#4 – THE MAINE – GOOD LOVE: THE PIONEER B-SIDES [spotify]

(feat. track – “I’m Leaving” [spotify])

I don’t think I’d ever call The Maine my favorite band, and yet I seem to fall in love with everything they release. 2008’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop features the most consistent songwriting and catchiest melodies of the many neon pop albums which broke through that year. That December’s …And A Happy New Year featured “Ho Ho Hopefully,” a solid candidate for second-best holiday song to emerge from the power-pop-punk world (Fall Out Boy’s “Yule Shoot Your Eye Out” is #1, inarguably), one that’s endured in the years since as a fan (and scene) favorite. 2010’s transitional Black & White made my Top Ten for the year; the exceptional, experimental In Darkness And In Light EP would have ranked even higher, had it not been released in the last week of December. Similarly, it was only a December release that kept 2011’s mature Pioneer off of that year’s chart (it still managed to sneak its way into the Best Of The Rest). I’m fairly well convinced at this point that I’m The Maine’s biggest cheerleader (at least among folks who aren’t young enough to be actual cheerleaders), and yet I still somehow consistently underrate – and underestimate – the band.

I’ll have a lot more to say on why that might be in the fairly near future; I find The Maine fascinating not just for what they are but also for who they are, and why they are, and for what they represent. Until then, there’s plenty I’ve already written on them out there (see: every hyperlink in this post). Or better yet, just go listen to them; even without all the interesting context attached, the music speaks for itself. Good Love is as fine a rock and roll album as any released this year.

review of Good Love: The Pioneer B-Sides (published 10/09/12)