Like so many other bands, Mayday Parade has been subjected to quarantine boredom and a need to make the most of the far-and-few between meetings with each other.
And with an EP already recorded just as the pandemic surged in March, they were on pause for the summer. When they met up for the first time in months, they all had an urgency to create whatever content they could, which included music videos and acoustic versions of their songs from their forthcoming EP, Out of Here, set to roll out on October 16 via Rise Records.
“Lighten Up Kid” is the second song off the EP and as is a lead single, but Mayday Parade realized how well it translated to acoustic, so they went for it and in turn set a path to do some more renditions. And though the song was written about a year ago, vocalist Derek Sanders said the lyrics are very relevant to what is happening in our world now.
“I feel like this song and ‘First Train’ both have the general idea of moving forward and not getting weighed down by the negative aspects of life, not taking things seriously and being able to brush off the bad stuff,” Sanders told American Songwriter.
“Lighten Up Kid” doesn’t seek to draw out any other underlying or elusive meaning. It’s a simple reminder to everyone that has been drowning in stress, anxiety, and overall hardship, to take a breath and let the weight off, even if just for a few minutes. The chorus; Lighten up a little, locked up, belittled, until you go insane, taken for granted until you called my name, lighten up a little, stuck in the middle, can’t help but go insane, illustrates the mutual impact of isolation and quarantine on all of us. And the brightness of Sanders voice next to the casual strums of the acoustic guitar mirror the relaxed message of the song.
“This song didn’t change much from the original demo,” Sanders said. “But we all felt it was such a fun and energetic song that we were all drawn to immediately.”
Sanders said similar themes will continue to show up on the remaining songs, like “First Train,” which he said is a “much more optimistic song than we would normally do, because we’re known for doing the sad, bummer songs. And it’s one of my favorite songs we’ve ever recorded, and I feel like it has a hopeful vibe to it. I love the riff, the energy, it’s just amazing.”
“Lighten Up Kid” and its acoustic counterpart were recorded with longtime buddies and collaborators Kenneth Mount and Zack Odom, who worked on Mayday Parade’s debut album. “Their input is very valuable to us,” Sanders said. “We did our first album with them in 2007, so they’re like family and they understand the band very well.”
“Lighten Up Kid” and the remaining tracklist for Out of Here were intended to be part of a full-length prior to the pandemic, and the band still intends to finish that album, but they wanted to get some music out sooner. And fans can definitely expect some more music this year, crafted from the lightheartedness heard in “Lighten Up Kid.”
“There were so many things we could not do but releasing music is something we were able to do,” Sanders said about ‘Lighten Up Kid’ and the EP. “And we still have about four songs that are ready to go and record. We’re trying to figure out when the best time will be to finish up the next full-length. We’re trying to stay creative and busy, probably going to record some more covers and just trying to make the most of this situation.”
Next year Mayday Parade will also be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their self-titled album and will certainly have some special plans in store to commemorate that, so stay tuned. In the meantime, check out their acoustic rendition of “Lighten Up Kid” today on American Songwriter.
You can pre-order Out of Here right now.