From rock to pop, electronic to country, hip hop to jazz – every genre of music has artists that inevitably become superstars within that realm and influence future acts and sounds. What happens once these artists get to that stage depends on the people who make up the act; after all, it’s not an easy road to live with a massive amount of pressure for anyone, so imagine feeling the weight of hundreds of thousands or millions of fans anticipating every single move. That’s why when A Day To Remember announced their new album, Bad Vibrations, there was a unique feeling as people kept a keen eye on the entire process. Starting with the denial of a new record for weeks to a surprise announcement there was a new album coming, and coming quickly followed by the openness in the writing process and culminating with a new distribution deal, it just felt like the proverbial albatross had been lifted from the band. With the record now set to be released for the whole world to hear, is there a reinvigorated sound lying in wait behind a fresh new approach from the band?
Wholly, Bad Vibrations is a record that’s more naturally and organically written than any of their previous work and is the truest representation of the band itself. The easiest way to describe why is to foremost understand the behind the scenes process that went into the albums creation. This homegrown feeling comes from their desire to get away from writing their records on the road (as done with their past three) and instead sit down in a room and hash out songs together. With that mindset being embraced, the band was able to write around 40 songs and pick through them, finding the best set of music they wrote which resulted in the 11 (or 13 on the Deluxe) tracks presented on the record. Combined, these songs make an eclectic mix of music that encompasses the sounds, messages and style that A Day To Remember has taken and become known for throughout their careers resulting in a fuller, more well-rounded record that proves these guys are still at the top of their game.
Having the basic understanding of the direction and mindset that A Day To Remember was in while recording should help listeners understand the actual musicality and sound that Bad Vibrations represents. Sonically, this is a heavy record – heavier than the last three albums combined, but since they were created in a more natural way, they don’t feel forced nor are they overly repetitive. The title track, “Bad Vibrations” coupled with “Paranoia”, “Exposed” and to some extent “Justified” are filled with crunchy, bouncy riffs, toe-tapping and rhythmic drumming and grooving basslines. Littered throughout the instrumentation is a raw and more emotional, almost angry vocal delivery from Jeremy McKinnon when he screams. On the flipside of this heavier, aggressive approach is the softer side that embraces more of the pop punk elements, which helps give Bad Vibrations a diverse and varied track listing. Songs like “Bullfight” and “Reassemble” give off a very Homesick-vibe while “Justified” and “Forgive and Forget” have harmoniously, melodious cleans that soar over the instrumentation. For those hoping for a full on pop punk track, “We Got This”.
When it comes to such highly established and esteemed bands, as they progress it seems as if they start to fall off track, but with Bad Vibrations, these guys show that they are still at the top of their game deserving of the pedestal they’ve been perched upon. From the in your face heaviness to the more harmonious sounds with a sprinkle of straight up pop punk, there seems to be new life within the band that hasn’t been seen since their legal on-goings have begun. Aptly put, this is one of the most varied and stylistic albums that A Day To Remember have crafted, culminating in eleven tracks that are perhaps the most well written, well rounded pieces of music the band has ever created – and with their level of prestige, that’s saying something.