“Everything is temporary, even the sorrow that you carry.”
The Maine’s much anticipated album, “You Are OK,” dropped last weekend following weeks of teasers and posts made via the band’s social media accounts. Snippets of songs and lyrics were released to increase the hype surrounding the album. However, these posts also encouraged others as they all included the tagline, “You are OK … but if you aren’t right now, you will be soon.”
With this album, the band truly conveyed this encouraging message to their fans, hoping that the music they shared can help or offer some form of escape
The album starts off strong with a chorus of harmonies backed by a powerful string section, immediately letting the listener know that this record is going to be different from any of the more acoustically-driven music the band has tended to do in the past. This first song, “Slip the Noose,” delves into the concept of a person nearly giving up, when they suddenly gain new-found meaning and a will for life, a very fitting beginning to the album.
The first half of this 10-track album continues to be fast-paced and includes electronic effects, further displaying the band’s experimentation with a slightly different sound. Unlike their two previous albums, “American Candy” and “Lovely Little Lonely,” which were fairly relaxed and had slower tracks throughout, “You Are OK” saves slower songs for the second half of the record. As a result, the first portion of the record sounds purposefully urgent with its tempo and messages.
It focuses on people finally coming into their own and confidently accepting who they are. They are unapologetic and fully embracing the parts of themselves others have told them to be ashamed of. This theme is clearly shown in the song “My Best Habit,” with the opening line, “To begin, I’m not sorry for myself or any part of me.”
There is a distinct shift once the album reaches its second half as the purely acoustic track “Forevermore” begins. However, this break in pace doesn’t last long as the very next track, “Tears Won’t Cry (SHINJU),” picks up speed again.
This half of the album approaches the theme of life being everchanging differently from the first half. Whereas the first five tracks were rather introspective and detailed moments of internal change, these last five songs more so focused on the external change occurring around us. These songs explored topics ranging from feelings of nostalgia and belonging to being reunited with loved ones.
With the last track, “Flowers on the Grave,” the record comes full-circle, full encompassing this theme of embracing who you are, who you are becoming and who life has turned you into. It reminds the listener to live in the moment and make the most of where they’re at, because time passes so quickly and circumstances are so transient –– hence the line, “Everything is temporary, even the sorrow that you carry.” This nine-minute track perfectly sums up the album and its overarching message, gathering any seemingly inharmonious parts of the album and making sense of them.
Although “You Are OK” somewhat differs from The Maine’s staple sound many are accustomed to, it holds true to the band’s style and reasoning for putting out music: to help those going through difficult times, and to show listeners they’re not alone.
This album may show us where The Maine is heading, in regards to sound and musical arrangement; however, knowing the unpredictability of this band, their next album may hold a different sound altogether.
Either way, The Maine only seems to be growing, and based off of their fans already positive reaction to “You Are OK”—singing along to every word of at the concerts—they seem to happily be along for the ride.