A Day To Remember

Common Courtesy

Written by: JWM on 11/10/2013 16:48:50

There's a lot of high anticipation surrounding "Common Courtesy". It's been three years since A Day To Remember released their fourth album "What Separates Me From You" (WSMFY), which for me was their weakest album. What it offered in anthems to spread their popularity, it lacked in the same long standing value of their previous two albums "Homesick" and "For Those Who Have Heart" (FTWHH) which have so rightfully stood the test of time as WSMFY has grown stale. Their third LP "Homesick" had a very different effect on their career and the world. It was one of the defining albums of a whole generation, a immortal epitome of alternative culture and it's appreciation for pop punk, modern hardcore punk, melodic metalcore and fusing controversial ideas.

As we fast forward to 2013 there's a big elephant in the room I'm going to sweep away so I can get on: The band had a lawsuit with their record label and they had no funding for this record. Their old label, Victory Records, seemingly is owned by a greedy, manipulative and fickle man and it meant they've recorded this whole thing in a home built studio at frontman Jeremy McKinnon's house. Don't call it a comeback, but "Common Courtesy" could make or break their opportunity of success.

An that pressure is released with "City Of Ocala" and its monstrously upbeat skate punk introductory riff which grips you as hard as blink-182's "Dumpweed" did 14 years ago. That older punk influence was likely brought by New Found Glory's Chad Gilbert, who has co-produced and co-written parts of this album. Lyrically, following the angst-ridden town hated in the 2011 single "All Signs Point To Lauderdale", this song defends their home city of Ocala, Florida: "This is our corner of the world/Where we can come to be ignored/This is our point where we return/This is where I came from." These lyrics and the music aptly progress together, both contain the same angsty charm, but as the the song develops it unfolds into a mature and anthemic sound.

As the next three songs progress, they make a transition from punk to metalcore. "Right Back At It Again" is a solid pop punk song with lyrics to inspire every young musician that listens; chronicling McKinnon's alienation in school and how they are at a career high point despite being, at this point, a DIY band. "Sometimes You're The Hammer, Sometimes You're The Nail" is that transition of rage. Starting poppy with a good vocal hook and unravelling an insane breakdown, the lyrics unveil McKinnon's feelings of disrespect and of being used, how we learn every day and we learn how we've been unappreciated. These lyrics are prime examples of how they've transformed their own experiences over the last three years into powerful, relateable lyrics.

You are given a very diverse collection of tracks on "Common Courtesy". For one thing, the use of acoustic has been stepped up in this album since the success of "If It Means A Lot To You" from "Homesick". "I'm Already Gone" is a beautiful acoustic affair that warms your heart and contributes to "Common Courtesy"'s compositional diversity. Power ballad "I Surrender" starts acoustic but breaks through into a powerful rock song. "End Of Me" is much moodier song using the acoustic guitar as more of the backbone to this dark song of being betrayed by someone close to you. Songs like the explosive single "Violence ( Enough Is Enough )", "Life Lessons Learned The Hard Way" and "The Document Speaks For Itself" both nod to their past as they showcase strong metalcore style akin to FTWHH. While the last song on the album "I Remember", reminisce about tour experiences and concludes their album with a bit of in-studio banter where the band jokes about specific experiences.

Justifying a verdict for a band this polarising is no easy task, but all I can say is that it's sheer diversity supports it. It isn't so much a collection of singles as it is a well compiled and well organised record which documents their rise, lawsuit and return. The best part is that it doesn't feel like a shotgun attempt at loads of different songs to rake people in, it rather sounds like a proper A Day To Remember record. The contrast between anthemic punk and breakdown-centric metal against pop and acoustic inspirations has musically produced a defining album. This is not only a release to help bring them back from the brink of collapse, but also one which will help them reach out further.


Download: City Of Ocala; Violence ( Enough Is Enough ); Life @ 11; Dead & Buried
For The Fans Of: blink-182; New Found Glory; The Ghost Inside; Bury Tomorrow
Listen: A Day To Remember's facebook

Release Date: 08.10.2013

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