Review Summary: Twelve songs of enjoyable pop punk goodness just about sums it up.
Being as I’m not much of a Good Charlotte fan, I take pride in All Time Low; and yes I realize how silly that sounds. But I’m sure almost everyone has that band that they just love a little extra because they are from their hometown. I call Maryland my home and All Time Low my favorite hometown band. Over the last few years many Maryland music fans have had to change their label with All Time Low. Calling them a local band is a label that just does not work anymore. In 2006, all four members graduated high school and they released their debut EP on Hopeless Records. The date of July 25th will forever be cemented into my memory. On July 25, 2006, they released Put Up or Shut Up
. After numerous tours, millions of Myspace plays, and upwards of 50,000 record sales it would be fitting that exactly a year later the group would take the main stage at Warped Tour in Maryland to play an extended set in front of thousands of screaming fans. I’m not sure that story could have been scripted better than it played out. It’s also no surprise these teenagers have taken the US by storm, stealing the hearts of any crowd they play in front of. To be blunt, they play their style of pop punk better then many acts ever will. And yes, I’m still talking about these teenagers who just released their first full length album So Wrong, It’s Right
Now even though All Time Low has won over plenty of fans in the last year, I’m sure plenty have yet to hear their sound. The band seems to realize this as well, as the first song “This Is How We Do”
serves a near flawless introduction to the record. Its fast pace, to-the-point, and catchy sound certainly shows their blink-182 influence. Along with all that it does exactly what pop punk should: gets your foot tapping, puts a smile on your face, and echoes in your head for days. The brief chant sections tastefully placed in the chorus show a new addition and only add to the energy. But even more commendable is how they don’t even bother to go into a predictable soft bridge, and build up for a third chorus. The group, rather, keeps it simple and wraps things up following a half time feeling second chorus. Translation: the group knows how to put together some marvelous and feel good pop punk songs. “The Beach”
lies in the same field. Its simple chord progressions and poppy grooves serve as the perfect soundtrack for a summer as it seems to pay homage to senior week. While adjectives such as ‘fun’ and ‘catchy’ could certainly describe these tracks, they could certainly describe hundreds of other bands. All Time Low, once more, seems to realize this and doesn’t give listeners 45 minutes of recycled, run of the mill pop punk material.
Don’t interpret that sentence as them reinventing the wheel, because they certainly are not. Their sound, however, is just not one that will get mixed up with other acts. Lead singer Alex Gaskarth’s unique, pleasant and easily recognizable voice assists this infinitely. It also leads certain tracks such as “Dear Maria, Count Me In”
to new heights. A simple palm mute intro builds up to an instrumental section full of octave leads and pop punk goodness. Its open chorded chorus smoothly moves into a half time feel for its second half, once more showing strong composition. It’s upbeat, it’s well written, and more importantly free of the gimmicks many are incorporating into their sound as of late. Showing off some variety, they have a token acoustic ballad song in “Remembering Sunday”
. Usually I would groan about how the flow of the record is disrupted for a tediously slow track; but the group puts together a truly touching song. The vocal harmonies really stand out throughout the entire song and the overall writing is absolutely admirable throughout. Lines like “Even though she doesn’t believe in love/he’s determined to call her bluff”
come off as creative, witty, and even sincere on top of it all. After the dominantly acoustic first three minutes, things explode as a brief string section and drum build up lead into a powerful section complete with a female guest vocalist. Things come to a close and the extremely emotional acoustic driven track ends. It is really nothing new, but, these nineteen year olds sure know how to craft a remarkable song with a structure commonly misused.
Since All Time Low plays this quite poppy style of pop punk, it feels necessary to touch on lyrics. Nothing ruins a track faster than some overly cheesy, faux witty lines. Despite the praise already given out for the singing and musical work, the albums diversity and consistent lyrical quality is absolutely amazing. The ridiculously catchy “Let It Roll”
recalls the mixed feelings of early tours. One of the genuinely clever songs I’ve heard in awhile “Holly (Would You Turn Me On?)”
metaphorically discusses the addictions of fame and the perks that come with it: aka girls. The xylophone accents are a nice touch to the track but the chorus really steals things, “ Just another pretty face/but I want one more taste/come on/Holly/would you turn me on?”
. More superb writing is revealed in “Stay Awake (Dreams Only Last For A Night)”
. The second verse is one of the best I’ve ever come across in the genre, “Figure it out/boy, you're tripping so pull yourself together/or you'll wash up like the rest/this ship is sinking/I'm thinking I'm done for/I'll watch as the sails disappear under water/cause I'm no captain yet”
. No gimmicks here, just some wonderfully written lyrics which will most likely be stuck in your head for days.
So Wrong, It’s Right
does a whole lot of things right, and honestly there is very little wrong present. The right is some ideal instrumentals along with a unique and powerful voice. Just that formula alone along with the creativity the band possesses is guaranteed to churn out some wonderful pop punk tunes. With a strong base at their feet, the group takes things up another level. Their improved song construction and awareness in general leads them onto another path. They are now writing more consistent tracks that not only stand with their own individuality, but, that also are coherent together. Finally, the lyrical writing goes against the genre’s cliché in the sense that it is the polar opposite of the record’s weak point. So Wrong, It’s Right
succeeds because it constantly has so much going for it. There is no weakness to be pinpointed here and it is for that reason that All Time Low will be the front runners in the pop punk world sooner as opposed to later.
-Let It Roll
-Holly (Would You Turn Me On?)
-Dear Maria, Count Me In
-Stay Awake (Dreams Only Last For A Night)
Final Rating: 4/5