Review Summary: Repetivity is the bands biggest downfall, no matter how catchy or fun each song seems to be.
Remember when fitting a band into a "genre" was simple? There is no such thing as "rock" anymore, very few bands have been squeezed into that genre. Now though, every band seems to be so complex, that we feel the need to mix two other sub-genre names together to make a new one. A Day to Remember is considered to be pop-core, a mixture of pop-punk and hardcore. A Day to Remember doesn't re-invent any sound or do anything original, the band is just very good at mixing these two genre's together. Within the length of an album, the band can go from heavy and fast breakdowns to very catchy and fun choruses, all this being in one song. "Homesick", the latest release from the Florida based band, is the bands catchiest album to date. With a bigger production and sound, A Day to Remember has created a very fun album. Fun comes with some downfalls though. The album is extremely catchy and fun, but every single song sounds the same, leading to a very repetitive listen.
The album opens with 'The Downfall of Us All', a very fast paced and catchy opening track. If you were a fan of their previous album, 'For Those Who Have Heart', you hear how the band has softened a bit. Recording with Andrew Wade in "Wade Studios", the album has a much bigger production value. The rawness of previous records is gone, everything is cleaned up a bit and it makes for a finer listen. 'Downfall' is a song that you could very easily sing along to, tap your feet to the beat a bit and just have fun with it. Jeremy McKinnon, the lead vocalist for the band, sure does a very good job with almost every vocal element in the album. His screams have improved a bit since FTWHH and his singing is definitely a little bit easier on the ears. In 'My Life for Hire', his skills as a singer are showed and trust me, it's not dissapointing.
When it comes to breakdowns, A Day to Remember is known for it's build up breakdowns. Usually, the band does a drum or guitar rhythm to lead into the breakdown. They've done it since the very beginning. At this point in their career, they should be experimenting with new things and attempting to make every album a little different than the last. "This is a battleground", is screamed as the breakdown in 'My Life for Hire' begins. The band uses this technique multiple times through the 12 songs you'll hear on "Homesick". The fact that the band uses this technique over and over again is just one of the major reasons you might find "Homesick", very repetitive. 'I'm Made of Wax Larry (What Are You Made Of)" is mostly known for the guest vocal appearence of Mike Hranica. Hranica is the lead vocalist of The Devil Wears Prada, and possibly one of the best screaming vocalist in the genre today. This whole song just leads up to his appearence and he practically battles with Jeremy in a very fun breakdown. Though this song is catchy, that moment with Mike makes that entire song worth listening to.
'NJ Legion Iced Tea' is one of the calmer songs on the album. Lyrically, it's one of my favorites. "This is the life we chose/this is the life I lead/they can never take this from me" is shouted going into the breakdown of the song, and it's one of my favorite moments in the song. 'Mr.Highways Thinking About the End' is the heaviest song on the entire album, and right from the start it shows just how heavy the band can get. Jeremy finally gets a chance to throw out those screams and the drummer, Alex Shelnutt, gets to play slower, but heavier. The chorus of the song is extremely catchy, but it's the breakdown that completes the song. "Disrespect your sorroundings" is screamed leading into the breakdown, and right away it completely takes you over. It's fast, it's brutal and it works on every level.
From this point on, it seems as if the album hits it's filler section for a little while. 'Have Faith in Me' is a very caring song about giving someone your trust. It's my favorite song on the album, mainly because it reminds me of what the band did with 'Monument' on FTWHH. 'Welcome to the Family' features guest vocals from Vincent Bennett. It was the first song released on the internet when the album was announced. This song actually does a good job showing how ADTR has improved their sound in little ways. The chorus features a background piano track that really amps up the noticeability a bit. 'Homesick' features the catchiest chorus on the entire album, and 'Holdin It Down for the Underground' does a good job at creating a very heavy breakdown, but all of this just sounds like filler. Now you start noticing the reptivity, the band takes the same basic concept and just recycles it through every single song. 'Another Song About the Weekend' finally takes us out of the filler section and brings us back to the fun sound we've been missing for a few tracks.
"They keep playing sad songs on the radio/and I feel like I'm so alone/on this fifteen hour drive", is the opening lines for the song, and from then on the song just gets better and better. It's a song meant to relate to any teenager who has ever gotten close to falling in love. Lyrically, it's a very easy song to remember and it's easy to find yourself singing along to it everytime you hear it. 'If It Means Alot to You' is the acoustic ballad that ends the album, and quite a dissapointment. As a song, it works extremely well. The guest vocals from Sierra Kusterbeck are memorable and fit very well, but to end such a fast and energetic album with something as slow as this really threw off how I felt about the album as a whole. I will always say that A Day to Remember needs more acoustic songs, they just write them so well and play them even better.
A Day to Remember are one of those bands that you either completely hate, or just love. They get softer and cleaner with every album, a little catchier too. The biggest problem with ADTR though is that the albums get more repetitive, you can't expect anything different with each album or song they put out. The band is good at doing what they love, mixing pop-punk and hardcore, but there is a point where you can only do so much. "Homesick" is catchy and fun, while maintaining the bands hardcore side with very simple breakdowns. As a whole though, the album hits repetivity very fast. It's not a complete failure, but it was good enough (and catchy enough) for me to enjoy the album, but call it nothing more than average.