Just when we all thought rock and roll was somewhat of a lost cause, The Maine released Pioneer. A thirteen track full length, Pioneer is a record that has been a long time coming for The Maine. The opening track,”Identify,” sneaks up on its listener quietly and slowly, but after about thirty seconds (and the lyrics give us fair warning), the fireworks came. Identify is a song that exemplifies the feeling that The Maine gives their audience at a live show—captivating and deep. It is worlds apart from some of The Maine’s earliest EP, The Way We Talk. The growth that took place in their music is impressive and significantly substantial.
Only to continue this feeling of meaning, the following songs, titled “My Heroine” and “Time”, both open with a solid guitar introduction. The riffs are strong, and when John’s raspy vocals come in, it gives the listener a real sense of rock as it was in its beginnings as a genre. If anything, these songs deserve spots in each band member’s musical résumés, for they are a true display of their talents as individuals and the band as a whole.
“Some Days” begins the slower, relaxed portion of the record with a shallower sound. Although the chorus picks up speed and intensity, it’s the guitar that diminishes it. The message in the song is one that is typical for the band’s laid back, let it ride attitude. “Some days, they taste like lemonade / Some days can feel like razorblades.”
The slow and steady drum intro to the following song, “I’m Sorry”, is very lyrically meaningful. There are subtle minor chords throughout the song that match the apologetic tone that it has set. It is somewhat of a ballad mixed with soft rock, but the vocals at the climax of the song are strong and raspy, making it very raw as well. “Jenny” is a song found later in the record that also does the same job of mixing a ballad with soft rock. Both songs are sad love songs that may or may not have the typical happy ending.
The record picks back up with “Don’t Give Up On Us,” “Misery,” and “When I’m at Home”. In particular, “Thinking Of You” is one of the most different and uplifting songs on the record. The song opens up with vocals followed immediately by a quickly paced piano melody. It is a fun song that reflects a little bit of The Maine’s older music.
The final three songs seem to be the in-between that helps describe their growth and transition as a band, in terms of music. The message that “Like We Did” sends is similar to the one their first record, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop sends; youthful and lively. The lyrics are simple but the message is similarly nostalgic, a theme held in their older songs like “We All Roll Along” and “We’ll All Be…” Following this is “While Listening To Rock & Roll” which has the same musical vibe as “We’ll All Be…” but its lyrical content is what differentiates it from the rest of their music. It is a slower but very catch ballad in which the message seems to be the importance of music. The Maine is trying to preserve the music that they love by making it and encouraging others to remember it.
“Waiting For My Sun To Shine” is the last song on the record. Following the balladic theme of the record, it further demonstrates The Maine’s growing musical ability to create something that each member can put their passion into. Its slow and lengthy progression as a song helps to end the record with a strong message; there is passion in the music that The Maine creates.
Overall, this record focuses very strongly on the music and instruments rather than other elements that have the potential to be artificial. It sends a message to fans both new and old that The Maine is growing as people and as musicians. This growth is clearly reflected in their music, and they want it to be known. They are making music independently, apart from a label and that alone shows how much they value what they create. The Maine’s musical transition has been highly anticipated, and finally fans can take in Pioneer as a new beginning for the band’s musical track.