A Day to Remember’s new release, “Bad Vibrations,” is their first new album since 2013’s Common Courtesy. With the band’s initial core audience graduating high school, as well as the band aging themselves, it only makes sense that this album would show a new level of maturity to reflect the passage of time.
Sure, the trademark elements of the ADTR sound are present. The opening title track uses the same breakdown that the band and countless others have chugged away at before and songs like “We Got This” still carry that “I’m in high school and no one understands me” message that has been milked for a while now.
However, “Bad Vibrations” does show strong signs of the group expanding into new territories. Their single “Paranoia” has strong hardcore punk influences in its call-and-response riffs and vocals on the verses. Likewise, the track “Exposed” contains riffs cut from the same heavy metal cloth as something like Lamb of God. “Bullfight” sees the band employing a more contemporary, modern rock sound, and “Turn off the Radio” has traces of classic rock with its hooks and guitar riffs. The power-poppy “Same About You” and the ballad “Forgive and Forget” could easily make it to even the lightest of Active Rock radio playlists if released as singles.
The idea of aging is not lost on the band themselves, who address it in the lyrics and the video of “Naivety.” “What I hate about getting older/ Where’s my Naivety?” sings frontman Jeremy McKinnon over a pop-punk track similar to earlier songs like “All I Want.”
Speaking of lyrics, a great improvement has been made on that front. While some songs retread the old teenage topics as previously stated, other tracks have newer levels of lyricism, melody and delivery than what has come to be expected from the band. Strangely enough, the stronger lyrics also tend to be on the album’s better tracks, such as “Paranoia” and “Bullfight.” It could be assumed that some of the more standard songs are mere filler material, with the band keeping well within their wheelhouse to write a few quick tracks for the album.
Deluxe editions of “Bad Vibrations” contain two bonus tracks, “Negative Space” and “In Florida.” While “In Florida” is a nice portrait of the band’s upbringing, both songs could be seen as the aforementioned filler.
Ultimately, this new album is an impressive effort. Fans of the band’s older material are sure to enjoy most of it, and even those who were not exactly A Day to Remember fans (myself included) can definitely find something to appreciate in the way the band is delving into the changing times.