In 2006, just a year after their formation, Mayday Parade joined their first Vans Warped Tour. Unofficially, that is. “We weren’t a part of the tour,” Derek Sanders, frontman of the Tallahassee, Florida-founded pop-punk band, clarifies. “We were just there in our van showing up every day to sell CDs in the parking lot. That’s kind of how we kick-started the band.”
Since then, a lot has changed for Sanders, guitarist Brooks Betts, drummer Jake Bundrick, guitarist Alex Garcia, and bassist Jeremy Lenzo. Their debut album, 2007’s A Lesson In Romantics, was certified Gold and followed by five more successful studio albums, 1.6 million in sales, multiple worldwide tours, and seven (official) Warped Tours. “We just grew,” Garcia shares on the band’s evolution. “We became better musicians, better at writing, and our music tastes have changed throughout the decade-plus of us being together.” Some things have stayed the same, like the tenacity that got them started in the first place and the brotherly bond that has kept them together for all these years. Now, with their seventh studio album, What It Means to Fall Apart, they’re proving that their dedication to emotionally aware, fan-driven music, hasn’t changed either.
Joined by longtime collaborators, producers Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount, the band diverged from their typical path in the studio. With no final destination in mind and setting their sights on just writing the best songs they could, they started chipping away at something, letting go of any attachment to whether they left the studio with a single, an EP, or a full record. They arrived at a fully realized album, 12 contemplative tracks written through the eyes of a band moving forward with the knowledge they could only gain from looking back.
Their anthemic lead single, “Kids Of The Summer,” infuses nostalgic memories of their care-free formative summers at Warped Tour into song, granting listeners and themselves the opportunity to “remember and embrace that feeling and carry it into the future,” Bundrick shares.
The band takes a slower pace in tracks like “Angels Die Too,” an emotional tribute to friends who’ve been lost to suicide. That thread of providing comfort can also be heard in the pensive track, “Think of You,” and in the ballad, “One For The Rocks and One For The Scary” a song about making the most of the time we have with the people we love.
Mayday Parade taps into the current climate, with “Golden Days” by focusing on the restlessness of lockdown, and the necessity of hoping for better days and in “You Not Me,” a cautionary tale of the dangers of “disposable love,” in a culture caught up in inebriated left swipes and hookups, that often lead to self-loathing and regret.
What It Means To Fall Apart also sees the band wading in a wide range of complex emotions, like in “If My Ghost Don’t Play, I Don’t Play,” which highlights feelings of being ostracised and the relief of finding connection, or “Heaven,” with its simple yet profound repetition of “It feels like heaven when you put me through hell.” The slow-burning track, “I Can’t Do This Anymore,” takes a lyrical dive into the mental struggles of relationships and the thin line between walking away or deciding to stay. There are also acutely aware reflective moments, like in the self-confrontational lyrics and cathartic bridge of “Bad At Love.” In “Sideways,” the band shares a lesson on the nature of toxic codependency, reflecting on what Betts refers to as, “the trapped feelings and the addiction to the relationship that keeps pulling you back even though you know to walk away.”
Some of the album’s brightest moments bring to mind the electric energy of the band’s live shows, songs like “Notice,” a track dedicated to the fans Mayday Parade has met throughout the years, people that continue to inspire them to move forward.
The band is looking forward to sharing these songs in venues around the world, noting that it’s not just about creating music for them, but how that music connects them with their fans and each other. “We all live in different states and have separate lives with different things going on,” Lenzo shares, “But just being able to get back together and play music is always a highlight.” Sanders mirrors that sentiment as well, sharing that the spark that started Mayday Parade still shines bright, “Even after all this time and plenty of other ways it could have gone or plenty of other things that we could be doing with our lives, we’re lucky to be able to do this.”