After All Time Low’s breakthrough with So Wrong It’s Right, there was nothing but pressure on the four young men from Baltimore, Maryland to be the best pop-punk band in America. Following So Wrong It’s Right were albums Nothing Personal and Dirty Work, two albums which definitely showed that the band were trying to do as best as they could in the music industry. Unfortunately, Dirty Work didn’t get the initial response that the band were hoping for, and they therefore ended up back in the studio, conjuring up a new album. This time around, All Time Low were back with their older label Hopeless Records, making fans presume their older style of music was going to make a return. However, singer Alex Gaskarth stated that they would “…make an album that we felt reflected the best aspects of our previous releases.” From start to finish, the band have created a fresh new album, merging the sounds of their older albums together.
Don’t Panic starts with the hit single The Reckless And The Brave, yet a poppier start gives out a negative vibe around their new album. Dirty Work, All Time Low’s previous album, received multiple negative comments surrounding the bands new sound. It was seen as “too poppy”, and “not like their old type of music”, yet we all know bands change their music style every so often. You can immediately hear how Alex Gaskarth’s vocals have grown over the past six years. Lyrics such as “Looking back at a life on the other side/I realise that I didn’t fit in/Didn’t hate it but I didn’t quite relate it” shows that the song stands not just for his feelings and emotions, but also represents the band not yet being content with where they are. Alex Gaskarth then belts out “So long live the reckless and the brave/I don’t think I want to be saved/Our song has not been sung/So long live us”, automatically making a connection between the band and the fans by using the word “us”. The Reckless And The Brave is definitely a track to add to your summer playlist.
Somewhere In Neverland has All Time Low written all over it. The catchy tune oozes through listeners ears, whilst Alex Gaskarth sings lyrics relating to the classic Disney film, Peter Pan. The playful lyrics tie in with the pop-punk melody, a song that will be sung by thousands of fans every night. All Time Low’s lyrics are a relatable subject for fans who have grown up from youthful innocence to a real world, where responsibilities outweigh freedom and independence. The lyrics definitely touch upon the idea of doing what you love, as long as you’re happy with what you’re doing. They also show the idea of never growing up, a theme central to Peter Pan.
Moving on to one of the standout tracks on the album, So Long Soldier is most definitely a flashback track. When listening to this song, it reminds me of the song Circles, from one of their first albums, The Party Scene. Producer Mike Green’s talent shines on this song, by balancing drumming by Rian Dawson with Alex Gaskarth’s softer vocals. The lyrics talk about Alex Gaskarth’s childhood life, saying “Back in ‘95/A little boy from just outside of London took a fated trip across the ocean”. They also go on to talk about the band starting out when they were young, and how successful they are now. An obvious favourite from all of All Time Low’s fan girls and boys.
Lyrically, Outlines is definitely one of their best songs on this album. Jason Vena’s (vocalist from the band Acceptance) vocals work well combined with Alex Gaskarth’s vocals and this song shows how talented both the young males are. It is incredible to hear both talented musicians singing together, their individual vocal types bouncing off one another. With help from Patrick Stump (vocalist from the band Fall Out Boy) in writing this song, we see he has put his own little personal touch on it. Instead of using juvenile humour or pop-punk culture featured references, Alex Gaskarth has spilled out his heart and used his way with words to portray his emotions. Sonically, the song shows what All Time Low are really like; sincere, unique writing with a monstrous hook.
Despite the fact that this album overwhelms me, it does have a few minor problems. For example, Backseat Serenade and The Irony Of Choking On A Lifesaver didn’t really cut the mark for me. These tunes are definitely the poppier songs on the album, and may seem like album fillers for most people. The problem with Backseat Serenade is that Cassadee Pope is featured in the song, however it’s very hard to hear her. Her vocals are far too quiet and she doesn’t have enough of a singing part to be classed as featured in the song.
This is most likely the album that fans will have wanted after So Wrong It’s Right, and if you’ve lost out on All Time Low due to their poppier sound, this album is definitely the one to restore your faith in them. You can clearly see the progression that All Time Low have made in this album, as the members have learnt from their past experiences. Unlike some bands who re-write the same kind of music, All Time Low are constantly changing their sound, gathering more fans as they progress. Overall, a very good album that I am impressed by. The band’s sound has definitely grown along with its fans. This is All Time Low at their best.
author: Jess Barker