Mayday Parade’s “Valdosta EP” review

I first stumbled upon Mayday Parade when one of my friends and I decided to go to the Take Action tour last year, instead of going to the school dance that night. The high energy Mayday brought on stage was incredible and I got hooked on the music right away. I got so hooked, that I bought all of their albums on iTunes that night without really previewing the songs (Yep, I’m that girl who spends all of her money on a band’s album and/or merch). I fell in love instantly with Tales Told By Dead Friends and A Lesson in Romantics, but it was a different story with Anywhere But Here. Sure, about 4 of the songs on the album I enjoyed, but the rest of the songs showed change from the once rock tunes on the past two albums,  to sappy pop melodies.

With that being said, I was pretty hesitant at first to listen to MP’s newest EP, “Valdosta”, which dropped March 8th. After listening to it, I realized I had nothing to worry about. “Valdosta” is an acoustic take on four already-released songs, as well as two new ones. Opening and closing the album with the new songs (“Amber Lynn” and “Terrible Things”) gives fans a sneak peak about what the new album (due to drop in the summer of 2011) will sound like, but doesn’t give too much away, leaving the fans hanging on for more.

Sandwiched between the two new songs are four songs that have been previously released, but now have an acoustic twist on them. Taking away the tempo-driving guitar parts and replacing them with a violin and acoustic guitar gave the songs a new and greater meaning to them. In “Jamie All Over”, “Kids In Love”, and “Bruised and Scarred”, the band sticks close to the original sound of the song, unlike to what they did in the acoustic version of “Your Song”. It sounds completely different with piano in replacement of bass and guitar, and might I add with Derek Sanders’ and Jeremy Lenzo on vocals, compared to ex-vocalist Jason Lancaster. Although the fans reactions to this have been pretty diverse due to the fact it’s not Jason Lancaster singing, I find this song to be very unique and well constructed. I personally like how different the acoustic version is from the original. Even though many fans like to hear the edgy bass sound with Lancaster’s raspy voice in the original version, it’s nice to hear a slower and calmer version of “Your Song”, showcasing Sanders’ vocal ability.

Concluding “Valdosta” with “Terrible Things” was the perfect choice to end the EP with. Starting off as a slow love ballad, it is solely a piano and Derek Sanders’ calm, soothing vocals. But, with roughly only a minute left in the track, guitars and drums begin to dominate the song and Derek shows off his exceptional vocal range, hitting notes perfectly that some artists find difficult to hit. All in all, I would give this EP a rating of 4.5/5 and would highly recommend you to check out “Valdosta”!