As an artist, one thing you always hope for is that your work will stand the test of time. No matter how long, 10 years, 50 or even 100, you want your work to have a lasting impression on everyone that comes across it. That is exactly the kind of thing that comes to mind when musicians release anniversary editions of their albums. We have not seen many contemporary re-releases compared to the classics, but that is exactly the case now with Mayday Parade. The band is re-releasing the album that started it all, to celebrate 10 years of “A Lesson In Romantics.”
Pop-punk band Mayday Parade who are based out of Tallahassee, Florida started in 2005. From there, the band released their first extended play “Tales Told by Dead Friends” without a label in 2006. The next year, they released their debut album “A Lesson In Romantics” under Fearless Records. Not long after the album’s completion, vocalist Jason Lancaster left the band citing a lack of writing credits as the leading factor. This led other members of the band to pick up on backup vocals while Derek Sanders remained lead vocals. From there, the band released an additional E.P. and their fifth-studio album “Black Lines” in 2015. Now in 2017, the band is going on an anniversary tour to celebrate “A Lesson In Romantics” and has released an anniversary edition to celebrate. Here is how it holds up 10 years later.
“A Lesson In Romantics (Anniversary Edition)” is for the most part the same record. With the original 12 tracks, the re-release also carries an additional six tracks that are all demo versions of songs on the record. This means original fans can rejoice in the fact they can still hear Jason Lancaster’s voice on the demos. The re-release clocks in around 70 minutes in length. From front to back it is the same record that everyone fell in love with back in 2007.
We should talk about the demos to get a good grasp on this record, and how they give us a stark comparison to what we have been listening to for years and what Mayday Parade originally recorded. Starting us out with the demos is “Coming Back With Winter,” which is a track that was not on the original record. This track has so much raw emotion and energy to it you cannot help but wonder why it did not make the original cut. While it has the classic Mayday Parade style of building upon layers of vocals, it manages to have some decent guitar riffs and a memorable melody. Then we have the demo version of “Black Cat,” which is rough around the edges. While Sanders’ vocals on the demo may not be what they are on anything else, Lancaster’s voice carried the track well. This just shows how much they cleaned up by the time they released the original album. Then we get demos like “You Be the Anchor That Keeps My Feet On the Ground…” which is the closing track on the original and anniversary edition of the record. This ballad, even as a demo, shows just how emotional the songwriters were when they started. While they have improved upon this in the 12 years since, the demo version of this track is arguably in some ways better than what made it on to the original record.
Should you listen to it?: Yes
What this comes down to is how big of a fan are you of Mayday Parade? If you have been around since the original release of “A Lesson In Romantics,” then you should pick this up with no question at all. The demos add another layer that make you appreciate how far the band has come since 2007. If you are looking to get into Mayday Parade, there is no better introduction than this anniversary edition right here. “A Lesson In Romantics” is still as strong and emotional as it was 10 years ago. We should wait and see how it holds up on the 25th anniversary.
Collegian reporter Alec Erickson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CTV_Ace.