Mayday Parade is a band that showed a lot of promise and talent from the very beginning with the release of their EP, Tales Told By Dead Friends, but not many people, myself included, knew how great their work would become. A Lesson In Romantics soon became one of my favorite albums of all time and exponentially increased my interest in their future. However, it was not meant to be. Jason Lancaster, the band’s lead songwriter and co-lead singer, left after disagreements with the rest of the group could no longer be ignored. From there, things went slightly downhill.
Mayday Parade recently released its sophomore album, Anywhere But Here, an album that echoed the greatness of their debut, but was unable to fully capture its mastery due to Lancaster’s departure. Lead singer Derek Sanders certainly did his part and more in the band’s second release, and it was a respectable album, but it is undeniable that Mayday Parade’s prime was founded in the great dual vocals that set the band apart from the vast majority of alternative and pop punk rock music today.
Although A Lesson In Romantics is not Mayday Parade’s most recent release, reviewing this album is essential not only to appreciate how great this band was and could have been, but also to understand Mayday Parade’s present and future.
“Jamie All Over” starts it off on a great note. The band wastes no time in showing listeners that they are vocally stellar, with very appealing singing and wailing from both Lancaster and Sanders. The vocal talent is best displayed at the end of the song when both singers harmonize while singing their respective part of the chorus. This kind of song you just need to listen to in order to understand how catchy and appealing it is.
“When I Get Home, You’re So Dead” was easily the best song of Mayday Parade’s EP, so it’s no surprise that the superior revamped version is the best A Lesson In Romantics has to offer. Some Spanish guitar leads the song off before it erupts into one of the heavier songs on the album, but “heavy” for Mayday Parade should not scare any casual rock listeners away. It’s a stylish song with stinging lyrics about a cold-hearted girl. Mix that with great guitar from Alex Garcia and Brooks Betts, bass from Jeremy Lenzo, drumming from Jake Bundrick, and dual harmonizing and you get Mayday Parade’s best song.
“Miserable At Best” is a close second for that top spot, however. This song displays Lancaster’s songwriting prestige and the band’s ability to craft a powerful and heartfelt ballad accompanied by some brilliantly emotive piano. The heartbreaking sentiment of getting through life after losing love makes for an incredibly touching and affecting piece of music, especially when Lancaster and Sanders swoon: “I can live without you but without you I’ll be miserable at best.”
“Walk On Water Or Drown” is a pristine example of Mayday Parade’s knack for immediately drawing listeners in with catchy guitar, harmonizing vocals and fervently splendid lyrics. This song is just too fun and easily likable to deny, not only because the band once again displays their musical talent, but because it is all too capable of inducing foot-tapping and head-bobbing to the tune of sing-along choruses.
“I’d Hate To Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About” packs another emotional punch, but speeds up the tempo a little bit from the last love song. This song is about breaking off a relationship because it needs to be done despite how much it hurts. Lancaster’s long notes are very impressive, and both vocalists display the emotion in the song through their singing. The guitar is very impressive as well, especially during a solo right before the song reaches its crescendo in the final chorus. This song is probably tied with “Miserable At Best” for the second best song on the album.
Every song on A Lesson In Romantics is incredible, ending with a particularly memorable and touching track. This record cements itself further into my Top 10 rock albums of all time every time I listen to it. Every music fan has a few albums that stick out because they are phenomenal from start to finish, and Mayday Parade’s first album is no exception. The dual vocals mixed with great guitar and drumming was a formula for success that could have propelled this band to new heights.
Mayday Parade’s second album was good, but it was impossible to live up to the standard set by this album without Lancaster. I’m keeping my eye Mayday Parade and will still support them, but I will be more interested in Lancaster’s new band, Go Radio, which shows signs of being the new Mayday Parade. A Lesson In Romantics will always be great music to listen to, but it’s so good that it may haunt fans and other fans of similar bands like All Time Low, The Maine, Every Avenue and A Rocket To The Moon when they consider how good Mayday Parade could have been.
Final Score: 9.7/10
Rank: 1st (three total albums)
- Jamie All Over
- Black Cat
- When I Get Home, You’re So Dead
- If You Wanted A Song Written About You, All You Had To Do Was Ask
- Miserable At Best
- Walk On Water Or Drown
- Ocean And Atlantic
- I’d Hate To Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About
- Take This To Heart
- Champagne’s For Celebrating (I’ll Have A Martini)
- You Be The Anchor That Keeps My Feet On The Ground, I’ll Be The Wings That Keep Your Heart In The Clouds