Artist Spotlight: Pop-rock band The Maine flies just under the radar

The Maine stands outside of Warehouse Live in Houston, Texas on May 23, 2008. The band has built up a cult following through consistent touring and record releases. (yeatorie/Flickr)

Today’s artist spotlight is on Amazon’s pop-rock band The Maine. The Maine has been pursuing music since 2007 and remained a presence just under the radar.

The band has built up a cult following through consistent touring and record releases, evolving its sound while maintaining its roots in pop. Band members are currently finishing up their national “Free Fall Tour” in which every show is free as a gift to all their supportive fans. 
The Maine has released five full-length albums: “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” (2008), “Black and White” (2010), “Pioneer” (2011), “Forever Halloween” (2013) and “American Candy” (2015). 
Although their first two records were released under a label, “American Candy” is the group’s third independent release. Since hitting the shelves on March 31, the record has accrued hundreds of reviews amounting to a gleaming five-star rating via iTunes. 

Talking about the record in an interview with Confront Magazine, John O’Callaghan, the lead signer of the group, said, “All I wanted to do on this effort was make a record that was earnest and sincere. And at the same time, I wanted to make a record that made people feel good and feel better while at the same time making myself feel better.”

The Maine’s sound has progressed and grown over the years from their pop-punk beginnings to a mature and polished pop-rock sound. They have become masters of honest and integral pop with tasteful production and simplistically thought-provoking lyrics. After their darker sound in “Forever Halloween,” the band consciously wanted to create an uplifting record with a message they felt confident in. 

In terms of the goals of “American Candy,” O’Callaghan said, “I think it’s important that we’ve been very vocal from the start that we wanted to make an uplifting record. We wanted to make something better than anything we’ve put out. Felt better. Not better as in, better songs, but we’re continuously pushing ourselves on that front,” in an interview with Under The Gun Review.
Notable tracks off their latest record include “English Girls,” “My Hair” and the title track, “American Candy.”

They have become experts in the art of writing quirky, specific songs with real emotional resonance. For instance, their song “My Hair” speaks on the hyper-specific topic of O’Callaghan’s annoyance with people dictating his hairstyles. He sings, “Nobody’s gonna tell me how to wear my hair / Not my momma or a big wig millionaire / I’ll let it all down anywhere / I’ll let it down everywhere / See, I don’t care if you all care / It’s on my head and it’s not your hair.” Although the topic is very self-explanatory, the dignified nature of its execution and passion creates a song that’s far from superficial. 

The Maine has had the unique opportunity to learn what they want to do as a band, and as people, through years of being in the spotlight. They understand they have a platform to be a force for good in people’s lives, which their independence has facilitated. The group has been able to utilize their artistic freedom to create records distinct from one another, which capture where they are as artists at a particular time.  

“What’s completely changed is I think my outlook on just being in general has changed a lot from not only the past records but really from the conception of the band. I feel like I’m more aware of what I feel my social obligations are and my social responsibility is, having a voice that is heard by more than just my immediate friends and family. So I think there is a lot that changed, so I think what is most important to me is how much is still the same,” said O’Callaghan in his Confront Magazine interview.


Brett Steinberg is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at brett.steinberg@uconn.edu. He tweets @OfficialBrett.