Review Summary: An ambitious refinement chopped up into two unequal halves.
Every time I give A Day to Remember one more chance, I always feel disappointed in the end. The blend of pop-punk/metalcore may have seemed like a cool idea at first, but as the listener starts to dive deeper into the large amount of music the band has to offer, the repetitive structures and performances on each song grow stale. It isn’t that the band can’t thrive off of this formula, since some songs actually do sound enjoyable and fun. Hell, I feel that A Day to Remember would be far better off as a pop-punk band then adding a dash of metalcore into the mix. This is where Common Courtesy does put some paint on the canvas, as the infectious choruses and well-rounded pop-punk inspired instrumentation do succeed in providing a fun listening experience. The other dark and violent side however is still an ambitious miss that plaques what positive aspects the album has to offer.
There is a line of balance in the variety of the music showcased on the album, as most songs contain metalcore breakdowns with a catchy off-beat chorus. The clean choruses are basic pop punk, but they are highly enjoyable and do their part in making the songs fun and interesting. Its hard to not find yourself singing along to the lyrics, and the instrumental harmonies makes the clean sections flow elegantly from piece to piece. The metalcore half on the other hand, doesn’t fare as well.
The typical A Day to Remember breakdown consists of a bass drum kick forming quick bursts, with a looping guitar attempting to sound intricate and complex. Though the guitars on the album are for the most part well done, they sometimes feel just as tiresome as everything else in the section due to the lack of change in the sound formulas. The same guitar line is sometimes tuned contrarily for a different song, just so some of the more gullible listeners can enjoy it and call it something new. Jeremy’s screams do not feel any different than before, but they do flow a little bit better with the harmony of the music. The opener “Violence” showcases the exceptional strength that the man has to offer with his growls, but as the songs begin to count down, nothing much really changes. His screams stay at the same moderate tempo, and his clean voice sojourns in the rather small variety of his pitches.
It starts to feel as if you have heard it all before. One of the main problems with Common Courtesy is that there aren’t many standout moments on the album that sound original or innovative. The album tries to prosper off of the same techniques and sounds that were present in earlier albums, and just fails to deliver an experience that the listener can truly appreciate. By the time your halfway through Common Courtesy, every song flows exactly like one of its predecessors. The clean pop-punk flourishes significantly however, as the music blends memorable melodies and catchy lyricism together that may leave you wanting to come back for more. Common Courtesy is a mediocre attempt at trying to refine the same sound that has been present on previous albums, but with a more fervor emphasis on sanitizing the original sound to the point of blandness.