Review by Shannon Shumaker
A Day To Remember’s Bad Vibrations is easily their most aggressive and ambitious release to date. Within eleven tracks, the band takes listeners on a musical and emotional journey, from struggling with growing up to dealing with feelings of inadequacy and the pain of heartbreak with songs ranging from explosive and aggressive to emotional and stripped down. A Day To Remember tackle it all on Bad Vibrations, and they do it well.
Opening up the album is the aggressive title track, and for a split second, you’ll wonder if you’re still listening to ADTR, but not in a bad way. The unclean vocals and hard hitting, explosive instrumentals are the perfect opener. Then comes “Paranoia,” which gives listeners a little more of the ADTR that they know and love in the vocal work. Musically, the song keeps up the energetic pace, but the vocals are definitely a little more melodic than the opening track.
Lyrically, the first very strong track on Bad Vibrations is the poppier “Naivety,” which tackles growing up, dealing with the harsh realities of adult life and accepting change. Not only is the song sing-along worthy, which is a nice change of pace after the first two aggressive songs, but it’s also incredibly relatable as Jeremy McKinnon sings, “Where’s my naivety? It got lost along the way.”
The jump between the poppier “Naivety,” and the dark, gritty, “Exposed” isn’t necessarily smooth, but where this album lacks in flow, it makes up for in diversity. Where “Exposed” is explosive and chaotic, the following “Bullfight” is slower, but emotionally and vocally very strong. Although transitions can be a bit rough near the middle of the album, if it does anything, it proves that A Day To Remember are not a one trick pony. And thankfully, right in the middle of the album, the epic track, “Reassemble” comes in and ties everything together. The beginning of “Reassemble” feels similar to the more aggressive songs on Bad Vibrations, carried by unclean vocals full of fire and rage, but there’s more to the song than meets the eye. Instrumentally, “Reassemble” is very beautiful and melodic - there’s even a violin in there, giving it a very big and theatrical feeling, and a soft, acoustic ending that gives the album quite a bit more flow.
“Reassemble” feels like a turning point in Bad Vibrations - it’s as if the sixth song is the band picking themselves back up again, and the result is an incredibly powerful transformation. Where the first half of the album is very hard hitting and aggressive, the second half is softer and a little more emotional. Following “Reassemble” is the lyrically charged and melodic “Justified,” which kicks off with the line, “Burn me alive/If you feel that’s justified.” Then comes “We Got This,” the empowering and uplifting eighth track that will help you get up when you’re down. “We Got This” is an anthem for the underdog and the outcast and will quickly become a fan-favorite.
“Same About You” begins to round out the end of Bad Vibrations with some of the album’s best vocal work, followed by “Turn Off The Radio,” which somehow manages to just take things up another notch. Then comes the heartbreakingly beautiful final track, “Forgive And Forget,” which will leave you longing for more.
Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Bad Vibrations, but A Day To Remember pulled this release off effortlessly, providing plenty of songs that longtime fans will love, while still keeping a few tricks up their sleeve. Bad Vibrations is fresh and diverse, but without trying too hard to be. The result is a very diverse and ambitious release that has a little something for everyone.
Listen to "We Got This" or "Reassemble"
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