Review Summary: A Day To Remember is now just a token of what was, and that sometimes you have to "grow up" and move on.
A Day To Remember's fifth full length album What Separates Me From You,
shows that maybe it's time for A Day To Remember to hang 'em up. Running short of musical ideas, this cd caters towards a more radio friendly brand of pop punk, with sporadic harsh vocals outside of tracks Sticks & Bricks
, and 2nd sucks
the latter being a track void of any clean vocals whatsoever. The problem with the direction they have moved towards over the years is that they seem to be incapable of writing consistently good
pop punk songs.
On the first track Sticks & Bricks
you are immediately are greeted with with a breakdown and Jeremy's screamed vocals. In this instance, the listener is met with breakdown after breakdown, with only a lifeless clean vocal chorus to interrupt the breakdown barrage. This song doesn't work because the structure is like "Hey, I think we could use another breakdown here guys junjunjun." Instead of using a more cohesive mix of pop punk and metalcore, A Day To Remember seems insistent on crafting songs towards either end of the spectrum, and they continue in not succeeding with this idea.
The main problem with this album is when A Day To Remember decide to go full bore into pop punk territory. Songs like All I Want
and It's complicated
lay the groundwork with slow paced, infantile riffs, and drumming that is really just there without purpose. The faults of these songs are magnified by breakdowns that serve no purpose other than "To Be Heavy." Oh don't think the repetitiveness would go unnoticed; oh certainly not, for A Day To Remember wants to make sure you hear their choruses. The main thing about these are that there is no "hook" or anything memorable about them, and repeating them often enough will not make you want to sing them out loud.
In what is the strongest song here, You Be Tails, I'll be Sonic
, show that A Day To Remember still have something left in them. With Jeremy's strongest screams, ones that actually seem to have emotion behind them, with unflashy riffs, and a smooth double bass backing. The chorus here is actually not too bad, as there is no fake pretense that the chorus needs to be "catchy," it works because it's honest, with the lyrics:
"I still wish you the best of luck baby
And don't go thinking this was a waste of time
I couldnt forget you if I tried
You killed what was left of the good in me
I'm tired so let me be broken
Look down at the mess that's infront of me
No other words may be spoken
And I've got nobody else to blame though I tried
Kept all of my past mistakes down inside
I'll live with regret for my whole life"
Sure those are pretty cheesy lyrics, but as a chorus that functions not to be memorable, but to function as a part of a song, make them work out just fine. In what may be the "heaviest" breakdown on the record the listener is reminded of what happens when A Day To Remember crafts a song that allows a breakdown to be hard hitting, and not just a breakdown for ***s n gigs. The chorus after this works as well, since it's unobtrusive in nature. The listener is then met with a a mediocre bridgedown which leads to the chorus, and finally to a guitar solo, which unimpressive as a stand alone, is a strong way to finish this song.
Lyric wise A Day To Remember produce some rather unimpressive choices, such as the chorus in Better Off This Way
"When you fall I'll be the only one who looks away.
When you call I'll be the first to tell you I can't stay
It's all over I've found a better way
To help keep you from me.
I'm better off this way."
There are a few other gag worthy sections, but in all the lyrics are the least of the problem, as it's the bare bones instruments, Jeremy's wholly unimpressive vocals, or A Day To Remember's failure to craft catchy, and memorable pop punk, while generally keeping the metalcore to a few standalone songs, all add up to create a near lifeless, going through the motions attempt at gaining an even bigger audience. What gained A Day To Remember notoriety in the beginning was that nearly every song had a distinct blend, and flow to it; each song carried its own punch, and added to the collective album. What makes What Separates Me From You
a bad album is that this isn't even good pop punk, and if you're going to choose to lean a specific direction, then make sure you know what you're doing, and all A Day To Remember has shown with this record is that they don't.