The Maine Says ‘You Are Ok,’ And You Should Listen

Natalie Dest, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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Universally loved throughout the scene, Arizona natives The Maine have finally commenced their new musical era to their fans after high anticipation. Latest record release “You Are Ok” introduces listeners to the band’s experiences on being human, creative experimentation, celebrating and embracing their differences with this newest release.

In their more than a decade-long career, this rock group has accumulated a fan base dedicated to their seven full-length studio albums, an acoustic collection and handful of EPs. Each record declares a different era, one with its own sound and different from the last.

Frontman and lead singer John O’Callaghan took to Instagram saying, “I want to tell you so many things about this album; about the struggle we had writing it, about the meaning of its title, and about the concept of it all, but all of that will come in due time…This is us for the first time, fully realizing a vision we had from conception to finished product. All hype aside, this is us making music, putting everything into it, and holding out heads up higher than we have ever before.”

With most previous release “Lovely, Little, Lonely,”  The Maine composed a cohesive record of pop-rock that was free flowing and a unique exploration of emotions. One easy to connect with, “You Are Ok” delivers a similar approach, with many tracks dedicated to anxiety, personal triumphs and times of overcoming desperation.

Kicking off the record is rock ballad “Slip the Noose,” a track balanced between orchestral strings and electric guitar. With the hints of bubblegum pop woven throughout the song, it almost sounds as if it could have been a sample from “American Candy,” the band’s 2015 LP.

However, it is one strong enough to commence the album, rightfully landing at track number one. The chorus is more than interesting, with the band singing in unison almost as a choir. With a hook that is infectiously catchy, “Slip the Noose” has the potential to be a summer anthem and possibly the next single off the album.

The band moves swiftly into the second track “My Best Habit,” a single that does anything but shy away from a typical record anthem. This song is meant to get you excited for the rest of the album, giving u a taste of the tracks that are destined to be performed to a live audience.

This anthem describes the celebration of being human, with all of the messy parts and all of the hurt. O’Callaghan sings the lyrics, “As a single tear falls to the ground, for the people that we are not now / If you’re not you, you’re everyone else / Who are you, who are you now?”

Following is “Numb Without You,” the first single off of “You Are Ok;” a righteous introduction to the new sound and distinction that makes The Maine. With a leading violin, this song is a dramatic, electronic pop-rock track that is meant to stick in your head.

Beginning the intimate, album release in NYC to a few hundred lucky fans on March 28, “Numb Without You” formally commenced the beginning of the era. Fans shared their first moment with the band singing the lyrics, “You are the violence in my veins, you are the war inside my brain / You are my glitter and my gloom, I am so numb without you.”

“I Feel It All Over” is a beautifully catchy track that continues the band’s theme of a delicate buildup to a bursting chorus. This particular track celebrates the enjoyment of spending the night with the one person you want to most, while at the same time highlighting the insecurities and defaults we find in ourselves.

O’Callaghan sings the lyrics, ” I swear to every god, I feel everything tonight with you / When you’re unwelcome in your skin it’s a symptom of the times, But there’s nothing left to lose when there’s nothing left to hide / And I swear to every god, I feel everything tonight with you.”

Upcoming track “Heaven, We’re Already Here” shows off O’Callaghan’s vocal and songwriting skills, including arguably the album’s strongest hook. With numerous building textures, the repeated strings and interwoven drums build to an explosive chorus with the frontman’s thrilling vocals. Being an almost five-minute song on the record, “Heaven” gives fans the celebration of youth with the lyrics “we will never be this young again, so full of fire and rebellion.”

“Forevermore” changes directions and gives the album the acoustic breather it needs. This track is a naked production that highlights O’Callaghan’s youthful muses, describing his honest longing for positive feelings of the present, as John confesses “I wanna feel like this forever, even if forever’s just for now…We are here and alive, in our corner of time, forevermore.”

“Broken Parts” lands as the third single, accompanied by orchestral instruments yet again, with additional electro synths. This track is one that is surprising to fans in terms of sound but heavily grows after a few listens.

This song, in particular, emphasizes the recurring theme of the album; to embrace our faults and mistakes, but to note that we can rebuild ourselves. Being one of the more sentimental and connecting songs on the record, O’Callaghan sings “Fractured in fragments, us fragile things / Falling to pieces, but we’re all the same broken parts.”

Concluding the album is “Flowers on the Grave,” an almost 10-minute track where the color and life of the album really reflects. With the base of an acoustic guitar matched with surrounding sounds, O’Callaghan symbolically buries his old self and moves on to the next stage of his life, a rather fitting ending to conclude the record in its full circle.

It’s easy to recognize that “You Are Ok” represents the latest and most powerful leap forward that The Maine has yet to take. Undergoing potentially the most creative and well-defined maturity in their music, this record eludes progress.

Continuing to push themselves and grow into a notable pop-rock machine, The Maine’s “You Are Ok” is a blossom of experiment with sound and sentiment, one deserving to take a listen to.