Review by Holly Aker.
In the song “Mix Tape” by Brand New, there’s a line that goes, “I know that you’re a sucker for anything acoustic.” This lyric plays off the stereotype that girls will melt to any song that consists of a guy, his acoustic guitar and lyrics that are even remotely romantic. It’s safe to say that at least for the majority of the female population, this stereotype is true, and that’s exactly what Mayday Parade was banking on when they wrote Valdosta.
Technically, the acoustic EP doesn’t offer fans all that much new material. Out of the six songs on Valdosta, only two are brand new songs. However, the four old songs Mayday Parade picked to go acoustic are some of their best, so it balances out. In fact, most of the old songs were even improved by going acoustic.
For example, on the album Anywhere But Here where it originally appeared, the song “Bruised And Scarred” has a very upbeat, poppy tempo, which sharply contradicts its sad, painful message. But as an acoustic track for Valdosta, the song makes so much more sense. Lead singer Derek Sanders’ lyrics become so much more relatable and the song’s emotion becomes much clearer.
The stand out track on Valdosta, though, has to be “Terrible Things.” The song – a love story being told from father to son – starts out with just a simple piano accompanying Sanders as he sings about meeting the girl of his dreams. About halfway through, the song explodes with crashing cymbals and the EP’s only instance of electric guitar when Sanders sings about how his dream girl got sick and died. With poignantly sorrowful lyrics like “So don’t fall in love, there’s just too much to lose” sung by Sanders’ despairingly sad voice, you can’t help but feel his heartbreak.
Even though the EP may be a little depressing – or should I say emo – for some, it’s quite impressive. The album showcases a raw side of Mayday Parade that fans have never seen. The band went with very little voice editing, proving that Sanders and drummer and singer Jake Bundrick really do have vocal chops. Additionally, the two singers incorporated more harmonies into Valdosta than any other Mayday Parade album. Both of these aspects and just the quality of the overall musicianship make Valdosta not only an album that girls will melt over, but also an album to respect.
Listen to “Terrible Things” below, one of Valdosta’s two new tracks from Mayday Parade.