Review: The Maine Drops Yet Another Summer Anthem With “Lips”
On May 28th, 2021, Arizona emo superheroes The Maine released their most recent single, titled “Lips.” The track serves as the follow-up to lead singles “Sticky” and “April 7th”, all of which reside on the tracklist of the band’s upcoming eighth album titled “XOXO: From Love & Anxiety In Real Time”, due out July 9th.
It seems like The Maine has been around forever, or at least it does for me, an eighteen-year-old girl who spent her formative years falling in love with their music. The first girl I ever had a crush on sent me a playlist she made for me with “English Girls” on it when I was 13 and I spent nights crying to “I Only Wanna Talk To You” when I was 14.
“My Best Habit” held my hand through an awful breakup when I was 15, and I crowd surfed to “Inside of You” at the band’s “The Mirror” tour stop at Webster Hall in New York City when I was 16. The band’s entire discography has served as a source of comfort for me and for my friends (my “8123 family”, if you will) throughout my 17th and 18th trips around the sun, navigating the teenage experience in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite being a band that relies heavily on fan interaction and the live experience, being a supporter of The Maine has almost been more exciting over the past year or so. They’ve created a community where they can keep in touch with their fans via the Pillar app, have released a ton of new merch and vinyl pressings, and have held multiple virtual concerts, ranging from a farewell to their 2019 album “You Are Ok”, a celebration of their 2013 record “Forever Halloween” back in October, a free show celebrating their new era, and a livestream where the members got drunk and took song requests from fans in attendance.
When it came time for the band to announce their newest album, expectations were through the roof, and that might even be an understatement. The Maine is a band that has always delivered, musically and in terms of fan service, so the expectation was naturally for them to hit it out of the park once again, albeit this time in the midst of a global pandemic and health crisis. No pressure, right?
The announcement of “XOXO” was accompanied by “Sticky”, the album’s first single, back in March, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. This track combined the sticky-sweet (pun intended) pop sound that fans have come to love from the band with lyrics about love that are just as sugary, and it was an instant hit.
“April 7th” was the next single, released on, you guessed it, April 7th, and it raised the bar for the band once again, including more of that same love-song charm and fun, poppy instrumentation. The most recent, and presumably final song dropped prior to the full album being released, is titled “Lips”, and it follows this same pattern.
“Lips” opens with a groovy guitar riff that gets listeners hooked right away, as vocalist John O’Callaghan starts to sing. The lyrics of this song are simple, calling out someone who can’t stop lying, but the phrasing is incredibly fun.
The chorus sounds straight out of a song from The 1975’s “I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It”, beyond infectious and high-energy. The lines “Maybe it’s that loose-lipped way you make your words roll / Off that two-bit tongue / When you lie / You can’t keep talking like this / Lips do more than just kiss” drive the lyrical concept home in a clever, tongue-in-cheek way.
There’s a reference to the band’s earlier work in the second verse (“Let’s talk about ‘The Way We Talk’”) and another fun one-liner (“You’re so fluent in tragedy”) before the chorus kicks back in and starts the party back up again. Things slow down on the bridge, but it’s not mellow for very long, as per usual for this band.
If this new single is any indicator of what we can expect for The Maine’s eighth studio album, we’re in for a super fun summer album that’s sure to be in our rotation long after the weather turns cold. “XOXO: From Love & Anxiety In Real Time” will be available on July 9th, and the album’s singles “Sticky”, “April 7th”, and “Lips” are available to stream wherever you listen to music.
You can support The Maine by picking up some merch on their online store, including a brand new t-shirt for “Lips” and physical copies and merch bundles for the new album, and you can keep up with the band on social media @TheMaineBand on Instagram, @TheMaine on Twitter, and @TheMaine on Facebook. To be the first to hear my thoughts on the new album, watch my Twitter timeline @JENSESSlON on release night - to be the first to hear my cohesive thoughts on the new album, in the form of a review, be sure to follow the blog on social media @StrawbSkiesBlog on Twitter, @StrawberrySkiesBlog on Instagram, and @StrawberrySkiesBlog on Facebook.