No matter how many positive people in life that you try to surround yourself with, you’ll always be faced with the negatives. When you live a life glowing with positivity, though, you learn to quickly out those who, you feel, will hurt that positive outlook. We’ve come to know this as “getting a bad vibe” but, in reality, it’s your instincts telling you that something is off about that person, and they’ll be bad company to keep. Not only do you learn to recognize these people, but you also learn to recognize signs or situations that will have the same outcome. Ocala, FL pop-punk/metal legends A Day to Remember have used this theme to fuel their latest album, Bad Vibrations. After a lengthy litigation process, the band escaped the clutches of Victory Records and took a DIY-approach, beginning with their last album Common Courtesy. On this album, vocalist Jeremy McKinnon opened his mouth and said all the things he had been waiting to say about what the band had gone through. They were unapologetic, no-holds barred and absolutely raw in their execution. That, along with their millions of adoring fans worldwide, made Common Courtesy their most successful album to date. The band takes pride in that and kept it in mind when approaching the writing for Bad Vibrations. Many fans of the band remember when they had a much heavier sound, the era of their first 2 albums. The band has undergone evolution, after evolution, but remain with the core sound they’ve always had. When they released “Paranoia,” which many thought to be a one-off single, they quickly proved that they hadn’t abandoned that sound. After getting used to the more melodic version of ADTR, fans had mixed reactions on it, but overall embraced it. A few weeks later, the band decided to drop a bombshell on fans with the video for the title track “Bad Vibrations,” an epileptic’s nightmare and one of the heaviest tracks we’ve ever heard from the band. They fully embraced the angry, hardcore roots that they’d planted years ago and did it in such a way that, in many ways, the track scared people. How does Bad Vibrations stack up, as a whole, though?
A Day to Remember has never been one to make the same record over and over again. It is this fact that keeps many fans coming back, time and time again. Behind the hardcore facade is 5 goofy individuals who love each other, love creating music together and love their fanbase. After “Bad Vibrations” and “Paranoia” close out, we’re led into “Naivety.” This track shows the more playful nature of the band and the video, which you can view below, furthers this fact. It tackles the subject of getting older and adapting a an ever-changing world, whether it be techologically, socially or musically. They want fans to know that they’re in it for the long run. They know that naivety dies with the innocence of a child but that, if you’re a child at heart, you can keep just the right amount of it. It’s only fitting that this track is laced with a pop-punk sound. In the video, we see the band, many years ahead, getting ready for a “reunion” tour and fighting to adapt to the world’s changes to a touring band. In the end, though, you’ll see that the band plays just as well as they ever have, with just as much passion and has just as much fun on stage as they ever had. They didn’t do it for the money, they did it because their manager “The Big Boss” convinced them that they owed it to their fans, and so they went out and did it for their fans.
“Exposed” goes on to call attention to the state of social unrest, caused by corrupt politicians in an office that they don’t deserve. You can hear a lot of their earlier sound in this track, with chugging guitars, breakdowns and explosive screamed passages. In fact, I think that one of their heaviest breakdowns since their infamous “Disrespect your surroundings” is towards the end, when McKinnon warns “Don’t believe what the pacifist tells you! No war, no peace!”
If A Day to Remember was Escape the Fate, we’d hear a track like “Bullfight.” McKinnon even sounds like he’s channeling Craig Mabbitt in parts of this track. It has a fun, theatrical rock aspect to it, with a deep message. It tackles the changes that an individual faces, losses of friendships/relationships and how you’ll always having someone looking down on you. You search through the darkness in your mind, people see you struggling but they don’t want to bother with you. You’re misunderstood but there’s always someone out there who is waiting to reach their hand out to you. Whether that be in the form of a song, someone you learn to trust or a professional… you’re never alone.
The album climaxes with the phenomenal “Reassemble.” It opens with a huge, atmospheric chorus that has a lot of theatricality in it, but still feels genuinely ADTR. This track is the most anthematic track the band has written since “All I Want,” touching on the subject of being at your lowest point. Are you worth a reassemble or are you at the point of no return, with no light in sight? No matter how low your lows are, there’s always a high just around the corner… even if you can’t see it. The band continues to tackle subjects like holy rollers (“Justified), extreme loneliness (the extremely pop-punk fueled “We Got This”), how feelings can change in an instant, (“Same About You”), the media’s obsession with the negative things in the world (“Turn Off the Radio”) and finally, forgiveness after being let down (“Forgive and Forget.)
Overall, there isn’t a whole lot this band hasn’t done so, it should be no surprise that there’s little territory on this album that hasn’t been done by them before. In all reality, though, Bad Vibrations shows a massive maturation in the band, as a whole. A cohesiveness, better songwriting and more meaningful subjects to be tackled than simply focusing on relationships. They want to call attention to the bigger picture, something that affects each and every one of us, on a daily basis. They want to help change this world and they want Bad Vibrations to be the start of that change. If you’ve ever been a fan of ADTR, past or present, you’ll love this album. It may take more than one listen, but it will catch on… and it will remind you WHY they are such a powerful force in the music scene. Pick up your copy of Bad Vibrations, out now via ADTR Records, distributed physically by Epitaph Records. Want a taste? Check out the videos for “Bad Vibrations,” “Paranoia” and “Naivety” below. The band is currently on tour with Blink-182, in support of their latest album California.
“Naivety” (Official Music Video)
“Bad Vibrations” (Official Music Video)
“Paranoia” (Official Music Video)