It seems like almost forever since The Maine released new material and this album was definitely a long time coming. With the addition of the boys going on a media blackout during the recording process of the album, I think the anticipation for this record hit an all time high. First and foremost, the marketing and promotion during the lead up to the release has been an interesting and beyond successful concept. Choosing to adapt a blue colour theme for the whole lead up, among other promotion, the band members have uploaded all new Instagram content using a blue filter and created a somewhat temporary logo of six colour blocks - each in a different shade of blue - posted weekly, each block disappearing week by week and representing one week closer to the release.
As someone who briefly studied advertising in college but who actually has a bit of an interest in this side of things - anything that's different - I thought this whole concept was beyond amazing. And, to celebrate the release day of the album, the band hosted a 24 hour live stream of them all promoting the album by putting on a free show, hosting a pop up merch shop and much more - all whilst including behind the scenes footage of them all. This was also a little nod to the way they promoted a much older album - Black And White - where they also hosted '24 hours with the Maine'.
My initial thoughts during my first listen of American Candy where that this was a side of The Maine I did not know, but still really loved. Although I was not yet a fan of them when they first came onto the scene with a pop punk sound, I've known the band to release anything from upbeat to deep and dark music before. But somehow they've brought a whole new sound entirely to this album and it's a sound that is sophisticated and grown up whilst still being a lot of fun.
In short, this album is filled with tracks I could easily imagine being played on mainstream radio or on a soundtrack of a movie. That's not to say that they have lost their sound or the genre that I believe them to produce from, simply that this music is more versatile and that I feel will probably gain them a bunch of more fans.
There is a lot of rock music we all love and even when not obviously different, we couldn't quite imagine hearing it played on a radio station among the likes of Katy Perry, One Direction or even You Me At Six. I feel almost any song from American Candy can easily slip in there.
More importantly, they have kept to their roots. I really don't know how they do it, like most bands, I have no idea how they continue to improve and explore their sound and experiment but still keep something that will always represent them. But alas, the band have done it once more. This album still has the typical 'Maine' sound we love so much and I think that's pretty damn impressive.
This album has a real mix of songs. Miles Away and English Girls are without a doubt those easy listening songs that you can boogie along to or sing along to in your car. 24 Floors is easily an anthem to everyone and anyone who may need that particular type of anthem at that particular point in their life. It's a song that bridges the gap between their previous slightly darker album to this one, and gives this album a subtle and more serious note, along with (Un)Lost and American Candy. Am I Pretty? and Diet Soda Society are two songs that I know will speak to everyone and I know many people will relate to these two a lot.
Finally, another song worth mentioning is Another Night On Mars. An ode to all the bands friends, family and good time memories, this is the type of song I've found has secured a regular place on most of their albums. Almost every one of their records have a song that I think is written not for the record or for the fans. It's the type of song that you can imagine was written jamming with their closest friends and is a bonus track added just because it's so damn good. It's a representation of good times and never grows old, even though it's a theme regularly touched upon among albums. There are other excellent songs of course, but these particular ones are the ones I have come to understand the most in the short time since the release of the record.
American Candy is a record that is already a firm favourite and an album I know I can easily get my friends listening to. On the first play, it does sound like it's easy listening, and that anyone can enjoy it. But after more listens, as you study and dissect each lyric, you'll come to find that it's just as deep and powerful as previous material. And, of course, it's still The Maine through and through.
Overall, I think in comparison to their other albums, American Candy is all about loving yourself and having a good time. There are still some underlining tones to the album approaching different issues too of course. But for me, it's main message conveys that you shouldn't care what other people think and that whatever you feel - whether that's lost and alone or bored and wanting to just get away - it's all okay. You shouldn't let other people or the media influence you into thinking anything other then what you feel.
You can purchase American Candy for £6.99 on iTunes.