Are you ready for…The Everglow? I don’t think you are. Procure the album, sit down in a calm, quiet room, close your eyes, and press play. Let the music absorb you. Listen to the lyrics. Understand that you’re listening to – no, not listening, feeling – one of the best albums of the decade, if not one of the best rock albums ever to be released. Yes, that is an arrogant statement to make, and no, I will not take it back. Mae created a rather unknown masterpiece that should grace every music fan’s collection.
First, The Everglow is a concept album. Musically, it utilizes gentle guitar pedals that create a liquid atmosphere, pianos (“Painless”), and elements of pop/rock, alternative, emo/punk, and oldies. Hooks abound, as do countless unique melodies. In fact, I’ve rarely heard an album with as many creative vocal melodies on the chorus and verses alike. Lyrically, The Everglow takes the listener through a journey that is bookended by “Prologue” and “Epilogue,” two spoken word bits that treat the album like a book-on-tape. The story seems to be about a young man’s (or woman’s) search for love, a meaning to life, and a way to grow into a wise person, and there is a wonderful website that contains Flash games based off of the songs and the storyline.
From the first notes of downtempo piano-driven “We’re So Far Away,” a nostalgic tune that declares “it’s so close, but we’re so far away,” to the pop/punk of “Anything,” the theme song for optimists, the emotions on The Everglow paint a straightforward yet complex picture of life. Lifehouse-reminiscent “Suspension” asks a lover to “say anything, but say what you mean, cause I’m caught in suspension,” and “Breakdown” pleads “nothing ever feels good being under the gun.” Love, the album’s primary theme, breaks through on “The Ocean,” a sensual piece (“I need you tonight just like the ocean needs the waves”), and the irresistible pop/rock of “The Everglow,” but turns sour on “Someone Else’s Arms” (“I just wanna wake up in someone else’s arms”).
Finally, 7-minute closer “The Sun And The Moon” brings the story to a beautiful ending, culminating in an instrumental buildup that turns a slow piano song into an arena-rock end worthy of U2. As “Epilogue” so perfectly puts it, “I hope you enjoyed your journey. Goodnight.”