Review Summary: A Day To Remember shows that their polarizing formula still works, if that's your thing.
A Day To Remember is one of the most polarizing acts around. They have plenty of devoted followers who believe they can do no wrong, and perhaps even more people who dismiss them as nothing more than a gimmicky act that doesn't play either of their styles (Pop punk and metalcore, respectively) very well. If you're not a fan, Common Courtesy won't change your mind. However, it shows growth and the passion that was noticeably absent from their last release. After two years and more drama than a bad episode of CSI, it's finally here, and it's their best release to date.
The first thing that sticks out about the album is the passion. You can tell that the vocalist Jeremy Mckinnon obviously wrote the lyrics to this album for himself, and no one else, barring the song 'The Document Speaks For Itself,' an over the top attack on their label Victory Records. This is great for his delivery, which is head and shoulders above What Separates Me From You, but it's also one of the downsides of Common Courtesy. Mckinnon's confusing, never ending love/hate relationship with his hometown takes center stage on the album opener 'City Of Ocala.' Between the various songs about leaving home, not having a home, and no where being like home over A Day To Remember's discography, the theme has become fairly exhausted. Overall, the lyrics on Common Courtesy are not bad, but they're certainly nothing special.
One thing that A Day To Remember is well known for is their mix of Metalcore and Pop Punk. Over the years, they've moved toward the more accessible pop punk sound. This has been a good move, as evidenced by the fact that the two 'heavy' songs on "What Separates" were terrible. Mickinnon's scream has changed drastically since their formation. It sounds better on this record than their past few releases, but still sounds a bit thin and is certainly not as appealing as his clean singing voice. There are a few more Metalcore influenced songs on this album, but thankfully they work well barring the pointless filler song 'Life lessons learned the hard way.' There's nothing that matches the intensity of 'Heartless,' 'But Dead And Buried' and 'Violence' are two of the best songs that the band has ever released. They both feature heavy verses with extremely catchy choruses, and it works well for both. 'Violence' also has a neat buildup into it's breakdown, which is one of only a few spread throughout the record. On the Pop Punk side, songs like 'City Of Ocala' (tiring lyrics aside) and 'Life @ 11' are very catchy songs that do their job well. 'Right Back At It Again' is a great mix of each. It's essentially a Pop Punk song, but certain parts of the song are very heavy. It shows off what A Day To Remember does best and is my favorite on the album.
One surprise here is the inclusion of not one, not two, but THREE acoustic songs. 'End Of Me' is much better than the other two, 'I'm Already Gone' and 'I surrender.' While neither of these tracks are bad, they're very similar and both feel like filler. It's a bit confusing that they didn't make one of them a more upbeat song, as either could be a good song that way.
In the end, Common Courtesy is worth the wait that A Day To Remember Fans have endured. It's a rewarding listen, and an obvious improvement over previous releases. There is clear growth, and their style finally seems to have been used as an asset instead of a burden. There are small missteps here and there and a few lyrical head shakers, but hey, it wouldn't be Pop Punk without them.
Right Back At It Again
Dead And Buried
End Of ME
First of all, THANK YOU for having the basics of English down. That might sound pretentious and demeaning but you'd be surprised at how many newbie reviewers make frequent grammar errors. That said, this bears a lot of marks of "new reviewer." It's very, very formulaic - you basically say intro-lyrics-sound-acoustic-conclusion. Which isn't bad at all to start - it's usually better to start safe than risky. And hell, I used a really strict formula of intro-good-bad-conclusion until about review 40, and I got promoted to contributor around review 32. However, if you really want to improve, keep trying to chip away at your formula.
This is all somewhat high-level criticism, though. Like, your review is really really good for a first. There's some obvious stuff that I would change, like this:
The first thing that sticks out about the album is the passion. You can tell that the vocalist Jeremy Mckinnon obviously wrote the lyrics to this album for himself, and no one else, barring the song 'The Document Speaks For Itself,' an over the top attack on their label Victory Records.
This is kind of throwaway writing here. "Passion" is a vague term, we don't really care who wrote the lyrics if it's still good, and it doesn't matter that the song is about Victory if you don't explain why that's good or bad.
Anyways, though, this is well-done for a first review, and I pos'd. See you around!
Thanks bro step, that's what I was hoping for. I know what you mean about the English, I'm in freshman lit and it makes me cringe when I read other papers. I thought I'd play it safe, that's why I picked a band I'm very familiar with. Thanks for the feedback and the pos. This'll be the first of many, hopefully they'll improve.
Looking forward to it, feel free to ask me for some more constructive feedback if you'd like! In the meantime, read some staff reviews (particularly Rudy Klapper, Adam Downer, and Channing Freeman) to get an idea of how a good review flows.
I must say, fantastic review, especially for a first! Welcome to the site, man. Follow Brostep's advice, and you'll definitely get a better feel for it. Regardless, the album is surprisingly good, given how disappointing and disjointed What Separates was.
Solid review, but I disagree with a lot. End of Me is a cheesy pile of shit, Violence is like a b-side from MMF's album "Challenger", and I'm Already Gone is one of my favorites on the record. Decent album overall. Also Right Back At It Again rules despite lyrics.