The Maine – Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
July 8, 2008
What It Sounds Like: The textbook definition of teenage pop-punk / pop-rock.
Quickly, before we type anything else, let me show you what The Maine looked like back in 2008 when they released Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, their debut record:
Who’s going to throw the first stone? Hurry up and get to it, because this rock in my hand is getting heavy, and I don’t know if I can resist much longer.
I’m sure we can all agree: the photo above is horrific. It’s the reason that anyone over the age of eighteen loves to hate on pop-punk. Straightened hair. Throwing up the peace signs while wearing your big sunglasses (I think he deserves the rock the most). Matching outfits, for crying out loud? These dudes weren’t doing much to help themselves here.
Now, as we turn the tables to the music and lyrics instead of simply judging the book by its cover, we find two very interesting concepts. One you were expecting, and one you probably weren’t:
The lyrics, as you probably expected, are laughable, cringe-worthy, and for another textbook definition: trying way too hard. But again, look at their target audience. Fifteen year old girls at Warped Tour. Despite, of course, one ill placed line in this record that describes a perfect girl as one who keeps up on current affairs / Prada is what she wears. Most fifteen-year-olds can afford Prada, right? They’re also big fans of going to the bars that they are able to get into and get served, from what I’ve heard…
Now the music, in a nice surprise, is actually quite listenable and catchy at times, if this is the style that you are looking for. They’re not reinventing the wheel by any stretch of the imagination, nor should they try to. These are kids, and this pop-punk wheel is about as round and smooth as you can make it. To their credit, they did write all the music here, so you have to give them a nod for that one. However, the second half of the record starts to get repetitive – as do most pop punk records (you can only rehash the same idea so many times before the jig is up), but there are some certain standouts here that give this band a little more hope than simply being a flash in the pan. Everything I Ask For, Girls Do What They Want, I Must Be Dreaming…this is what middle-school pop-punk should sound like sonically when it’s written well.
Alright, that was a nice voyage into the semi-positive for a minute. Let’s dive into some of these lyrics that are gonna make these guys do the facepalm later in life:
She wears red when she’s feeling hot
I have her but it’s all I got
She looks best without her clothes
I know it’s wrong but that’s the way it goes…
Fist fights turn into sex
I wonder what comes next
She loves to always keeps me guessin’
-from Everything I Ask For
There was a new girl in town.
She had it all figured out.
And I’ll state something rash.
She had the most amazing….smile.
I bet you didn’t expect that.
But she made me change my ways.
With eyes like sunsets baby.
And legs that went on for days.
-from Into Your Arms
Another party with the same kids
Another night with the same drinks
I need to find myself a new chick
I need to kiss a set of new lips
-from Kiss And Sell
You count em’ one, two three
You look so cute when you get that mad
You drain the life from me and it feels oh so good
The looks you give are so contagious
The way we move is so outrageous
Just let me in
Just let me in
Let’s make it look right
So stay up and get down
Sleep’s just time spent wasting time
So get down, get down
Let’s make it happen all night
-from Count ‘Em One Two Three
We could keep going for a while, but I’m sure you’ve gotten the idea by now. If you were fronting a band, would you want to be singing that stuff? I didn’t think so. But again, the music by itself – is pretty decent! If you’re looking for straightforward, pop-punk done by teenagers trying desperately to appeal to that certain demographic – it’s the genre you’ve got here – than you’ve found a record that will serve you well. We can’t rate this record too high though (could you possibly guess the reason?), but you certainly could do worse. Call it a guilty pleasure in some cases as well, because when I listen to Everything I Ask For, that’s exactly what it is.
If you had to listen to two tracks: Everything I Ask For / Girls Do What They Want