Taking several notes from the godfathers of pop punk, A Day To Remember had a hand in ushering in the new era of the genre. They built within their sound a perfect marriage between pop punk and post hardcore. With moderate success from their previous record, “Homesick” was without a doubt the album that put A Day To Remember on the map.
Released in 2009, A Day To Remember took a chance with Homesick. Their sound was bolder and heavier, yet the album was received so well that 6 months after it was released, it had sold over 200,000 copies, solidifying ADTR’s spot in rock culture (and our sad, broken hearts) forever. I was in my senior year of high school when this was released and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The athematic ballads with a dangerously high dose of “I hate this town” themes gave those who needed it, something to really scream about.
The album opens with the now very well-known song “The Downfall of Us All” and right away you can tell this is something entirely different than we’ve heard from A Day To Remember before. They were never a stranger to screaming, but Homesick was the first time they made the choice to incorporate it heavily into their music, which is even more evident later in the album. Another thing that A Day to Remember does with this first track is introduce their use of the whole choral effect. Combining several voices to create a sort of chant type vocal presentation, using this type of device in music not only adds a richness to the sound and adds layers, but it essentially allows A Day To Remember to showcase their fame a little, knowing that the audience will be singing along the chant parts of the song. It gives them the opportunity to gain a better grasp of their fan base and interact with them at the same time.
The album continues with “My Life for Hire” and “I’m Made of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?” which keeps with the pace of the first song, including a heavily instrumentally saturated sound and more of that screaming that A Day To Remember is now known for.
The album crescendos in intensity with track 5, “Mr. Highway’s Thinking About the End.” In this song, we get the biggest dose of hardcore that we’ve heard on this album and it’s clear to the listener that this new sound wasn’t just making a cameo on a couple of their songs but love or hate it, is a direction they are taking their music in. Personally for me, I think ADTR does a perfect balance of post-hardcore and this kind of melodic pop-punk sound. It hadn’t ever really been heard before. Maybe a little bit with Finch or Matchbook Romance, but the times had changed and A Day to Remember helped bring on this new renaissance of modern pop-punk.
The intensity and brilliantly executed lyricism continues through the album, including one of their most popular songs to date “Have Faith in Me” and also the song “Homesick” of the same album title.
To add a curious, yet effective contrast to the rest of the album, the album comes to a close with “If It Means a Lot to You,” an acoustic song, featuring vocals from Sierra Kusterbeck. The song is cathartic, a gentle declaration of love between two long distance lovers. But as if to remind listeners that their sound has changed and that this is a new chapter for A Day To Remember, as the song crescendos, the super-rich, heavy music re-emerges, the choral chants are heard… ”La, La, La, La, La, La, La, now everybody’s singing.” And 7 years later? We’re still in love.
Review By: Monica Dahl