Following the departure of their main songwriter in 2007, Mayday Parade released their sophomore effort, Anywhere But Here in 2009.
Let’s face it — A Lesson In Romantics was a fantastic debut that brought fame to Mayday Parade. The second album is a major turning point in any band’s career. Their songwriting was the aspect that distinguished their debut from every other pop-punk band at the time. With the departure of their main songwriter, Jason Lancaster, fans became highly skeptical of any future material the Florida pop-punk quintet would release. Without Jason Lancaster, many fans worried that Mayday Parade was not the same band.
With that said, Anywhere But Here is still Mayday Parade. It still has the Mayday Parade style, but it is lacking the force that united the fans they earned with their debut album. At times, I felt like I was listening to radio-friendly pop-punk songs. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing when considering their audience.
This release won’t disrupt their reputation at all. Without their front man, fans set rather low expectations for this release. Mayday Parade is still here and in an adjustment phase. This is just the first album in the post-Lancaster era. This album proves that they have songwriting abilities as a band regardless of their front man. Once they’re settled in with Derek Sanders as their lead vocalist, Mayday Parade will reach their prime on their next record.
One part of their first album that captured many fans was their ability to write a beautiful, modern and original acoustic song. This was their strong point and Mayday Parade’s acoustic songwriting remains their forte.
“I Swear This Time I Mean It” reminds me of their classic “You Be the Anchor That Keeps My Feet on the Ground, I'll Be the Wings That Keep Your Heart in the Clouds.” “I Swear This Time I Mean It” has the same melodramatic and softly spoken verses that you hear in any pop-punk acoustic song, but it contains far more substance and a heartfelt driven chorus and verses.
With "Kids In Love" as an opener, there was no question — this is Mayday Parade. Anywhere But Here luckily contains none of the musical mistakes of a generic pop-punk band. That’s huge. Not many were expecting a masterpiece; receiving an album of this rigor is a success.
This album has cheesy vocals throughout, but that’s not the point. The guitar riffs are catchy and there is not one boring moment throughout the 40 minutes. I was not at the edge of my seat but I was not falling asleep either. I’d recommend a listen. If you can handle the lyrics, appreciate a catchy guitar riff with overproduction, Mayday Parade's Anywhere But Here will not completely disappoint.