Release date: Sept. 2
Label: ADTR Records
Duration: 41 minutes
Through over a decade as a band, A Day to Remember has accomplished what many modern bands struggle with: staying relevant. With a perfect blend of old styles and elements of a bold new direction, A Day to Remember’s sixth studio album, “Bad Vibrations,” is a clear example of why the band has become so iconic.
A Day to Remember has always been known for juggling different styles from song to song, and as they have progressed, the variety of their music has expanded. “Bad Vibrations” takes this variety even further as it features a mixture of their traditional metal core and pop punk sounds, their more recent radio rock sound and a new hardcore sound with each genre bleeding over into the other in interesting and creative ways.
Their last album, “Common Courtesy,” opened with a duo of cheerful, peppy and catchy songs in “City of Ocala” and “Right Back At It Again.” “Bad Vibrations” on the other hand comes right out of the gate with two heavy, '90s hardcore-inspired tunes in the title track, “Bad Vibrations,” and “Paranoia.” These songs establish the newest editions to A Day to Remember’s ever-developing sound with raw and raspy vocals and a fast-paced instrumental style that immediately feels different than their previous work.
Both songs are exhilarating and brutal yet catchy, but “Paranoia” is the standout. Despite hearing it countless times since it was released as a single many months ago, “Paranoia” still has the same effect on me that it had when I first heard it. This song feels like a throwback to raw, garage band hardcore but with an A Day to Remember twist, making it equally fitting in a punk bar and on a rock radio station.
As with every A Day to Remember album, the tone doesn’t stay the same for long and the third track, “Naivety” is an upbeat and incredibly infectious pop punk jam. While its structure is fairly simple, this song has a carefree and fun vibe that sets it apart on the album and makes it memorable.
The following track, “Exposed,” returns to the heavier side but combines multiple styles in an interesting way. The guitar and bass work sound like a metal song while the vocals in the chorus have a more radio rock vibe and some of the background vocals feel like they were inspired by hardcore. The merging of these elements make “Exposed” a highly unique song that adequately demonstrates A Day to Remember’s ability to keep their music fresh and original.
Perhaps one of the highest points in the album comes in “Bullfight.” Vocalist Jeremy McKinnon shines on this song starting out with a low and mellow tone before picking up the pace in the middle of the song and exploding into low and brutal screams toward the end. As with many songs on the album, “Bullfight” satisfies in several ways with a combination of low breakdowns, a memorable chorus and a few cool sections that contrast the rest of the song nicely.
“Reassemble” keeps the heavier style moving with its own unique twists, but it’s the following two songs, “Justified” and “We Got This," that truly mix up the tone of the album. While each song up to this point has varied in style, most of them have leaned toward the heavier side, which could be disappointing to those who prefer A Day to Remember’s pop punk and rock sides. Luckily for those fans, these two songs scratch that itch.
The first of these, “Justified,” immediately shows that A Day to Remember gave their softer side the same level of polish and reimagining that they did with their heavier side in the first part of the album. “Justified” has the feeling of a traditional A Day to Remember pop punk song, but its periodic spikes in intensity and powerful lyrics about religion make it impactful and better with each listen. “We Got This” leans much more toward the lighter pop side of the equation, and it comes at the perfect time. After the intensity of many of the previous songs, “We Got This” brings a welcome shift and a chorus that begs to be belted out in a car with friends.
The following two tracks, “Same About You” and “Turn Off The Radio,” go more for a rock sound and, while they might be some of the more forgettable songs on the album, they still pack a punch and flow well. The closer, “Forgive and Forget,” however, is anything but forgettable.
Many bands have been closing their albums with slower, emotional songs recently, but A Day to Remember might have the best one yet. McKinnon’s mellow and somber tone blends perfectly with a beautiful string duo and poignant lyrics to send the album off in a highly satisfying way.
A Day to Remember has continuously progressed in popularity and enhanced their sound with each album, and “Bad Vibrations” shows us that they have no intention of stopping. “Bad Vibrations” is a varied and polished album that is certain to be remembered as one of A Day to Remember’s best works.