Best of 2016 Playlist

September 4, 2016

A Day to Remember - "Bad Vibrations" Review

A Day to Remember's new album is finally here! Ready? Well then get ready. This album delivers on the band's promise to make this their heaviest in years. They're heading back to their humble beginnings, and cranking out that familiar gritty, grimy punk rock we all knew back in 2005. 

Click this (link) to buy "Bad Vibrations" on iTunes

This album is essentially a nod to the band's metalcore, hardcore and punk roots. While on "Common Courtesy" A Day to Remember mixed varying levels of hard rock, pop punk and hardcore together to give their sound a modern feel, this album sees the band returning to their earlier years and picking up where they left off. This feels more like a direct sequel to "For Those Who Have Heart", as opposed to the follow up to "Common Courtesy. 

The album's organic, rough feel is very welcoming, as if you're in the studio with the band as they record each track. Everything is brought back to square one, and that's what makes this album shine. The record also saw Jeremy McKinnon taking a step away from the production side of the process, and allowing producer Bill Stevenson to handle the bulk of the work. It really shows in the end product. McKinnon's production style, evident even on other albums he's done, is a bit more modern and polished. Here, the band more or less give us a "live" performance full of raw distortion and uncut growls. 

Lyrically this album is all over the map. McKinnon bares his demons for all to see, belting out verses and choruses about stress, judgement, regrets, and change. At this point in the game, the guys don't appear to even be trying, they're songs are (from a lyrical) standpoint, stronger than ever. It's straightforward enough that you don't have to wrack your brain trying to understand the "deeper" meaning, but not so much that it's like getting hit in the face with a wet fish. 

Track by Track Review

1. Title Track -  8/10 (Click link to read full review)

2. Paranoia - 8.5 to 9/10 (Click link to read full review)

3. Naivety - 8.5 to 9/10

Good ol' 90s punk meets ADTR. The bell rings give the song a bit of an alt/indie rock vibe, but don't be alarmed. This is pure pop punk, without a single doubt. It's one of the best tracks of the year, let alone the album. The song's all about losing one's innocence, as you'd expect based on the title. The best part about the track is that it's free of all the cheese that came with "Right Back at it Again". Just a couple of guys playing one kick-ass track. A throwback to Sum 41 and Green Day's early days, while still within the realm of ADTR pop punk. You'll have "Naivety" stuck in your head for days. 

4. Exposed - 8/10 
One of the heaviest tracks the band's produced in years. You have to appreciate the band trying to return to their hardcore roots. It can get a little muddled with all the chugging. However, the track undoubtedly fun. And lyrically the band are attacking politicians, so what's not to love about that. McKinnon mixes his typical deep, throaty growls with a more half-screamed style for certain parts of the track. "Exposed" is full of breakdowns and lots of open chord chugs. A must have track for those fans of ADTR's heavier material. Let there be circle pits and walls of death everywhere as we all scream "No war, no peace!!!"

5. Bullfight - 7.5 to 8/10

Now it's time to do a complete 180, and switch from the heavy, classic metalcore track "Exposed" to the lighter and more intricate "Bullfight". The song is this album's "Sometimes You're the...", mixing post hardcore with ADTR's brand of pop punk. The verse starts off fairly muted before the chorus brings a spark of energy. Not as much as one might have expected, but fear not. The post chorus breakdown is just what listeners needed. The following verse is far more lively and powerful. The softer moments in "Bullfight" shift gears towards modern rock. But the heavy moments bring the hardcore side of the band full force (like the breakdown which is going to be an insane time during live performances). It's a solid track, albeit a little monotonous but still solid. 

6. Reassemble - 7/10
Heavy as fuck and anthemic as "All I Want". The song shows off ADTR's ability to pump hardcore life into an otherwise melodic rock song. The heavily chugged riff driving the song leaves a little to be desired, as it seems the easy way out for the band. It doesn't take much effort to write something in open chords and chug your way through an entire verse. It's fun, but seeing as ADTR have set a certain standard for themselves, we're a little let down. There's also a strong contrast between the track's light and heavy sides, leaving "Reassemble" feeling, ironically enough, disconnected from itself. The ending in particular leaves one wanting another verse of chorus. The song is blasted through with strong metalcore chugs, and then just fades out? Like watching the Sopranos' finale (anyone who knows the show or pop culture knows what we're talking about)

7. Justified - 7/10
"Justified" capitalizes on that contrast the band are so good at delivering. Pop punk shines for the melodic and rhythmic chorus, where the verses are hard and heavy. The track transports you back to 2005 and 2007, to the band's early years when they were still finding their sound. It's like the band weren't sure how heavy or light to go on this one, so they just split it up 50/50. 

8. We Got This - 8.5 to 9/10

Originally planned for "Common Courtesy" the band passed on the track as they weren't happy with the end result. Flash forward two years, and the band bang whatever imperfections it may have had to give us one of their best songs yet. Showing off the band's softer side, the song hits home; hard. The upbeat chorus will give you chills, and if it doesn't you should probably see a doctor. The song's basically about being misunderstood. "To anyone who's alone in a crowded room, put your hands up high sing out of tune" is most definitely be one of our "Featured Lyrics". The song is mainstream friendly, modern pop punk at its best, and has the potential to breakthrough radio barriers. 

9. Same About You - 8/10

Remember the intro to "The Danger in Starting the Fire"? Well imagine the intro to that track mixed with alt. rock and R&B. That's pretty much how "Same About You" starts. The song is different enough where it counts. The chorus remains strong in the band's usual pop punk style. The verses break things up and provide something new for listeners. Think Set It Off meets ADTR during the first verse and the beginning of the chorus. It's still heavy enough to please most ADTR fans. The real treat and surprise is the guitar solo and ensuing breakdown. Both could have been ripped off one of Black Veil Brides' early albums, which isn't nearly as bad as it sounds. 

10. Turn Off the Radio - 7.5/10

A garbled intro shouldn't put you off this song. As soon as the wailing guitar starts you know you're in for a down and dirty performance. Pure ADTR hardcore, a companion piece for "My Life For Hire" or "Sometimes You're...". This is another track that was intended for "Common Courtesy", but the band passed on. McKinnon's voice seems to have regressed back to 2007 for this track, hitting those high notes like he did with his pre-pubescent (at least that's what it sounds like) voice. Everything about this song reminds one of the band's early music. A well blended mix of pop punk and hardcore, especially during the chorus. A faster tempo would have made this song an 8/10 instead of a 7.5, because by the time the final chorus rolls around things have gotten a bit sluggish. Melodic may be another way to putting it, but there's a fine line between melodic and slow. 

11. Forgive and Forget - 8.5/10
The perfect way to close the album. It's a love ballad of the highest caliber. Not cheesy, perfectly mixing ADTR style rock with R&B and mainstream rock. The orchestration surpasses anything we could have imagined the band would craft. McKinnon lets all walls down for the chorus, and we can totally see him wearing an open white shirt and pants combination singing this track on a hillside or beach. The bridge brings the song from a 5 to a 8 on the volume setting, which is where things remains for the remaining minute of the song.

Summary - 

A stellar mix of old and new, heavy and light, modern and classic. A Day to Remember had already set the bar pretty high. And yet they still somehow managed to blow past the bar, and soar into the stratosphere and then lower orbit around the earth on this album. A huge improvement from "Common Courtesy" and a callback to the band's early years, there's something for everyone. ADTR have perfected their sound, now all they need to do is fine tune some of the technical aspects. If things keep progressing the way they are, album 7 will blow everyone's minds. We couldn't be happier with this release, and hope you are too. Actually the only complaint we have is there aren't any of ADTR's fun titles like "I'm Made of Wax Larry..." or "The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle". 

Favorite Tracks - 

You can't beat the album's lead single, "Paranoia", which is in a league all its own. And the title track adds a new layer of intensity and anxiety to the band's music that was never so prevalent before. Close runners up include: "Naivety", "We Got This" and "Forget and Forgive". 

Average Rating - 8/10

      Rating Breakdown -