Personally I regard Pop music differently than other types of music. Normally when it comes to music in general I look for bands and genres to innovate or build upon what they already have to prevent or combat stagnation within their playing grounds, however Pop music I don’t think the same rules apply. I don’t think that Pop music needs to focus that much on driving things forward or innovating, what’s most important to Pop music is that it is catchy and accessible to a larger market. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel it’s perfectly acceptable to splash a new coat of paint on it and ship it out with a tune up.
Pioneer & Good Love by The Maine is a re-release of their 2011 album Pioneer with six new songs (the Good Love part of the album title). Pioneer & Good Love is 19 tracks of very radio-friendly Pop Rock with a bit of southern spice to it so naturally it’s not pushing any boundaries but nor does it really need to. The songwriting speaks for itself with very accessible progressions and insanely memorable catchiness.
When I saw “insanely memorable” I truly mean it, Some Days and the album opener Identify are true-to-the-book big chorus hook songs that will drill their way into your head after one listen and set up base camp refusing to leave. The productions are big and passionate, the instrumental tones are professional sounding in all regards, and the use of stop-time for chorus hooks (looking at you Identify) is played off to maximize aural impact.
All of this is expounded upon greatly by John O’Callaghan’s vocals. They are exactly what you’d expect from a big contemporary rock band sound; powerful tone with great range and heart to them with the added bonus of just the tiniest hint of southern accent. Standout performances included the more somber Misery and then anthemic Don’t Give Up On “Us”. John surely leaves the album on a high note with another great performance in the album ender Good Love.
So Pioneer & Good Love is a professional sounding Pop Rock radio-darling-to-be that doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel with its addictive pop structure songwriting, so what could possibly be wrong with it? Honestly there is only one thing that could be seen as a misstep for this album and it is the length.
Pioneer was released last year and it was a grand total of 13 tracks totally an hour of playtime which is a little above the average in terms of what to expect from an albums length, I’d say a good average for album length is about 10 tracks and 45 minutes of playtime so you were definitely getting your monies worth out of Pioneer. Pioneer and Good Love throws another six tracks on leaving us at 19 tracks and a little shy of an hour and twenty minutes of music. That’s huge and it makes it a bit of a dedication to sit down and listen to.
If you already owned Pioneer then the Good Love part of the addition will be a warm welcome to an already great album. However if this is your first experience with the album then this could easily be a bit of a tedious listen with how much content there is to digest, especially since it’s not particularly diverse with its sound the whole trip. However this as a complaint holds little water since it’s really not damaging much of anyone and who is going to complain about more added music?
Despite its monstrous length Pioneer and Good Love is a perfect fit for anyone looking for a good contemporary Pop Rock album. It’s packed to the gills with content so even if this isn’t your particular cup of tea there’s got to be at least a couple songs that will get stuck in your head after a listen or two.
No seriously, someone help me get Identify out of my head. It’s been there for days.
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