Every A Day To Remember album ranked from worst to best
A Day To Remember released Bad Vibrations this autumn, but where does it rank in their back catalogue?
Since their beginnings as a fuzzy pop-punk band making tunes New Found Glory would be proud of, A Day To Remember have evolved their sound into a hybrid of metalcore, hardcore and the more upbeat stuff.
“We loved pop punk, we loved hardcore bands, and we couldn't decide what to be. So we said fuck it. Let's do them both,” vocalist Jeremy McKinnon told AbsolutePunk in 2011. And they did, to varying degrees of success across their six full-lengths. We got stuck into their discography to rank their records from worst to best.
6. For Those Who Have Heart (2007)
After recording their debut on indie label Indianola, ADTR made it clear they wanted more for the second album. In an interview before For Those Who Have Heart was released, guitarist Neil Westfall said Indianola “didn’t have money to support a band growing”, and they inked a deal with Victory instead. We all know how that turned out, but that’s another story. It’s immediately obvious that they’ve got bigger production budgets at their disposal here; it doesn’t sound like it was recorded in a garage, for a start. But the unpolished fuzziness was part of their debut’s charm, and if you’re going to go big on your sound, you need big songs to make it a worthy endeavour. Instead, For Those Who Have Heart – while it’s home to one of their most-played songs, The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle – doesn’t offer much in the way of hooks that get under your skin.
5. Homesick (2009)
There are decent tunes on here like The Downfall of Us All, I’m Made Of Wax, Larry…, and NJ Legion Iced Tea, but overall, Homesick feels like the same few ideas stretched over 12 songs. It’s not that it’s a bad album, but we know ADTR are capable of better. With earlier songs like Your Way With Words Is Through Silence and Monument, they prove that they know how to weave a decent melody together, but much of Homesick feels meandering rather than hooky. It’s the first album that features Chad Gilbert on production, and is noticeably more polished-sounding than its predecessors, suggesting that ADTR were subtly trying to move into their next phase here. The overall feeling, though, is that they haven’t quite eased into it yet.
4. And Their Name Was Treason (2005)
After the intro comes Heartless, and the urgent, frenzied hardcore of the verses is somewhat misleading as an indicator of what’s to come. It is, though, a suggestion that, had ADTR decided to sack off the pop-punk and follow in the footsteps of the likes of Every Time I Die, they’d have been pretty good at it. But they didn’t, and it’s the pop-punk that carries the album here: Your Way With Words Is Through Silence and A Second Glance have Blink 182’s influence all over them. When And Their Name… was released, there weren’t many other bands boldly plonking hardcore sections in the middle of a skate-punk song, and while the overall sound isn’t as refined or deftly moulded as their later material (they dealt with that on the reissue, and have been open about the fact that resources at their first label, Indianola, were limited), this is the beginnings of their identity, and for its time, it’s innovative.
3. Bad Vibrations (2016)
Naivety might be the most catchy thing ADTR have ever written, but it’s something of an anomaly on Bad Vibrations, which spends most of its time exploring heavier territory. The perfect fusion of sounds that the band found on its precursor Common Courtesy seems to have fallen away a bit, and the flow of the record is interrupted halfway through as it goes from solid metalcore to softer, more emotional stuff. We’ve heard ADTR lose their shit over a hardcore breakdown before, and we’ve heard them throw bottled-up nostalgia and poignancy over a speedy punk riff, but we haven’t heard them go full emo. It’s a valiant effort – Justified is a bona fide weeper – but it feels a little overblown compared to their usual raw edge.
2. Common Courtesy (2013)
You couldn’t get a more solid pair of opening tracks than City Of Ocala into Right Back At It Again if you tried. The upbeat, sunshine-drenched pop-punk that ADTR played with on their first album is back, and the darker, heavier moments no longer stick out like buck teeth among the more melodic moments. Here, they’re woven seamlessly in, and the band sounds like it’s settled fully into its identity as a metalcore-punk chameleon.
1. What Separates Me From You (2010)
This feels like the point in ADTR’s career that they truly harnessed the dark side. Not the Star Wars kind, but the ability to channel their anger into dark, booming riffs and snarls. 2nd Sucks sounds like a tentative foray into deathcore, and it’s executed well. Melody hasn’t been done away with completely, of course; it’s there in the stomping anthem It’s Complicated, and on the palpably frustrated All Roads Lead To Lauderdale. Even for those of us who didn’t grow up in Florida, the feeling of needing to escape a small town for the bright lights and promise of the city is something we can all relate to.