Review Summary: This album sums up everything A Day To Remember is.
In today’s world of music, it is often that a band sells out and changes from who they originally were. A Day To Remember is a band that I am glad to say refuses to be anything but who they are. Through constant trials and tribulations, literally, A Day To Remember has never fallen short of their desires to make the band what they dreamed. Album after album has been unapologetically A Day To Remember, and their newest album “Common Courtesy” is no exception. Regardless of Victory Records trying to bring them down in the ongoing lawsuit, A Day To Remember pulled through and recorded one of their best records yet, filled with genre-bending musicianship and songwriting that brings purpose to music.
A Day To Remember has always been a genre of its own, making them one of the most self-defined bands there are. Some call them hardcore, some call them pop punk and “Common Courtesy” has tracks that fall on either end of the spectrum and everything in-between. Whether the song is “End of Me” with a soft guitar that makes you want to sway back and forth or “Life Lessons Learned The Hard Way” with a riff so good it makes you want to jump right in the middle of a mosh pit, Kevin Skaff’s and Neil Westfall’s guitar is one of the first things you notice about one of their songs. It pulls you in and brings energy to the listener in a way that can’t be topped. Alex Shelnutt’s drums go right along with the guitar, bringing unity to every song. Jeremy Mckinnon’s songwriting produces lyrics so good, they make your heart want to burst out of your chest. Each song holds a relevance that anyone can relate to and listening to them arouses so many emotions.
The album starts off with a song called “City of Ocala”, Ocala being the band’s hometown. This song expresses how their hometown was their motivation in becoming everything that they are. It’s where their dreams formed and were carried out. It’s three and a half minutes full of energy and passion that makes the listener can’t help but sing along. Throughout the beginning of the band’s existence, people from their hometown constantly told them that they would never make it, so this song was really A Day To Remember’s way of sticking it to them all.
The concept of living out their dream and home is a theme you hear in some later tracks on the album like “Right Back At It Again” and “Dead and Buried”. Another theme you find in the lyrics of this album is being yourself and not losing sight of where you come from. A Day To Remember has always stuck to who they are and what they do. Ever since their first album, they’ve made music the way they want to. They made what they wanted to hear and didn’t care about what people had to say about it. In an interview with Absolute Punk, Jeremy Mckinnon, lead singer and songwriter of A Day To Remember, once said, “Everyone told us mixing the two genres wouldn't work…We loved pop punk, we loved hardcore bands, and we couldn't decide what to be. So we said let's do them both”. A Day To Remember has received a lot of criticism for their style of music, but like the lyrics in “Sometimes You’re The Hammer, Sometimes You’re The Nail” reflect, they aren’t going to change based on other people’s judgment. They will always be their own and play music that might not make sense to other people.
Aside from constant criticism, another recent obstacle that A Day To Remember had to overcome to produce this album is the lawsuit between them and their record company, Victory Records. This definitely impacted the band’s ability to promote Common Courtesy and limited the access that fans would have to the album once it was released. A Day To Remember announced the self-release date to be October 8th, 2013 and was dedicated to that date, regardless of what was going on inside the courtroom. Needless to say, the album was released on October 8th, however, it was only available for download via the band’s website. iTunes access and hardcopy sales are still, to this date, not set up yet. This could be inconvenient for some of A Day To Remember’s fans and probably resulted in less sales for the album.
Overall, Common Courtesy is an exceptional album that outlines everything that A Day To Remember is about. It portrays every little aspect of this band and who they are, from their unique style of music to their deep, untouchable lyrics. The mixture of soft to hard tracks brings harmony to the album and what A Day To Remember stands for. The album walks you through the journey they experienced to get to where they are and how they still remained true to themselves.