As if The Maine hadn’t entranced us enough with Forever Halloween (which has remained on the Alternative Press charts since its initial release), they went and made a deluxe version of the album, complete with new tracks. Needless to say, no one had to twist my arm to give it a listen.
The deluxe version of Forever Halloween starts off exactly the same, with the classic vibe riding high on “Take What You Can Carry.” One thing I love about deluxe albums? I can sing along to a majority of the tracks already; the surprises come at the end.
From “Love & Drugs” to the title track, the familiarity of the music has not made the album stagnant. In fact, listening to the album in full once again only refreshes my enjoyment, and even provides new insight into each song. For example, “Kennedy Curse” still has a raw power to it, but also a frustration; an agony and desperation that feels almost tangible. It’s when I listen once more that I allow myself to be more engaged by the narrative style that reads like a modern, coming-of-age tragedy.
Finally, the additional tracks kick off. “So Criminal” starts off in a style that reminds me very much of “Love & Drugs,” but with the boldness of naming names. Whoever Christina is, The Maine provide a narrative that brings her to life as a character. I love the reverb on the line “I cannot wait to see your face when you come crawling back to me,” which gives this song an element of “screw you, you’ll want me before I want you.” Once again, that rock and roll element comes into play, very much aided by the spectacular drumming skills of Pat Kirch.
“Vanilla” is anything but. With a bold, “I am one-of-a-kind” statement, this will soon become the anthem for people who feel like they’re being boxed in. It coincides perfectly with “Ugly On The Inside,” which the band released as a single. It’s calling out someone who judges another person who is unafraid to stand out and be generic. My only wish is that this song could have come out when I was thirteen. It would have been my ideal anthem. Perhaps this is just an indication of The Maine’s ability to act as a voice for many young fans who are struggling through adolescence, in the same sense that I found a voice through Simple Plan and other bands.
When The Maine’s new single got released, it seemed to blow up social media. “Ugly On The Inside” is a stunning call out to vapid, cruel people everywhere. I will admit that I have listened to this song probably more than a normal person should, but it is irresistible. The quality of John O’Callaghan’s vocal performance is impeccable.
“Bliss” blends in seamlessly with the rest of the songs, but has more of a 90’s alternative rock style. By the time the second chorus comes around, listeners will find themselves singing along as though they’ve known the song their whole lives. The guitars featured on this track are incredible, bringing the song full circle, and almost a tangible effect; Jared Monaco and Kennedy Brock seem to set a new standard every time.
The final track, “Ice Cave” has a moody, brooding, if not theatric, feel to it. There is a cold indifference (pardon the pun) that takes over, making the track sound very much like a classic you heard on the radio with your grandparents once upon a time. Rhythmically, this song has an edge that is all blues. Bass undertones (courtesy of Garrett Nickelsen) have a powerful effect, aiding the song in tying up the album nicely.
While Forever Halloween was near-perfect as it was, it is difficult to imagine the album without these extra songs now that they’ve been heard. The Maine continue to show growth and excellence as the years wear on.
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