Even for longtime fans of the band, many of us were taken back by surprise by just how good Wake Up, Sunshine is. All Time Low have crafted their quintessential mid-career masterpiece that picks all of the best elements of each of their previous studio album efforts and expands upon these landmark moments with glowing results. The songs never stray too far from what All Time Low have accomplished in the past; they do these moments bigger and better on this record. This is one of those albums that grabs you from the very first listen, doesn’t disappoint, and still leaves you with a feeling of warmth and comfort through each of your repeat spins. In an age where some bands are postponing their releases in favor of garnering more attention in the fall, All Time Low have graced us with an early-summer treat that will stay in our daily rotations for the foreseeable future.
This first impression was originally posted as a live blog for supporters in our forums on May 19th, 2017. First impressions are meant to be quick, fun, initial impressions on an album or release as I listen to it for the first time. It’s a running commentary written while listening to an album — not a review. More like a diary of thoughts. This post has been lightly edited for structure and flow.
Oh yes, it is that time again … first listen time.
Tonight I’m excited to share a live-blog-first-listen thread all about the new All Time Low album.
My history with All Time Low is interesting. I remember seeing a lot of hype for the band around The Party Scene era and giving the songs a listen, I thought it was pretty run of the mill stuff, nothing really stood out to me. Then they released PUOSP and I was like, eh, ok, this is better, there’s some stuff here that I like, but as a whole, nothing really grabbing me. That was a three or so year long period of seeing the band, thinking they had potential, but nothing stood out to me as a “hit.”
And then the band sent me some demos for SWIR.
I heard “Dear Maria.”
I remember thinking, “yep, that’s the one.”
As a whole that was the first album I thought really nailed a pop-punk vibe and they had multiple tracks on that album I really, really liked. “Six Feet,” “Remembering Sunday,” “Stay Awake” … I felt like I finally got the band, even if I wasn’t really feeling the albums. That continued with Nothing Personal, an album where I really enjoyed a variety of songs, even more than the previous album, and this was the first time where I felt the band had put together a full album of songs. Something I felt like I would come back to time and time again and be able to listen to front and back.
Properly appreciating All Time Low’s Future Hearts requires a bit of background education. While the Baltimore quartet’s newest effort is impressive in its own right as a complete and well-rounded pop record, the gravity of All Time Low’s current success, in songwriting and in relativity, weighs more when it’s put in context.
Put simply, the argument can be made that All Time Low shouldn’t be in this position; they shouldn’t be releasing Future Hearts at all, and certainly not to this much fanfare. The band didn’t just face a major crossroads after the release of its 2011 major label debut Dirty Work, but a question of whether they should still exist.Read More “All Time Low – Future Hearts”
There’s a fine line between imitation and innovation. All Time Low had two options: try to be the next Fall Out Boy or try to be All Time Low. They chose the latter and for that, myself along with many others worldwide are eternally happy with this decision. After the band’s breakthrough album, So Wrong It’s Right, pressure mounted on the four young men from Baltimore, Maryland to be the next big crossover act from the scene. What followed were Nothing Personal and Dirty Work, two albums that saw the band go from simply a pop-punk act to spreading its wings and diversifying its sound. Unfortunately, the attempt to write the next big radio hit was not a successful venture and All Time Low had to return to the drawing board. Although not critically as well-received as its predecessors, it showed the band had chops to transition from the Warped Tour crowd to a potentially bigger atmosphere. It was just the early stages of what sets up Don’t Panic, the band’s fifth full-length album to date.Read More “All Time Low – Don’t Panic”
Time is the essence of life, and with time comes changes and phases. With time we grow, develop and mature as beings; some things we have come to love and admire fall by the wayside and we discover new entities to fill the voids. This is what a lot of All Time Low fans have witnessed – a band that that has grown over time into the monstrous band they are today. After two albums and a classic EP, the band decided to take a different route with their last album, Nothing Personal, which was frowned upon by the overwhelming majority for its glossed over pop sound. Now, it’s no secret that the guys have been aiming for a wider audience after taking the scene by storm. Nothing Personal was the first step in that direction but failed to reach the ultimate goal. Two years later and the band’s back to try again with Dirty Work.Read More “All Time Low – Dirty Work”
In 5 years All Time Low has skyrocketed to the forefront of the scene, going from Baltimore high schoolers to world tour headliners in no time. Last year the band released their third full length, Nothing Personal, which had an expansive yet defined sound. The band took a step back from up tempo pop punk anthems and instead chose to take a step towards stadium-filling pop rock hits. While this transition may have alienated fans, the band still seems to draw attention and excitement from the believers. When “Weightless” was released last March, AP.net was flooded with mostly praise and love for the band. It showed the band could produce a larger sound and still be real with who they are. That was what this band has always been about, and they have never lost that. But with all the good there is always going to be the bad as well. No one is perfect and ultimately four guys can’t please everyone.Read More “All Time Low – Straight To DVD”
Pop-punk never has been and never will be a genre to converge on innovation. Regardless of how much the purists, nostaligsts, and old-time Drive-Thru loyalists might argue for the accomplishments of their once-favorite acts, those days of novelty have since passed. With those claims already staked out, hordes of visitors have arrived in a quest to find their own stamp of land in this crowded settlement, doing so with an homage to their predecessors, but at the same time working to establish a proper identity in a sweet sound all their own.
A cursory glance through the latest offering from All Time Low, Put Up or Shut Up, reveals an act that kowtows in such a style, with more than a passing resemblance to bands like Fall Out Boy, The Starting Line, and Cartel. In reality, however, that is an overly simplistic conclusion to reach. Sure, thematically, the band does not establish itself as a wholly disparate entity by any means, but that is not the name of the root game here, really. All Time Low most certainly gives the “what’s up?” head-nod to the scene heavyweights, but tosses in plenty of proprietary flair to earn due respect.Read More “All Time Low – Put Up or Shut Up”
I remember when I was 17 years old. I did a lot of stupid things, as well as some great things, but I never did what the 4 members of All Time Low did. That would be releasing a debut album under independent label Emerald Moon Records. Hailing from Baltimore, All Time Low (consisting of lead vocalist and guitarist Alex Gaskarth, guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson) have released an album, titled “The Party Scene”, filled with great melodies, catchy sing-alongs, and energizing guitar hooks. If you were listening to this album for the first time, not knowing who the band was, you would think that this would be an established pop-punk band’s second or third album. You would think that a band with four 17 year-olds wouldn’t be able to write an album as good as this. But All Time Low has surprised many, showing that they are very talented despite how young they are. Prepare yourself for 40 minutes of some of the best pop-punk you’ll hear all year.Read More “All Time Low – The Party Scene”