by Conner Tighe
Since their founding in 2003, All Time Low has always done what they do well—rock. The band originally began with seven members, but now has only four: Alex Gaskarth as lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Jack Barakat as lead guitarist, bassist and backing vocalist Zack Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson. All Time Low has been consistent with their discography by releasing nine albums so far. Their previous album, It’s Still Nothing Personal: A Ten Year Tribute was released in 2019.
All Time Low has returned with their ninth album Wake Up, Sunshine. The rock band doesn’t fail to give us those early 2000 rock appeals—there is history along with true feelings put into this album, and it resonates through their guitar playing. The album leaves little room for critique and is one of the best albums released this year so far.
All Time Low refused to push back their album release date due to COVID-19 complications, despite other artists taking that route, like The 1975, Lady Gaga, The Pretenders, and The Killers. The album is its own getaway from the current state of the world. For just an hour or so, rock is all that matters with these 15 songs. The message in the songs is positive, and the album is better off for it—no track is down or drawl. All the songs are upbeat and represent what the band is all about: that rock is a way of life, and a fun life at that.
The album separates itself from other pop and rap album releases this year—instead of breakups or love related material, All Time Low is having plain fun with the album. However, it doesn’t manage to separate from the band’s own past. Compared to 2009’s Nothing Personal, well…there’s not much of a difference when it comes to sound. The music feels the same this time around—the rock can blur together after a couple of listens, but when does it not? The band members have stuck it out together all these years doing what they love most. Music keeps these friends together to create more music, and their fans are here for it.
A good disaster
Before the album was released, the band released the leading track, “Some Kind of Disaster,” which is awesome. Besides “Favorite Place,” which will be mentioned later, this track is the best of the album. It’s difficult to choose just one song as the best, but this piece sticks out the most. The song is much like 2005 All American Rejects in terms of message and sound: the guy wants a girl but something gets in the way, et cetera. All Time Low shares a sense of youth and fun, much like All American Rejects.
The gist of the album is this: a rhetorical man is a disaster, but he’s owning it. It’s who he is and others can either take it or leave it. The band’s not talking about anyone specific, but more of an idea of freedom and fun. We rarely see this self-acceptance vibe in pop punk, and it’s a unique spin to the genre. There are no apologies from the musicians, and it’s hard not to love. The band knows who they are, and that comes from years of experience in the music industry. Having the self-confidence to pursue this passion for rock is an important point to note, and that’s what this album is all about: “I know what I like and I know who I am.”
Friends in good times
There are a few collaborations in this album—not too many, but that’s okay. The Band Camino appears in “My Favorite Place,” bringing their unique style and vocals to the mix. The two groups sound excellent together and it’s clear that there’s good musical chemistry between them. The overall self-acceptance message and combination of pop punk overrule any collaborations that could’ve been.
The underlying message in this track is sweet and good to hear, especially during these times. It’s about someone who is longing for someone else, but they’re keeping their distance. They’ll be around if the other loves them back. It’s something different because there’s a sense of individuality that is empowering here and the vocals in the track go right with the message. “You’re my favorite place” from the track “Favorite Place” is describing a girl that said guy loves. There’s a longing in the music overall and it makes listeners wonder what will happen with the people described. It’s magic.
It’s time to wake up
Being yourself is a necessity for musicians and All Time Low harnesses that in a positive way. This album is sending a clear, positive message about self-expression: Wake Up, Sunshine—both the album and track—discuss this. This is exactly what we all need to be hearing right now. In a time of ugly divide, it’s important to discover what makes us all unique. It’s time to get away from being like everyone else. It’s time to wake up.
Some Kind of Disaster
Recommended if you like:
All American Rejects
Angels and Airwaves
Featured Image: YouTube