Track-by-Track: Mayday Parade’s Self-Titled turns 10 Years Old

Photo by Kimberly Ann (Garden State Band Connection).

Mayday Parade announced their 2022 tour, the 11th Anniversary Self-Titled Album Tour, last week. Their self-titled album was released on Oct. 4, 2011. Out of their 6 studio albums, their self-titled still has some of their strongest work. It is my personal favorite, and lead vocalist Derek Sanders’s favorite by them as well. To celebrate the tour announcement (even though they’re not playing in Houston–lame!) and one of my favorite albums, here is a look back at Mayday Parade’s Mayday Parade.

 1. “Oh Well, Oh Well”

Starting off with their classic breakup single, you already know the overall feeling of this album. The composition of just this one song perfectly sums up Mayday Parade as a band. The track starts with Sanders’s nice, crisp vocals that everyone in the emo/pop punk scene knows best.

When you’re alone, do you think of me? / And my diamond ring’s thrown out to sea / And when you love, do you love for me? / Like harmony, a never ending dream

You can hear him playing some simple piano chords as a violin slowly dips into the chorus. Just before it goes into that second verse, you hear the hi-hat come in and the song starts to pick up.

The best part in this story of dealing with heartbreak is the bridge, where you can hear the choir:

It’s not the first time, but this one really carved it in / Tell your new friends that they don’t know you like I do / It’s over / I wanna see you again / I wanna feel you again…

It’s no wonder why this is the song they end their sets with.

 

2. “No Heroes Allowed” 

The guitar is the star of this song. It starts off with a smooth riff, with a nice touch of string accompaniment, reminiscent of the first track. It’s another breakup song, which makes a lot of references to dreaming about someone you miss. The chorus is shared by Derek Sanders and the drummer/back-up vocalist, Jake Bundrick.

My hero, she’s the last real dreamer I know / And I could tell you all about her / I don’t think I’ll fall asleep ’til I roll over / Can we just start over again / And I can tell you all about her / I don’t think I’ll fall asleep ’til then

Right before the the third verse, lead guitarist Alex Garcia gives us a beautiful solo. The song then becomes more mellow and picks up again at the outro.

A truly underrated track!

Photo by Kimberly Ann (Garden State Band Connection).

 

3. “When You See My Friends”

I absolutely love how the music video for this song is a live performance. It’s actually one of my favorite songs to hear them play live, and if you watch the video, you can see why! There’s just nothing like that unity in the audience when everyone sings “You’re adorable as hell, but I’m glancing at your wrist.” It’s definitely a favorite in the fanbase. This is one of those songs you just have to yell after you get dumped — it’s a rule.

4. “You’re Dead Wrong”

I would consider this the ‘foreshadowing track’. The chorus goes:

She’s got broken things where her heart should be / And I keep rolling it over in my head (rolling it over in my head) / If your heart is true, then I’ll be with you (be with you) / ‘Cause it’s you that I adore  / And we both know I loved you more

In one of their recent singles, “One For The Rocks and One For The Scary”, the first verse seems to be a missing piece of the story we hear in “You’re Dead Wrong”.

Tiny little broken thing / what’s that I see on your wing? / Is it heavy enough to keep you pinned inside this lucid dream / I can’t remember it well / It must’ve been for somebody else

I have a theory that this refers to “You’re Dead Wrong”. “You’re Dead Wrong” shows more of a guilty side of breaking up with that person, whereas “One For the Rocks” kind of sounds like the two people crossed paths 10 years later. Compare the songs together and see for yourself!

5. “Priceless”

When I first heard this, the transition between the chill fourth track and this one caught me off guard (but that might be because I have a bad habit of keeping the volume at its max). The guitar in this song is a little different than what we hear in the rest of the album, and it’s more edgy compared to what we hear in the second track. It has a little more distortion to it, giving it that classic pop punk sound. Ironically, this is another underrated song from them.

6. “Stay”

This track was a pivotal moment in Mayday Parade’s career. Although it wasn’t a single, it became a fan favorite and is one of their most popular songs. Not only is this one of the best songs off the album–if this was a ranking, I would put this one at #3–but it’s another song that introduces the sound Mayday Parade have now. When this album was released 10 years ago, there were a lot of jokes on the internet (Oh God, remember Tumblr?) about Mayday Parade “being an emotion.” And yes, I will demonstrate the old, now cringe-y memes:

Ten years later, this song still makes me cry. Except now at almost 22 years old, I actually relate to it.

7. “Call Me Hopeless, but Not Romantic”

The transition from “Stay” to this is just beautiful. It’s so iconic that almost every time I hear “Stay” live, my mind automatically plays this song afterwards.

8. “A Shot Across the Bow”

Not only is this track incredibly catchy, but this is Mayday’s take on “I hate you, screw off” type of breakup song. Since the band is mostly known for their sad lyrics, it’s surprising to hear angry lyrics from them.

I hope you fall into the ocean / And the current leaves you helpless swimming around / As the waves crash over you, and over you until you drown / And we’ll hold a funeral for nothing / Celebrate how empty love can be broken / It takes the sea to put you six feet happily underground 

Like damn, what happened between them?

9. “Everything’s An Illusion”

Now, I know what you’re thinking. We’re nearly done listening to the album, and you may be wondering “Wow, can this be any sadder?”

And the answer is yes.

This song is about a friend of the band who died very young. Because it’s so personal, it’s one of the best songs off the album.

10. “I’d Rather Make Mistakes Than Nothing At All”

This is actually my least favorite track off the album. Listening to it again, it’s weak. There’s no build-up, no solos, no choir…I don’t know, there’s just something missing here. Compared to the rest of the album, this song isn’t as memorable. I’ll be honest–most of the time I skip this one, because the last two are great and I want to listen to them ASAP.

11. “Without the Bitter the Sweet Isn’t As Sweet”

This is a great track to put near the end of the album. It’s a perfect reminder that no matter how hurt you get, you will always get better. It first starts off with some soft acoustics. Very softly, you can hear a cello. Once the third verse comes in, the string arrangements are more clear and starts to bring everything in. Finally, in the fourth verse the whole band comes together. It then ends with the chorus:

And even when it’s dark, at least we’ll be together / Slowly sinking in the earth to lay forever / You better grab a hold and hold on for your life / Because you don’t get lucky twice 

12. “Happy Endings Are Stories That Haven’t Ended Yet”

Mayday Parade really saved the best for last on this album. Not only is this the best track, but it’s also one of my favorites in their discography. The song only has a first verse and a chorus. It first starts with simple guitar and some very light drums. Almost a minute in, Sanders finally comes in with very light, soft vocals.

Keep me dizzy, spinning circles around my head / Believe me that it’s worth the rush / ‘Til we collide with heavy hearts and open minds / I’m all by myself, don’t leave me hanging

After the first verse, it’s just guitar. Then, Derek Sanders starts playing his piano and comes back in with the chorus.

You could be my compass / Teach me how to read these broken lines / Hold me like a lover / We’ll find a way to run away tonight / Tell me when it’s over / Promise that you’ll always keep me in mind / Burning like a soldier / I’ll find my way to you and save the day 

Right after this, the whole band comes in and the chorus goes on again. This time, Bundrick is singing back-up and echoes after Sanders. Sanders dramatically ends the chorus with blending in his voice and a choir comes in singing na na na na na na…

The track ends with just single piano notes.

Looking back 10 years later, Mayday Parade’s self-titled album is still a great piece and tells a story of coping with loss, which can stay relevant no matter how much time passes. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend you give it a listen!

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