A Merry Christmas to all…: A brief review of “…And to All A Good Night” by The Maine

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Photo source: https://www.themaineband.com/album-marketing/

It’s that time of year again. The same holiday tunes we have heard every year since our birth inundated us yet again. From TV commercials on TV to the radio and grocery stores, I’m sure you will catch “Let It Snow” more than once this season.

Now I’m not trying to be a modern-day Grinch. I’m not really against Christmas music. However, I do enjoy a bit of a respite from the monotony of traditional holiday tunes with something that still embraces the season and fits in like a crackling fire.

Luckily for me, one of my favorite bands has released their second holiday single and B-side that perfectly fits the bill. But be warned: while these wintry songs may aesthetically match a holiday theme musically, but “…And to All a Good Night” from The Maine doesn’t exactly bring on festive cheer.

“I’m having trouble sleeping like a child on Christmas Eve/ I’m restless in the night like the lights upon the tree.”

Even tingled with sadness, “Winter Means Nothing (Without You)” is an achingly beautiful song. It is a melancholy love song about the loneliness that accompanies the winter season when you have a broken heart.

12.25 follows a similar trajectory in lyrical content and musical sound. In fact. If I were going to offer any criticism, it would be that both songs on the single are thematically so similar.

“Snow falls in the quiet city/ while a fire burns inside/ and I’m wrapped up in a feeling/ got you wrapped up in my mind.”

So if you’re looking for a little break from “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “All I Want For Christmas is You,” look no further than “…And to All a Good Night” by The Maine.

 

Pop Genealogy: Harry Styles

The date was August 23, 2015. It was a day in which the collective blood ran cold in millions of fans of the British-Irish boyband One Direction. However, while there was despair abound, there was also hope. Fans were left to anticipate what the members’ solo music would yield. I personally had my bets on one horse in particular: Harry Styles. Styles had always been a stand out voice and personality in the group. For years there have been rumblings from fans that Styles was destined to be the Justin Timberlake of One Direction. Jill O’Rouke from Alloy was writing about it in 2014 saying, “I think Harry’s solo career will look different from Justin’s from a musical standpoint since he seems to have a different style. But he’s still got the pipes and the charisma.” To a degree, she was pretty accurate. With Styles’ newfound creative control, he leaned more onto sounds of 1970s rock than on the more traditional, radio-friendly released of his One Direction counterparts.

Pink Floyd

From the very first track on the record, we have glaring similarities between “Meet Me In The Hallway” and Pink Floyd’s “Breathe.” The chords are similar, and the songs both share the same rich bass tone, and vocal reverbs. “Breathe” has much more going on, with dramatic ambiance and slide guitars, but while “Meet Me In The Hallway” is a much more stripped back tune, the same feeling of ambiance still hangs in the space between its components.

Elton John

Harry Styles’ song “Woman” isn’t a far cry from Elton John’s classic “Bennie and the Jets” from the initial piano/guitar stabs that kick off both songs. Additionally, both songs employ repetitive consonant hooks between “Buh-Buh-Buh-Bennie and the Jets” and Styles’ “Wuh-Women.”

The Rolling Stones

When “Only Angel” starts, its ambient organ, operatic vocal swells and delicate piano lead you to think you’re in for “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” In reality, at the 53-second mark, we’re into a Rolling Stones strut more akin to “Bitch”. The lyrics illustrate similar sexually fueled relationships. Where The Stones sing: “When you call my name / I salivate like a Pavlov Dog,” Styles’ illustrates similar as he  “Broke a finger knocking on your bedroom door / I got splinters in my knuckles crawling cross the floor.”

 

Works Cited for this post can be found here.

Mainstream Monday: John Mayer’s “A Search For Everything: Wave One”

I am a long-time fan of John Mayer, so when he announced his return to pop music last year, I was pumped to see what he would bring forward after 2 albums that were very different from the sound that had made him famous.

Just after the new year, John Mayer announced that he would be breaking the mold for his upcoming release. He would be releasing the album four songs at a time every month and with that, Wave One hit streaming sites on January 20.

I’ll admit, it took me a while to get around to listening to Wave One. Something about the incomplete release seemed to suspend my enthusiasm as if the limited release made it illegitimate and so I simply kept forgetting that there even WAS new John Mayer music to listen to. However, once I remembered and took a listen, I was very pleased and reinvigorated for more.

Moving On and Getting Over

Moving On and Getting Over reminds me of a more subtle and subdued version of one of my favorite John Mayer songs to date, “Perfectly Lonely” from his 2009 release “Battle Studies”. I think this might be my favorite track from the four released in Wave One. The chattering guitar reminds me of why I’ve loved him as a guitarist for so long.

 

Changing

This song about embracing the fact that we are ever-changing and growing as people calls back to more recent releases such as “I Will Be Found (Lost At Sea)” from “Paradise Valley”. A release that took on a more folk timber, this tracks influence speak to the fact that John Mayer’s music truly is always changing.

Love On The Weekend

My impression of this record so far is an amalgamation of new JM and old, this one reminding me very much of a much older record. This reverb-infused tune takes me back to the warm and fuzzy vibes from “Heavier Things”, especially the song “Clarity” and it’s sparse, but impactful piano lead.

You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me

This Paul Newman influenced track is a soulful piano ballad accompanied by subtle, swelling strings below a flowing melody and poetic lyrics.

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