Its past time to start blogging again. But, given the circumstances of the past few days, I'm going to go insane if I don't do something. So I shall blog to get me through this next month/5 weeks.
The end of the year is coming up, and that means a few things:
1. Most relevant to the blog, the Top 10 list. There was no real contest this year. There were 12 albums that immediately stuck out to me and amazing. Two of them got quickly eliminated when I thought a bit deeper about it. The hardest was choosing some of the top albums, all of which were amazing. I still need to pick my top 10 songs, and then do a section about indie albums, live shows, and the preview for next year (already, there's a few albums shaping up to be amazing).
2. Christmas break. I don't get one, but, being a staff member of a college ministry, that means that all of my best friends are leaving for break. One leaves on Saturday and will be gone for probably around three weeks. The other left yesterday and will gone until 4.5 weeks. So yes, I'll go insane.
3. Working in crazy holiday conditions. Work is what I'm doing to pass the time. Especially now that its holiday season. But work only handles a bit of time. And then I have to fill up a lot of time with nothing to do. So again, I'll blog. The moral here? Expect more posts.
Anyways, on to music. The last post that I was supposed to do was on "The Fisherman's Song" by Mae, off of their (m)orning EP. However, times have changed. They released the mediocre (a)fternoon EP, and then the perfect (e)vening EP, which is the subject of this post.
(e)vening is the final EP in Mae's trilogy of EP's, recorded free of any record label (well, they created their own, Cell Records), but distributed through Tooth and Nail. Being the final piece of recording that Mae will possibly ever release, it needed to be amazing. It doesn't fail at this. Let's put it this way. The Everglow was my favorite Mae album. (m)orning was behind it, and Destination Beautiful behind that. Singularity was a mishap in my opinion. That changed with the FIRST listen of (e)vening. Let's dissect it, shall we?
A Quiet (e)vening kicks the album off, with a short, two minute piano interlude, meant to show that everything was coming to an end. (m)orning brought us in with signs of waking up, and opening the recording studio. (a)fternoon brought us to the airport. (e)vening has us laying the final piano layers down at night, hunched over a piano, in a comfy chair that squeaks. Its short, its simple. It sets the stage. Then the drums kick in.
"Bloom" hearkens back to The Everglow side of Mae. An odd time signature that's long enough to where it still flows fairly evenly, pianos topping off guitar riffs, and drums, all with a rockin' out feeling that still leaves you mellow. They even touch on their faith, before crying out at the climax "I swear this time I'll pour myself out for You 'til there's nothing left", after traversing a song about being lost and wondering around. "We found our faith, and then unwound it." "We lost our way, and walked around it." "But love will find a way to Bloom".
"I Just Needed You to Know" keeps the style of laid back rock going, though a bit more aggressive. This time, telling a story. I won't get into it too much, but I played this song for a friend who probably needed it. It helped at the time, before things went sour. It tells the story of a blossoming relationship between a guy and a girl who live apart. It opens with the man speeding down Highway 95, a NC/VA highway that Dave Elkins (singer, guitarist, and lyricist) traversed frequently during college. He used the time to write lyrics for songs that went on to be Mae songs. Meanwhile, the man's girlfriend is patiently waiting for his return, despite being excited inside. Things continue to go well for the couple, before finally they decide to get married, having survived the distance between them.
"My Favorite Dream" is rocking my world right now. Here, we drop down a level or two in intensity, favoring a more held back, guitar led song. Elkins sings of someone who, quite literally, he loves. The theme of distance again comes into play, as he laments over the fact that she captivates him, but frequently has to leave for unspecified amounts of time. Eventually questioning her existence, he comes to the conclusion of "All I really know is that your hold on me is way too strong to be just a part of my imagination." Its safe to say that I'll be jamming this album all December. May or may not be a good thing.
Next, we hit an oddity in Mae. We have three songs, back to back, that really run as one. Its a classical piano piece, piano only I might add, that totals 13:36 long. Music to my ears. Nothing much to analyze, unless I go into the "physics" of the songs. The major/minor chord progressions really get me, and the general technique and flavor of the song do as well. It you're in to amazingly played piano, you'll love it. I recommend that you give it a listen.
Next, we hit track 8, the last with lyrics. "Sleep Well" is the definition of "building". Starting simple, and building up intensity until the end. Lyrically, this song represents both the ending of (e)vening and the end of Mae as we know it, as everything calls us to "Sleep well". We build and we build, encouraging things to be put to rest, and to go to bed happy. Maximum intensity is reached, and we hit the calm before the storm. Then....
"Good (e)vening". A 3:56 instrumental jam, hearkening back again to the older style of Mae, with aggressive guitars, pianos, drums, ect. We get hints of "The Fisherman's Song" from the "(m)orning EP (as did a song off of (a)fternoon). Everything about Mae comes pouring back in as we close out the final song of the final EP and the final tour of Mae. Strings, guitar riffs, bass lines, drums, pianos, everything comes together in an extended climax to "Sleep Well". Mae wants to leave us with some of the best materials that they have written, and it definitely shows.
Laid back stuff has been key to me this year. Less hardcore and heavy rock albums are in the top 10 (though there were some amazing hardcore albums and shows), and more laid back alternative stuff is shining in. A lot of it came in the last part of the year, and maybe they, and the lyrical content are representative of the things I'm going through. I just hope they end positively.
5 days ago