There was a time when A Day To Remember was one of my favorite bands. Shit, there was a time when A Day To Remember was the HEAVIEST band I listened to. Three of the band's albums were released while I was in high school for Christ's sake (For Those Who Have Heart, Homesick, and What Separates Me from You), so you can only imagine what they meant to me in my formative years.
Obviously, as time goes on, (hopefully) your music taste changes, as mine did. I still held on to the classics from when I was younger, but I developed a more refined palate (out with the easycore, in with the prog). I never strayed too far from ADTR, but they ended up farther out on my musical spectrum. 2013's Common Courtesy felt more like a collection of throw away songs, and Bad Vibrations, released in 2016, saw the band moving in the direction of a more modern take on the previous sounds. Which I enjoyed, but it was like getting back with an ex after a nasty breakup....it just wasn't the same feeling, even if the sex was better.
So when I found out that they had an album releasing in 2021, I reacted the way a child who got a birthday gift from a shitty relative would: Thankful, but ready to throw it away.
Now, full disclosure, I have a serious contempt for bands when they release like half the record as singles before the record is released. To me, that's always seemed like a red flag. Too many singles, in my brain, can give the audience a false sense of where the record is going. (as a Coheed and Cambria superfan, I've been burned by singles before, looking at you Black Rainbow). It almost seems like a band is begging you to love the record. "See, look at all these songs we're releasing, we have nothing to hide ha ha, please listen!”. It's always been corny to me, and I'd rather just hear two singles (I chose "Resentment", and "Brick Wall" off of the record), followed by the whole body of work.
You're Welcome had 5 singles. Over one third of the record. Jesus Christ. Well, let’s get into it!
This record, the band's first on the Fueled by Ramen label (All Time Low, Panic! At The Disco, Paramore), wastes no time by jumping into familiar territory with the opening track, "Brick Wall". It is equal parts pop punk and easycore, like many classic ADTR tracks are. It isn't breaking new ground by any means, but it's a perfect way to start an album. It leads into the next track, "Mindreader", which is more on the pop punk side of the band’s sound. Equal parts catchy and melodic, it's a nice little tune; it almost reminds me of Folie a Duex era Fall Out Boy.
"Bloodsucker", the following track, has one of the catchiest hooks on the record, with one of vocalist Jeremy McKinnon's finer performances on the project. At this point in the record, I was definitely liking what I was hearing, but I missed the heavy. I needed something to get angry to. I needed new songs on the workout playlist, damnit! Well that's exactly what I got out of the following track, "Last Chance To Dance (Bad Friend)". It has a crushing intro, a crunchy riff, and it made me want to throw my geriatric hips out doing spin kicks in my house when the breakdown hit.
"This album is pretty fucking sick," I thought to myself. There was no way it was going to let me down, how could it? I was loving everything I was hearing! It was like they wrote this album with me in mind, it was checking all the boxes. What could possibly go wro-
-Oh these next two songs fucking suck...
"F.Y.M", and "High Diving", are some of the most watered down, Imagine Dragons ass, throw away pop rock tunes I've ever heard. Are they catchy? Absolutely. Are the lyrics, (about getting fuck you money, and life being a beach, respectively) dumb as hell? Absolutely.
This is where my enjoyment starts to flounder. It's all hills and valleys from this point forward. While "Resentment", one of the aforementioned singles I listened to, still hits, with a lovely breakdown segment, the following song, "Looks Like Hell", is just too repetitive in its structure for me to pay attention, with weak vocals, and odd mixing, especially on the drums.
But just as soon as I began to tune out, You're Welcome throws me a party song about getting into some hijinks south of the border, in the form of the song "Viva La Mexico". Immediately followed by the ballad "Only Money", all about the pitfalls of the touring musician lifestyle, and how money isn't worth missing out on memories. Both songs are wonderfully written and enjoyable for different reasons.
I'm not talking about "Degenerates", that song is just ass. Get fucked...
"Permanent" is a song that sounds like it would fit on the band’s previous release, Bad Vibrations. This is a compliment. Also, considering the shit show that was the year 2020, and how many of those problems still persist into this current year, the lyrics of this song (Fear of a future I can’t predict / its got me laying sleepless at night / the future freaks me out) hit in a very real way. The next track, "Re-Entry", honestly sounds like a Blink-182 song from 2003 (it's the bass line). It's not terrible, but it's largely skippable.
The final track, "Everything We Need", is, well, imagine a metalcore band trying to write a Taylor Swift song (back off Swifties, I'm one of you). That's what this song sounds like. This song is GOING to be played in the background of a sappy moment in whatever CW drama is popular at the time. This WILL be played on pop country stations. If it is trying to emulate the "If It Means a Lot To You" vibes, it is failing in that task.
All in all, while You're Welcome isn't terrible, it isn't great. It's heavy moments will keep the metalcore fans happy, it's poppy enough to get some new fans on board, and it's cohesive enough to keep casual listeners interested. However, it's incredibly unpolished, paced like shit, and has enough genuinely bad songs, to prevent me from giving it a full listen again
6 out of 10.
~ Sober Devin