By Kayla Chanthavong, Contributor
[Masterpiece Theatre; 2009]
Original Release Date: February 24, 2009
Memorable tracks: “All To Myself”, “Cross My Heart”, “Celebrity Status”
We will kick off a nostalgic Ten Years Today with the iconic Canadian pop-rock group Marianas Trench and their album Masterpiece Theatre. If you don’t already know who they are, you’re missing out on a classic punk-turned-pop-rock band that made their debut with their release of Fix Me, as well as special television show cameos. I can definitely vouch for Marianas Trench as a band that fully support the typical middle school angst that we’ve all experienced in the most wholesome and mildly rebellious ways (don’t lie). Without a doubt, this is an album that I always go back to whenever I feel like reminiscing in my adolescent spirit.
In 2007, their debut album became available in the U.S., introducing their fun, bold atmosphere and rowdy personalities. However, Masterpiece Theatre was the first album that really showcased the diversity of talent and ingenuity within the band, especially with the musical expertise of main vocalist and lyricist, Josh Ramsay. No one expected that an obscure, small-town pop-punk/rock band would’ve taken the alternative rock scene by storm. Quite notably, Masterpiece Theatre won the Western Canadian Music Awards’ “Pop Recording Record of the Year” award in 2009, and the single “Cross My Heart” won the MuchMusic Video Awards’ “Director of the Year” award. In 2010, the single also won the Independent Music Awards’ “Astral Media Radio Favourite Single” and “Favourite Video” awards.
Nowadays, it’s all about being independent, doing your own thing and how you don’t need a man or a woman to be the best badass that you know you can be. But let’s rewind a decade. Back then, it was all about wanting someone or wanting to do whatever it takes to win over the affections of someone you care about, even if it meant changing yourself for them. A guy wants the girl; a girl wants the guy – it’s all very scripted and generic. It might sound dramatic from an analytical perspective, but it never really seems that way when you dig someone that much, does it? But that’s the 2000s for you. On the other hand, I do think that this album does a fantastic job of covering all of the ups and downs within the scope of relationships. The story behind this album seems to follow the on-and-off connection between two people blindsided by love, as well as the damage and destruction that they can inflict on one another. Despite all of that, moments of happiness are what overcome those hardships and create even stronger bonds.
Now, let’s dive a little deeper. This album’s versatility is one of its many great qualities. If we break up the album, we can section it into four categories. In short, “All To Myself”, “Cross My Heart” and “Perfect” are about making your intentions clear. That passion is what drives the momentum and motivation to express what you want (Ain’t nobody gonna get in yo’ way). “Beside You” and “Good To You” are promises made to the ones you care for. “Celebrity Status” and “Acadia” hit a little closer to home, growing and dealing with changes we make within ourselves and maybe into ways we never expected. “Celebrity Status” definitely induces that move-and-groove mood, but also enlightens us to the fact that there are going to be people who will want to change and take advantage of you. However, as long as you overcome those social constraints, no one can control the way you want to live your life. “Sing Sing” and “Lover Dearest” get into those feels after a break-up, which is never fun. But don’t worry kiddo, you’ll fall down many times, but you’ll find yourself again because nothing should stop you from living life to its fullest.
Now, I’d like to bring focus to “Masterpiece Theatre I”, “Masterpiece Theatre II” and “Masterpiece Theatre III”, which reveal Marianas Trench’s seemingly effortless and natural talent in big studio sound recording. Despite it being their first time attempting a symphonic rock style, they expressed such an air of expertise it’s like they’ve been doing it for far longer than they have. And they did a kickass job, starting with Josh Ramsay’s accompanying vocals for a chorale and acapella ambiance. These songs are definitely the artistically denser pieces that integrate lyrics from all parts of the album. By tweaking with rhythms and pitches of previous song lyrics, they give it a holistically new vibe. With each “Masterpiece”, it begins slow and builds momentum, making wild-yet-smooth transitions like scenes in a movie. They’re dynamic and follow a storyline intended for listeners who really care and appreciate their unique creativity, and these listeners will notice the messages they want to convey in the order of the songs between each “Masterpiece”. Each “Masterpiece” elicits its own story, and I would recommend listening to the “Masterpieces” in chronological order after listening to the whole album once through.
The behind-the-scenes of the recording of Masterpiece Theatre quite accurately represent the kind of band that Marianas Trench are: spontaneous, creative and genuine. Much more could be said about this band and their other amazing albums like Ever After and Astoria, but I feel that Masterpiece Theatre is really where their career took off. Ten years today, this album still carries charm in its obscurity and sensational symphonic style of rock.
Look out for their new album Phantoms scheduled to be out March 1!
Listen to Masterpiece Theatre here: