Album – You’re Welcome
A Day To Remember are an American rock band formed back in 2003. The band have been classified under all manor of sub-genres over the years, be it metalcore, emo, post-hardcore or many others, but the band have evolved and changed that much over their career that rock seems like the easiest way to describe them these days. They were, however, one of the leaders of the pack back in the later 2000s when it came to combining metal with pop-punk, a sound that has brought them growing success around the world. Having a total of six albums out by the end of last year, the band have grown into one of the biggest modern rock bands around, having rocked up a hugely impressive over 400 million streams on Spotify alone. They are also now headlining arenas in this country and creeping closer and closer to the headlining slot of major UK festivals; I don’t think it’ll be too many more years until they finally ascend to that top level. Their new album, You’re Welcome, was finally released on Friday (a long time coming as they have been releasing singles for it for over a year now) and I cannot wait to check it out, having really grown up with the band at this point and being a fan of them for a while now!
One of the more recent singles, Brick Wall, starts things off on a surprisingly light note, with clean guitars and clean, pretty great vocals. However, it has such a great build-up feel to it and, sure enough, after a quick pre of more build it EXPLODES into a huge chorus. The guitar and bass riffs are huge and heavy, getting me headbanging right the way through its short tenure, the drums adding perfectly to its heaviness too. It surprisingly drops back down to the lighter, stripped back verse again after only a few seconds, doing a similar build back into the huge riff again. That riff alone has been enough for me to playlist it, just to warn you, so anything negative I may end up saying after this point is automatically saved by the riff. We head into a pretty heavy, catch bridge after the second chorus before it drops out completely for a minute, playing just the bass and drums for the heavy chorus before adding in the insane guitar. It only gets even heavier as Jeremy’s scream comes into it, sounding so good over the crazy heavy riff, something I would LOVE to see live. This is how the song ends too, a huge heavy chord being hit again and again and again, sounding fantastic. The heavier parts in this far outweighed the rest, but made it all worth it.
Mindreader, the first single we reach,starts out pretty pop-punky again, heading straight into a guitar lead riff, the vocals sounding great over the top. It again builds up throughout however this time it heads into an equally light chorus, it being full of catchy vocals, great harmonies and a very, very good guitar riff behind it all. While I am usually partial to their heavier side, this is really damn good as a slower, radio-friendly song. The short, vocal-centric bridge between the second and last choruses also sounded great, giving the fans something pretty easy to sing along to live. This was another great song, if not quite playlist-worthy for me.
Bloodsucker opens on a HUGELY catchy gang vocal line, one that I can already tell will go down an absolute storm live. It strangely changes up completely going into the verse, that dropping out and giving way to some almost Latina-style acoustic guitar riffs behind what I think is a guest vocalist, it certainly doesn’t sound like Jeremy. It is all massively catchy still, but it sounds a lot different than what I was expecting this album to sound like. Jeremy’s harsher vocals also sound pretty weird coming in out of nowhere over the top of the so far pretty calm music, being so much louder in the mix than the other vocals too. However, when the rest of the instrumentation and backing vocals come back in for the chorus, it sounds fantastic again, and suuuuper catchy. I’m going to sound like such a hypocrite here too, because although it is venturing a little too close to the Imagine Dragons style like so many other bands have tried to capitalise on over the last few years (looking at you, Shinedown), I actually really like it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d have preferred a heavier, more metal song and the structure and everything else about it is super basic and simple, but damn if the chorus isn’t one of the catchiest things I’ve heard in a while. It may even sneak into the playlist, we shall see…
Last To The Dance thankfully heavys things back up again with another huge guitar riff, backed perfectly by the slow, crushing drums. The vocals come in heavy too, Jeremy’s harsh screams making a much welcome mainstay return for a lot of the song. The riff behind the verse is also awesome, sounding almost like a thrash riff, it fitting so well with the more powerful vocals. The vocals get clean again for the pre and heading into the huge chorus, some more massively catchy vocal lines and great instrumentation behind it. Also, the vocals getting harsher moments before the huge riff comes back was a nice touch. Also, the outro is fucking HEAVY, a HUGE breakdown to close things out with a massive, low guitar tone and some crushing growls. This was fantastic and easily playlisted.
F.Y.M is a slower song, clearly one of the more ballad-type songs on the album. It’s not a bad song, but honestly the lyrics put me off massively. F.Y.M stands for ‘fuck you money’, the lyrics before being ‘I can’t wait to get some…’. For such a big, world renowned band, they probably have enough money between them as it is, so for people richer than I am to make a song about wanting more money, it just doesn’t sit all too right with me. Especially as it is done in a slower song, one typically more reserved for a more sombre, emotional tone when it comes to rock music. The instrumentation is pretty good, but the lyrics are so cringy it ruins it.
High Diving isn’t much faster than the previous song and is again a pretty tame one for the band, all things considered. However, this one is a little more hip-hop inspired, it reminding me a lot of the likes of OPM or some of the some of the more early 2000s inspired Blink-182 or Zebrahead. It’s again not a bad song, but I’m so far waiting on a little more heaviness. I’m hoping it comes later on because so far we’ve only had 1, at a push 2 heavy songs out of 6. Fingers crossed it isn’t all like this!
Resentment, another of the singles,feels heavier for a second, the drums being fast and bass-heavy behind a huge sounding guitar and bass riff. However, it soon deteriorates into a fairly mid-tempo, lighter, radio-friendly song again every time the vocals are involved. It has a heavy-ish breakdown in after the second chorus, but it couldn’t make up for the kind of meh feeling the rest of the feeling had left me with up until that point. I’ve realised what it reminds me of. It’s just catchy Deftones. Damn, do I hate Deftones.
Unfortunately, the next couple of songs, Looks Like Hell and Viva La Mexico, don’t do much to pick up my feel of the album at all. The former is just a general slow, moody pop rock song that does little for me at all. The latter isn’t much better in terms of the feel but again the chorus is fantastically catchy, one that’ll go down a storm live, and almost redeems the song as a whole. Heck, I think it might have done if it hadn’t been proceeded by another three lighter songs. This is feeling a lot more like a modern pop-punk album so far than a band that cut their teeth doing metalcore. It’s not bad pop punk at all either, that’s the annoying thing, it’s good but just not at all what I was expecting or hoping for. If I wanted this type of music I’d listen to All Time Low, not ADTR.
Only Money reminds me a lot of F.Y.M in terms of feel and instrumentation, ironic given that they are the polar opposites, lyrically. However, this song leans even heavier into the pop side of things, almost giving off Post Malone vibes with how light and slow and simple the instrumentation is. It’s another sound that I wasn’t expecting at all and if you like it then awesome, but I personally cannot stand this sort of music, it bores me to tears. At least Jeremy’s voice is better and sounds less bored than Post’s!
We’ve finally reached the first single from the album, released all the way back in 2019, Degenerates. The vocal line to open is another catchy one, easy to sing along to live so it’ll go down a storm. It also comes back as the chorus, meaning that the whole song is built around catchiness. The rest of the song is pretty simple and generic. It’s very pop punk, which again isn’t a bad thing, and very radio-friendly, something that is definitely needed for a lead single. It just doesn’t feel like it has that much special behind it, if that makes sense? Sure, it has a catchy chorus and a ADTR sounding breakdown, but it didn’t blow me away by any stretch. I feel like a massive hypocrite, asking for their older sound back and then complaining when I get it, but this sounds like a pretty B-side version of some of their other hits. It’s not bad by any stretch, but it just feels a little stale and lackluster when they have proved with other songs on this album and the previous that they can do the style but a little more mature and interesting. A good song and a fine single, but just kind of another track to me.
The same analysis can be given for the next two tracks, Permanent and Re-Entry. As I’ve said a fair amount in this, none of these songs are inherently bad at all, and I have enjoyed at least parts of all of them. Maybe the issue is that, come to think about it, I don’t think I’ve actually listened to one of their albums in full since Homesick back like 12 years ago; maybe they have gotten lighter and lighter since then and devolved into an almost fully radio rock/pop punk band? If they have, it sucks, because honestly around Homesick and And What Separates Me From You they were putting out some of the best mildly heavy music in the business. Anyway, back on track, no, I don’t like this. I’m sick of this slow pandering music now. Thank god I have Demon Hunter to review after this…
The final song on the album, Everything We Need, is the final single they released just a month or so ago. And guess what folks, it feels like these bands are doing it just to piss me off these days, but it’s the slowest song on the album to close everything out again! It’s a pretty nice acoustic ballad, but at this point I’m pretty done with this album, so as beautiful as the music and the lyrics are, I simply don’t care about it. Then again, having this anywhere else on the album wouldn’t have made much difference as it’s almost all slow. A good song but one that ends on a whimper with a fade-out. Goddamn, this was a slog of a 46 minutes.
Overall: this was pretty disappointing for me. Coming into it expecting some heavy music, this didn’t really do a lot for me, but that may have been on me for not expecting the band to do what a lot of others around a similar age and point in their careers have done too and written more for the radio than their original fanbase. Heck, if this is the music they want to write more power to them, and it may grow on me a little more after a few more listens, but I’m not rushing back to this one at all any time soon. Considering this was one of the main ones this year I was thinking could be amazing, this has left somewhat of a sour taste in my mouth.
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The review by musician, blogger & author – Joe Griffiths