Derek Sanders – ‘My Rock and Roll Heart’

By Yasmin Brown

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Mayday Parade’s Derek Sanders has unleashed his heart on the world in the form of his debut solo EP, ‘My Rock and Roll Heart’. The five tracks – which are made up entirely of covers of some of his favourite songs – are performed acoustically, with Sanders’ sweet vocals softening the tracks as he strips them back to their bare bones.

They’re the kind of songs you want to listen to when you’re so loved up you feel you could fly, or so heartbroken that the catharsis that comes with the tears is nothing but relief. From the Goodbye Love cover of ‘For Lauren’ – a mostly unknown track Sanders originally covered for his wife with no intention of sharing with the world – to The Juliana Theory’s ‘August in Bethany’, you can feel the romantic intent radiating from both Sanders’ voice, and from the delicate way he plays his guitar and keyboard.

Jimmy Eat World’s ‘A Praise Chorus’ is a highlight, with a guest appearance from Stages and Stereos’ Daniel Lancaster, providing perfect harmonies to Sanders’ already gorgeous vocals. It’s a track that on any other day would get you dancing, but in this stripped back state, you’re forced to focus on the beauty of the lyrics and the true romance that lives within the song, giving it a whole new meaning and allowing you to enjoy it in a whole new way.

While most of these covers will be new to fans, there’s one that will jump out at anyone that’s seen Mayday Parade perform live over the past few years. ‘Punk Rock Princess’ tends to make an appearance at every headline show as Sanders performs his solo part of the set and this recording easily transports you back to those warm, dark rooms. It’s a perfect choice for this EP as it’s a song that’s clearly close to Sanders’ heart, and since these are all songs he was listening to at 15-16, they’re likely to be close to the hearts of his fans too; the ones that have grown up with him and the rest of Mayday Parade. 

While these renditions don’t offer much more than a softer, sweeter version of the originals, for many Mayday Parade fans, this EP will be a nostalgia trip presented to them by a voice that defines much of their youth. Most of us were just teenagers ourselves when Sanders’ voice became one that offered endless nights of comfort, and to be able to combine that with the songs that did that for him is a very special thing indeed. 


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