All Time Low

Nothing Personal

Written by: BL on 16/09/2009 20:38:43

I had wished that I wrote this sooner, namely during summer rather than the end of the summer. But anyway this third full length by emo pop punk act All Time Low held many promises for a band that had since seen their popularity explode after their 2nd album "So Wrong, It's Right" - culminating in them being named Alternative Press magazine's Band Of The Year for 2008. They had a total of 5 different producers for this album, with each producer behind a different number of tracks, something I had not previously seen for a rock band. One was also sketchy and a little wary of a band receiving all this mainstream attention and the effect it might have on the music, though that concern was soon brushed aside.

The opener "Weightless" is one of the most addictive pop punk songs that have graced my ears of late and is a great way to kick start proceedings. At first it might seem deceptively straightforward and predictable - gleamingly soft intro followed by some big crunchy pop punk guitars, and I'm not really going to argue against that. But Alex Gaskarth sings a wonderful chorus with some killer hooks, and then you have the almost self referential lyrics, the fantastic production and the simply rock-in-mind assembled guitars all coming together beautifully to make a song you will revisit so many times it becomes an embarrassment. I would consider it an ideal piece that really captures the essence of summer (as my kind of pop punk should), having fun and hoping the good times will never end. Of course all this meant though that the rest of the album would have one hell of a feat accomplished if it could maintain the same quality and fun throughout the rest of the album with 11 more songs to go.

For the most part the band don't do much wrong, "Break Your Little Heart" and "Lost In Stereo" are both big numbers with huge singalong material as well as delicious guitar work and it really gives off a Jimmy Eat World vibe which one finds most appealing. "Damned If I Do Ya", while a slower tempo song has an infectious feel to it in both its stop start rhythm and its melodies. As you hit track six, "Sick Little Games" you get to the first ballad material track, but a rock guitar chorus at least ensures it doesn't really get boring (as they can do with pop punk ballads). "Hello Brooklyn" is perhaps the first really underwhelming song, but really only in comparison to the fantastic opening tracks and as such is borderline passable filler with a rather annoying outro. "Walls" somewhat makes up for it with a super sugar coated layered melodic intro, and another great chorus. "Too Much" is the most obvious soft song of the album and is the second disappointment: its very thin guitarwise, and too stuffed with autotune and electronic samples in an attempt to appeal to the neon pop/electro scene crowd. It's rather unfortunate though because the lyrics seem quite honest and well meant, turned cheesy because of the electronic effects. This is also the only song to be produced by R'n'B singer/songwriter/producer The-Dream and I suppose from this you could have predicted the end result. "Keep The Change, You Filthy Animal" and "A Party Song(The Walk Of Shame)" thankfully get the band back on track (the former having a nifty lead guitar driven sound) before finishing on the melancholic sounding "Therapy" - which really gives one the idea that "Too Much" shouldn't have been included on the album at all and it's somewhat fitting the summer theme that summer itself has to end, and as such one would be reflective and perhaps a little down, yet still optimistic for the future.

When I think back to the album on the whole, it was a lot of fun to listen to the whole way through even considering the blips along the way. So the quality wavers every now and then, but you can't take away the energy and fun factor these guys bring to the table. Of course "Nothing Personal" won't win any awards for originality nor does it contain the emotional depth some of you might look for either (not to say there isn't any depth because there is), but the sheer catchiness and uplifting nature of the good tracks on show are what makes this kind of pop punk worth listening to and something to take along on your way to the beach. There's a real down to earth feel emanating from the record too, which makes it as accessible as it's going to get, that and the lyrics - all about partying, girls, blooming and breaking relationships. It isn't quite as punk as "So Wrong, It's Right" nor does it have as many fast tempo tracks in comparison, but everything feels bigger and the glittery production makes it seem a lot grander too. "Nothing Personal" isn't going to break into the big scores around here mainly due to it's somewhat limited scope for originality and it's seasonal nature (a reason why I wanted do actually review this earlier), and the other minor downsides weigh it down slightly too, but its most definitely worth the


Download: Weightless, Break Your Little Heart, Lost In Stereo, Walls
For the fans of: New Found Glory, Fall Out Boy (From Under The Cork Tree), Jimmy Eat World, summer
Listen: Myspace

Release date 07.07.2009
Hopeless Records

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