Review Summary: Maybe it's not my weekend, but it's gonna be my year.
Over the last year, All Time Low is a band name that has been on the tip of the tongue of just about every pop-punk fanatic. Between wearing the crown of Alternative Press
’ band of the year, directly supporting genre titans Fall Out Boy on tour and selling out multiple headline tours of their own, the Maryland-based group stretched their popularity to new heights. Armed with a wicked sense of humor – on and off stage – the quartet also packs an arsenal of irritatingly irresistible, hook-filled pop-punk tunes that are turning these 21-year-olds into household names. On their second full-length record, Nothing Personal
, the crab state natives make it clear they are not interested in being a short-lived trend.
Picking up where they left off, All Time Low rely on their gain-friendly guitar tones, groovy bass lines and smooth vocal melodies to craft a memorable, albeit generic record. This formula succeeds on singles “Weightless” and “Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t).” The aforementioned features one of the finest choruses in the group’s discography while the latter finds frontman Alex Gaskarth showing his lyrical wit with the line “I’m drowning in a river of denial,” further escalating the record’s already high fun factor.
Their octave-chord based, up-tempo and light-hearted tunes dominate the majority of the record. “Keep The Change, You Filthy Animal” and “A Party Song (The Walk of Shame)” find All Time Low maintaining their initially established momentum deep into the album. Both find success off of their immense choruses and persistent youthful energy.
With the success endured over the last year, many have labeled the group with traditional name-calls, ‘sell-out’ being the most common. Not wasting an opportune moment to exercise their humor, All Time Low named one of their headline tours “The Compromising of Integrity, Morality & Principles in Exchange for Money Tour,” a phrase taken verbatim from Wikipedia’s definition of sell-out. On Nothing Personal
, Gaskarth and crew take a more serious route in dealing with their fiercest critics. “Sick Little Games” is a surprisingly mature, mid-tempo song that showcases the band confidently stepping out of their comfort zone. Utilizing an acoustic timbre in the rhythm section, the opening verse finds Gaskarth confessing, “I'm turned on by the tabloids, you would never have guessed/that I'm a sucker for their gossip, man I take it too far.” The tune certainly stands out on the record, marking a newfound sense of songwriting ability and collective maturity.
While there is much to praise throughout its 12 track duration, Nothing Personal
does not finish without faults. Along with the fact that there are minimal amounts of originality and progression, production becomes an issue. The far too sugary studio fabrication brings sections of the record down. “Stella” recalls shenanigan filled nights after enjoying one too many Belgian ales (last name Artois) and its excessively glossy production is cavity inducing. “Too Much” finds the pop-punk quartet forgetting the second half of their genre. The embarrassingly awful song features an overuse of sampled drums and auto-tune heavy vocals, making it reminiscent of a half-hearted attempt at covering a 90s boy band.
Even despite their faults and lack of originality, All Time Low does enough right on their sophomore full-length effort to warrant multiple spins from any fan of the genre. Nothing Personal
rarely takes itself too seriously and infrequently asks listeners to. Its youthful feel makes it a fantastic summer record that is also worthy of listens throughout the other three seasons. Nothing Personal
makes a clear point as to why the foursome are soaking up the spotlight as of late. The truth to their success is rather simple: All Time Low is playing generic pop punk; they are just doing it better than everyone else at the moment.