Ashley Parent, Arts Editor
It’s no secret that A Day To Remember (ADTR) is the bedrock of today’s metalcore scene, the stars at which budding bands gaze to gain insight on how to make it themselves. With the September self-release entitled Bad Vibrations, the Florida five-piece revisits the nucleus of their characteristic sound that came full-term in 2009’s “Homesick,” a necessary staple in ADTR’s catalogue. Bad Vibrations is the “missing link” between the old and new sound for A Day To Remember.
The album kicks off with a bracing track from which the album draws its title, “Bad Vibrations.” The song preps one to face his or her own demons throughout the rest of the record and implies the stresses we face in everyday life. Next is an anthem inspired clearly by hardcore punk known as “Paranoia,” a track that could have everyone up and moving at a show. “Paranoia” was actually written about a terrifying episode in the life of singer Jeremy McKinnon, when he woke to find someone banging on his window late one Halloween night. From there, the album progresses towards commentary about today’s society, with “Naivety” discussing the loss of innocence and “Exposed,” a hard-hitting number that elaborates on the negativity in the world.
Going forward, “Bullfight” is a track that gives fans a taste of Spanish-style guitar that has resurfaced in rock music via Pierce The Veil. This is followed by the sixth track, “Reassemble,” a powerful confessional on the struggles of addiction, perfect for those who like to headbang. Things slow down with “Justified,” a ballad that resonates with the idea of how people will judge you for thoughts that differ from their own. The lyrics of this song come full circle at a time of polarization in America.
Track 8, titled “We Got This,” resembles the glass half-full optimism that lies within older ADTR fan favorites like “All I Want” and “All Signs Point To Lauderdale,” expressing the unity that can be found in your favorite music scene that is apart from generic top-40 listeners. The following song “Same About You” reflects on how one’s opinion of another person can change due to their actions, while “Turn Off The Radio,” a total banger that is ironically titled, calls for our society to unite. The boys of ADTR had high hopes for Miami rapper Rick Ross to feature on this track, but unfortunately Ross was told by someone connected to the band that they are a group of satanists and so he refused. It seems as if A Day To Remember will have to “Forgive and Forget” as the next track suggests, one that is evidently a “lighters in the air” anthem.
The album ends with a midtempo track entitled “Negative Space,” and the final tune, “In Florida,” because what would an A Day To Remember album be without a reference to their home state?
All in all, “Bad Vibrations” is a lesson in how to persevere despite the degrees of adversity that will enter your life. It was a group effort, written over the course of a month in a rented cabin in Colorado, which seemed to be a pressure cooker for the band. They wrote over 40 hours a week in a collaborative manner. This was an atypical move for the group as frontman McKinnon had written the past three albums on his own accord. He also let go of control in the recording booth and postproduction, trusting Bad Vibrations into the hands of iconic rock producers Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore of The Blasting Room studio.
At the end of the day, A Day To Remember was able to take a refreshing turn with Bad Vibrations because of the new perspectives brought in from the band as a whole. The collaboration resulted in an album that will be hallmark for bands that are not afraid to cross genres over the course of one record.