More like, a song or two To Remember
Admittedly I listened to A Day to Remember for the better half of 2007-2010, and I jumped into the deep end of their discography. For Those Who Have Heart never really left my car stereo all high school and I remember the release of Homesick in 2009, an album that started to hint toward their progression of the band they would ultimately become. Nostalgia is a hard feeling to bottle up and fully explain, but when it hits, it hits with full intensity, and some people can chase that feeling all their lives. Painting their past with paintbrush of romanticism that colors the past better than it actually was. That’s how I describe my relationship with A Day to Remember. So soaked in nostalgia that anything less than what I felt 8 years ago, is a waste.
Bad Vibrations starts with the title track “Bad Vibrations”, a heavy display of what A Day to Remember leans towards recently. However, the production glares through within seconds and takes away from the song immensely. Boiler plate guitar chugs and flat drumming plagues not only the first song, but much of the album. Jeremy McKinnon’s vocals bounce back and forth between a throaty growl to raspy cleans during the chorus. Even though they are strong, they fall into similar routines every single song.
A Day to Remember has been a band for 12 years, and started to blow up and gain popularity after their 2009 album, Homesick. They know their audience and they know what songs will be played on the radio, what songs will stick in a 14 year old’s head, and what type of song structure will have millions of views on YouTube. Sadly this is the route that A Day to Remember has been on for the past few albums. Very rarely steering out of their comfort zone, and sticking to formulaic verse, chorus, verse, breakdown, chorus structures. Did they sell out? Yeah absolutely. Do I blame them? Not for one damn second.
The formula is most apparent on the song “Naivety,” which is the MOST glaring example of a 'radio friendly' rock song on Bad Vibrations. Don’t be surprised if you hear this song on an alternative radio station near you in the very near future. Just because it vibes mainstream doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad however, (I think Dave Grohl has that tattooed on him somewhere) it just means that it’s unoriginal.
The next song “Exposed” is a laughable take on 'djent' as a super detuned guitar plays basically a variation of a song Periphery wrote in 2010, then a clean chorus, then half rapped vocals, then a rip offed Meshuggah break down, followed up by once again, you guessed it, a clean and glossy chorus. The cherry on top is the shallow lyrics of “like a shark we come to the surface, we got a taste for blood” that is mosh call-out before yet another breakdown.
The redeeming factors (for me at least) are when A Day to Remember put away their tough guy routine and sing decent quality pop-punk songs with massive choruses and catchy lyrics. “Same About You,” “Negative Space,” and “In Florida” are good examples of what A Day to Remember can still pull off.
Maybe it’s my nostalgia for this band that I am drawn to the sappy slower songs, the songs I could see myself singing out loud to as I pull away from high school on a Friday afternoon, looking forward to the weekend of no homework.
But this isn’t high school.
by Andy Wilcox (@wilco204)