My Spotify Wrapped and listening report has revealed something about me I didn’t realise before: I listen to a lot of Mayday Parade. I couldn’t tell you why since I thought I’d left behind my edgy angst phase back in 2014, but it seems as though some things never change. Mayday Parade is a Floridian band well known for their emotional and heartfelt music. Their sophomore self-titled album seems to make several appearances amongst my playlists, so I thought I’d sit down and listen to it in its entirety to see what I think of it now with valid reasons to feel angsty.

  1. Oh Well, Oh Well

The vocals accompanied by the simple piano chord progression sets the tone for the album that shifts to the more punchy part when the drums and guitars kick in. I find the melody quite catchy, and I’m no stranger to singing along to it when I’m in the car. The bridge going into the last section of the song is maybe my favourite part (second to the opening) just because of how simple the chant is and how raw it sounds.

  1. No Heroes Allowed

I love the guitar solo at the beginning. The addition of the strings in the second verse adds much-needed flavour. I can’t help but think the drum parts in this song (and others) is a tad boring and uncreative. The guitar solo in the bridge rectifies this but still, as a drummer, I can’t ignore how boring that part is.

  1. When You See My Friends

At this point, it becomes clear that the songs in this album have a certain formula where the vocals and an instrument are isolated until the first chorus begins and all the instruments are playing together. It’s still catchy, though. The ending of the song makes a much-needed change where it quietens down to just the vocals and an acoustic guitar – this adds a different dimension to the emotion of the song that makes it much more complete.

  1. You’re Dead Wrong

The formula is back. Shocking. Although the addition of the piano in the chorus adds something different to this song. This song isn’t as punchy as the others, rather opting for a melodic vibe, which is a much-needed change. I’m also a sucker for a chanting/singing chorus part to any song. The guitar solo is also worth commending. The drums are still boring, though.

  1. Priceless

A break from the formula! We’re utilising the whole band from the beginning. Can somebody tell if each song is about the same relationship? Because if so, they need a hug. The sudden break where it cuts to very somber vocals and acoustic guitar adds valuable intrigue and interest.

  1. Stay

Probably my favourite song from the album, considering how many times my tells me I’ve played it. The piano takes the mainstage in this song and is particularly strong and lovely in the first verse. The drums are also doing something slightly different. It’s no wonder this song was a single. With the way it’s structured, especially with not swelling until around the 2-minute mark, makes this song more of a story with its musical turns rather than seem like a filler song with overused structure. The drums finally get isolated in a way that blends well into the next track.

  1. Call Me Hopeless, but Not Romantic

This song is just punchy the whole way through. It’s a tad generic. You know it’s alternative if the title is unnecessarily long (1/4).

  1. A Shot Across the Bow

The tinkling of the piano throughout this similarly punchy song makes it more interesting. I like the melody in this one as it’s much catchier. I’ve not mentioned the dual vocals so far, so I’ll do so here. In this song, in particular, I think they work well together. The harmonies work well with their voices.

  1. Everything’s An Illusion

This song does well working with the full band, even if it isn’t as punchy as the others. There are more interesting movements in this song with which instruments are used when. Mayday Parade shines better in these less punchy songs since they tend not to resort to the same formulaic structure.

  1. I’d Rather Make Mistakes Than Nothing At All

This song blends with the other punchier songs for me. You know it’s alternative if the title is unnecessarily long (2/4).

  1. Without the Bitter the Sweet Isn’t as Sweet

I’m a sucker for a ballad. Mayday Parade does ballads well. Who am I to criticise? This track’s structure is a highlight as only until the latter half of the song does it pick up a pace but no so much that it takes away from the sentimental vocals. You know it’s alternative if the title is unnecessarily long (3/4).

  1. Happy Stories Are Stories That Haven’t Ended Yet

A perfect theatrical finish to the album. I kind of wish there was a better transition from the previous track to this one but that’s a minor nit-pick. The trap they could’ve fallen into is doing a similar structure to the previous track, but this song shifts away from it in favour of using their assets differently. The melancholy yet hopeful guitar solo is a highlight for me. The simple ending works well for the song and the album as a whole as it encapsulates the simple nostalgic yet melancholic vibe of the whole album. You know it’s alternative if the title is unnecessarily long (4/4).

Final Thoughts

Mayday Parade shines best in their more melodic songs or their ballads. Their louder, more aggressive songs aren’t my cup of tea since they tend to blend in my head as they don’t vary much between them. Although, it’s to be expected that LPs have a few songs that bore audiences. Whilst they’re not wordsmiths, they do a good job in making you feel their raw, heartfelt emotion. They’ve progressed from their earlier work in this album and go on to progress in later albums such as Monsters in the Closet (2014). This album starts strong and ends strong, with only a few hiccups along the way. Despite my critiques, I know, deep down, that I’ll probably keep listening to them.