This week’s Friday Favorites is a little different. Instead of focusing on a band, I’m going even more specific: a favorite album—Mayday Parade‘s A Lesson in Romantics.
A Lesson in Romantics is a masterpiece. Let me break it down for you.
This album takes you through the whole range of emotions a relationship can bring, and it articulates these feelings so honestly. It’s like catharsis and indulgence and hope all rolled into 47 minutes of hard-hitting alt rock. Part of Mayday Parade’s style that I’ve especially appreciated, besides all the passion and emotions, is how the lyrics often reference singing or songwriting, but not in a cheesy, SexyBack sort of way. The songs are also well-done, in that the music and the lyrics are both written and performed well. It’s top-notch stuff.
The album itself has a sort of flow or narrative in the song order. The dreamy focus of the opening track, “Jamie All Over,” sets you up for the angry heartbreak of the next couple of tracks (“Black Cat” and “When I Get Home, You’re So Dead”). It’s not until “Jersey” that Derek Sanders and company let on just how much vulnerability there is behind the anger, but there’s no holding back by the time you hit “Miserable at Best” two tracks later.
But before every thought and tear is laid bare to a girl named Katie, the past is dealt with in “If You Wanted a Song Written About You, All You Had to Do Is Ask.” He’s burning letters and turning over pictures and addressing hurt and anger in a less attacking manner than the previous songs, and by the time “Miserable at Best” begins, you’re rooting for the guy. Which is a good place to be, considering the next song covers moving forward, conveniently titled “Walk on Water or Drown.”
All of this builds into “I’d Hate to Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About,” which is a song about, well, how difficult things can be, among other topics such as being “tongue-tied and terrified.”
Even so, “Take This To Heart” is probably my favorite song on the album (with “If You Wanted A Song…” as a close second). It’s full of uncertainty and hope and longing, and I love it. It also sets things up nicely for “Champagne’s for Celebrating (I’ll Have A Martini)” and all its “what ifs” and regret.
While I really enjoy “You Be the Anchor That Keeps My Feet on the Ground, I’ll Be the Wings That Keep Your Heart in the Clouds,” I had not seen the full title for months after listening to this album because it would not fit on my iPhone display. That’s the only complaint I have about the album, really—it took me awhile to learn all of the song titles.
Of course, I like the sometimes vague and probably unnecessarily lengthy song titles in their own merit because, to me at least, it feels like a throwback to one of my favorite albums in high school. That’s right, Panic! At the Disco’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. But that’s another article for another time (Perhaps a time to dance? Fine, I’ll stop with the not-so-clever jokes).