands out. “Is Nowhere” hits hard and seems to me to reference a toxic relationship. You think everything is great at the beginning, but after a while, true colors come out and the idea of the person’s (or even your own) perfection is shattered. “You smile while the symphony plays / And tell me music is your only escape / Well I don’t hear it anymore / So what do we do now?”

Mayday is probably best known for their heartbreaking ballads. “Miserable At Best”, “Stay”, “Terrible Things”, etc. I think the fifth track, “Take My Breath Away”, is a contender for that prize on Sunnyland. I love this track because it’s so delicate. It’s short, but it definitely stuck with me.

A low point on the album comes for me with “Stay the Same”. I think the chorus is a little bit weak, considering the rich lyrical quality of the verses and bridge. I know I’m really picky when it comes to lyrics, but I don’t think the chorus matches the imagery in the rest of the song. The opposite of a low point, though, is “How Do You Like Me Now”. Another intense track, it has nothing in common (thankfully) with the 1999 Toby Keith song of the same name. There’s a lot of things to think about in a lot of these songs, and the lines that really made me stop were the last three: “The hand you hold is letting go / The sunset is fading / So how do you like me now”.

“Satellite” is a cute track, but I feel like it’s a theme that’s been overdone in music lately. There are a lot of songs comparing love to outer space, and I think this track fell flat for me just based on that cliché. It’s a throwaway track in a sea of other really strong ones. It’s not a hindrance to what the album tries to accomplish, it just seems like an afterthought.

Interestingly, the album’s title has an explanation that we don’t get until the last two songs on the album. It ties everything together and makes the entire album more reflective than it appears before you get to the two final tracks. “Always Leaving” is a look back on the time they’ve spent away from their homes during their time as a band. Derek Sanders has a kid now and I have no doubt that this song was brought from the idea that his line of work forces him to miss out on things at home.

The final track, “Sunnyland”, talks about being kids and having the view that nothing could go wrong. Obviously, if you’ve listened to the rest of the band’s discography, you know that virtually everything went wrong in some way or another. Derek sings, “I left something important back in Sunnyland / And it’s something that I know I’ll never find”.

Sunnyland seems to be the name Mayday Parade created for the concept of nostalgia. They talked about old relationships, driving at night with friends, and playing baseball as kids. They’ve covered the theme in virtually every album they’ve released, but I think this is the first time they’ve really nailed it so heavily. This album is a fantastic piece of art. If emo was dead, Mayday Parade have singlehandedly raised it back to life.

4/5

by Nadia Paiva

kiel_hauckNadia Paiva has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.

Mayday Parade Announce New Album “Black Lines”

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Mayday Parade will make their return on October 9 to release their fifth full-length studio album, titled Black Lines. Released via Fearless Records, Black Lines is the follow-up to 2013’s Monsters in the Closet. Produced by Mike Sapone, Mayday Parade has hinted at a new sonic direction for the band. You can view the album artwork, track listing and a clip from the new album below:

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Track listing:

1. One Of Them Will Destory The Other (Feat. Dan Lambton)
2. Just Out Of Reach
3. Hollow
4. Letting Go
5. Let’s Be Honest
6. Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology
7. Narrow
8. Underneath The Tide
9. All On Me
10. Until You’re Big Enough
11. Look Up And See Infinity, Look Down And See Nothing
12. One Of Us

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Mayday Parade release “Monsters in the Closet” bonus tracks

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Today marks the release of the deluxe edition of Mayday Parade’s album Monsters in the Closet on Fearless Records. This deluxe edition features three brand new tracks from the band, which can be streamed below:

Monsters in the Closet was originally released last October. You can pick up the new deluxe edition on MerchNow and catch the band all summer long on this year’s Vans Warped Tour.

Which is your favorite of the new tracks? Let us know your thoughts in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Mayday Parade release “Hold Onto Me” music video

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Mayday Parade recently released a new music video for “Hold Onto Me”, the second single from their 2013 album Monsters in the Closet. In addition, the band is gearing up for the release of the deluxe edition of that same album, which is set to release May 27 on Fearless Records. Preorders are currently up at the band’s website.

You can check out the video for “Hold Onto Me” below:

What is your favorite song from Monsters in the Closet? Let us know in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Mayday Parade shares video announcement for 2014 Vans Warped Tour

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Amidst the recent 2014 Warped Tour lineup announcements are Florida rockers Mayday Parade. Check out their announcement video below.

Mayday Parade recently released their new album Monsters in the Closet on Fearless Records, which debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200. You can buy the album on iTunes.

What bands are you hoping to see announced for the 2014 Vans Warped Tour?

Mayday Parade release “Ghosts” music video

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Mayday Parade has released the music video for their new single “Ghosts” off of their latest release, Monsters in the Closet. The video can be seen below.

Monsters in the Closet was released on October 8th on Fearless Records and debuted at #10 on the Billboard 200, the band’s best debut week to date. If you haven’t had the chance, you can buy Monster in the Closet on iTunes.

Review: Mayday Parade – Monsters in the Closet

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It’s hard to fault Mayday Parade for doing what they do – even if you feel like you’ve heard it before. The Tallahassee pop rock outfit has made a name for themselves over the course of their career with the catchy melodies, punchy guitars, and snarky lyrics that define the genre they are a part of. What is clear, however, is that the band does it better than just about all of their contemporaries and has proved to be far more than a flash in the pop-punk pan.

If you’re not listening closely, you might be willing to write off their latest release, Monsters in the Closet, as formulaic. Indeed, it is certainly a Mayday Parade album, but the band is expanding in just the right ways without losing their identity (or the fan base that supports them). To call it safe or unimaginative would be to ignore the obvious talent the band’s members possess and the obvious passion they have for creating the best Mayday Parade album possible.

Throughout the album, it’s easy to spot the typical Mayday moments, but don’t miss the parts that make this album special: The Queen-esque intro to lead single “Ghosts”, the crunchy rock infused “Last Night for a Table for Two”, or the swirling guitars of “Nothing You Can Live Without, Nothing You Can Do About”. For as many expected moments as there are on “Monsters in the Closet”, there are just as many delightful surprises.

Not surprising though, is the band creating sugary, catchy hooks that stay stuck in your head for days. Take a listen to “Girls” or “Sorry, Not Sorry” to get your fix of Derek Sander’s attractive melodies and turn of phrase. Even better is Sanders’ performance on “Hold Onto Me” – a soft ballad that is pushed over the top with his pleading, passionate vocals and is instantly one of the best tracks in the Mayday Parade canon.

Fans of Mayday Parade rejoiced with the release of 2011’s self-titled record, which was supposedly a return to form. Instead, that record was just another step forward for a band that seeks to perfect its craft and carve its own niche in an oversaturated genre. If “Monsters in the Closet” is any proof, Mayday Parade could very well be around for a while and may outlast the majority of their peers. Call it unoriginal or formulaic if you wish – Mayday Parade has a clear sense of direction and appears to know exactly where they’re going.

4/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his imaginary pet, Hand Dog.  You can follow him on Twitter.