A Day To Remember – You’re Welcome
Released: March 5, 2021
Jeremy McKinnon // Vocals
Neil Westfall // Rhythm Guitar & Vocals
Joshua Woodard // Bass
Alex Shelnutt // Drums
Kevin Skaff // Lead Guitar & Vocals
After teasing us for what seems like an eternity, A Day To Remember delivered their seventh studio album, You’re Welcome, four years after their last release Bad Vibrations took the world by storm. With that last album, the band honed in on their melodic side whilst still staying true to their “core” sound which fans grew to appreciate over the years. This new album however, well, I hope you’re not expecting much in the way of those infamous breakdowns and one-liners the lads brought to life since they first started out in the early 2000s.
When talking about the new album’s conception, frontman Jeremy McKinnon stated “We took what we envision modern music to be and made a hybrid of who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. It took a lot of maneuvering to get it right, but we feel like we did.” Now, when I first read that statement, I thought “oh cool, so they’re combining a bit of new with the old and their future sound…” Boy was I wrong!
‘Brick Wall‘ kicks the album off with a strumming guitar leading us to Jeremy’s vocals and a build up to the chorus which sounds like a typical ADTR song from their back catalogue… the only difference is the tempo of the chorus, which is slowed down (almost like an attempt at a breakdown during the chorus!?). I’m not sure of the band’s intentions with this decision, but it still continues to throw me months after release. The flow is something I’m not used to and it can come across disjointed in parts. But, it’s one of the better tracks on the album so I’m not going to tear it apart. ‘Mindreader‘ is up next and, much like ‘Brick Wall‘, you’ve had plenty of time to sit on this single to decide whether you dig it or not. It’s got that fun feel that A Day To Remember have pulled off so well over the years and will appeal to their newer fans (you know, the ones who like sing-a-longs more than throwdowns).
When I first heard ‘Bloodsucker‘, I could have sworn the band scored a cameo by Ed Sheeran in the opening lyrics, but it’s actually Jeremy! This one continues with a similar sound/style to ‘Mindreader‘, in that it would be a great radio rock song with a powerful chorus lead by “woahh ohhhs” galore. Think grungy pop rock and you’re not too far removed from what it’s like. ‘Last Chance to Dance (Bad Friend)‘ is a perfect song. If you like heavy riffs, distorted yells and tambourine clings, then this is going to be right up your alley. It’s another typical ADTR anthem, complete with plenty of places to lose your shit in a live setting or to hone in on your own screams as you replicate McKinnon’s wide range. There’s a filthy breakdown towards the climax and I really can’t say a bad word about it hey!
‘F.Y.M.‘ aka ‘Fuck You Money‘ reminds me of The Wallflowers song ‘One Headlight‘ but with more swearing (when you hear it, you’ll get what I mean). With a simplistic chorus that repeats: ‘Ooooh oooh oooh oooh oooh / wait ’til I get some fuck you money!’ it’s hard to feel anything personal from this. I can foresee it becoming one of those cruising/viral TikTok tracks that get stuck in your head, but it lacks a whole lot of substance.
As for ‘High Diving‘, I’ll come back to this when I think of something positive to say…
‘Resentment‘ is good, isn’t it! When it first came out back in November 2019, my review said it was “a touch heavier than their previous release ‘Degenerates‘ but in a more mainstream radio rock style, complete with a nice and tasty breakdown that should get blood pumping.” Now, listening to it (and the lyrical content) I can’t help but think it’s aimed towards the fans who have criticised the band’s change in direction over the years. Gradual change is healthy and helps fans stick around longer. A rough change in direction can result in, well, what I’ve stated about most of the unreleased songs on this album so far. ‘Looks Like Hell‘ is a great example of how the band can venture away to a new sound, but still keeping hints of their previous work. The chorus in his bad boy sounds like the standoff theme in a county/western movie, but with a modernised alt-rock makeover. It’s different for ADTR, but when you hear it, it won’t be too far removed from their signature sound. ‘Viva La Mexico‘ is safe rock at it’s finest. Some could say the guys took a gamble making this, but to me, it’s a massive step back for them in so many ways. Lyrically. Musically. Production-wise. It just sounds so rushed.
‘Only Money‘ is the album’s only noteworthy ballad. It’s about the loss of a loved one and goddamn it packs a fucking hard punch to the guts. This is what the guys do best. You get an instant emotional connection through Jeremy’s delivery on this heartfelt track and you don’t need any breakdowns or guitar solos at all. It’s about the performance and the message and this song alone may be the reason I didn’t completely throw in the towel on this review and label it a complete write off. ‘Degenerates‘ has riffs and catchy sing-a-long spots throughout, along with that breakdown that went off during their appearance at Good Things Festival 2019. This is how the band combine their fun, melodic material with a dash of the heavy and I guess, upon reflection, this was their transition from the old ADTR style to this new hybrid of tunes on You’re Welcome.
‘Permanent‘ had me ready to hit the skip button at first but I’m glad I kept it on because once that surprise breakdown hit, my ears pricked up and I had to hit the replay button. This is the kind of hybrid I thought we’d expect more of throughout the album. It’s got that modern sound with a nod to their back catalogue and wouldn’t be too far removed if released alongside some of the slower tempo tracks from Bad Vibrations. If ADTR‘s pop punk sounds were your jam, ‘Re-Entry‘ will be for you, but don’t expect upbeat bops like ‘Right Back At It Again‘, ‘All I Want‘ or ‘We Got This‘.. Instead, this is the new breed they’ve tackled and despite being listenable, it just doesn’t pack the same punch as some of their previously released upbeat songs. Album closer ‘Everything We Need‘ begins and instantly all I could think of was the opening bars of Avril Lavigne‘s song ‘Happy Ending‘. Despite everything they put into this song, I couldn’t get the resemblance out of my head and it put a dampener on enjoying the track for what it was.
Okay, time for a wrap up that I hope explains my thoughts throughout this review.
By now you should know I’m a massive supporter of musical progression as bands age try new things. The thing that rubs me the wrong way about those changes is if the band venture too far (too quicky) from their original sound, so much so, it can leave a dampener on the listener and devoted fans who stuck with them from the start.
The best example of this is 30 Seconds To Mars going from screamo/emo band to pop-synth monstrosity without any warning. Although, I still respect ADTR wayyyyy more than 30STM, this album cuts dangerously close to that fact. As mentioned earlier, gradual change is healthy and helps fans stick around longer and prepare for new grounds. A rough change in direction can result in, well, a lot of the criticisms I’ve mentioned above.
You’re Welcome had so much potential for ADTR to deliver new sounds and styles that’d unite fans together. Unfortunately, it comes across like a forced, rush job that is received like an unwanted gift from a passive-aggressive family member who follows it up with “You’re Welcome!” when you’re not quick to show appreciation.
I now understand why bands cut the fat and release albums with 9-10 songs in total. If A Day To Remember did this and somewhere down the track, released a B-Side album or a Deluxe Edition (featuring songs that didn’t fit the album), then it may have resonated with me better. But as a whole, this record is an unfortunate case of quantity over quality…
A Day To Remember – You’re Welcome tracklisting
1. Brick Wall
4. Last Chance to Dance (Bad Friend)
6. High Diving
8. Looks Like Hell
9. Viva La Mexico
10. Only Money
14. Everything We Need