A Day To Remember Ė Common Courtesy
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Record Label: Self-Released (word)
The law is a complicated thing, but listening to music is not. Listening to music is easy. So even though you might not be interested in learning the ins and outs of A Day To Rememberís ongoing lawsuit with (former?) label Victory Records, you can instead digest something much more straightforward: The bandís new album, Common Courtesy. And in the face of two years of drama surrounding the release of this record, it seems like an important time to remind the Internet that years down the road, people wonít remember that a band was once in a lawsuit with its label Ė but the record, and these songs, will be remembered. The record lasts forever.
Thatís a good thing for A Day To Remember in this case. Common Courtesy is an easy step up from its predecessor, What Separates Me From You, and sees the Ocala, FL-based quintet continuing to become the best at what it does. Which is to say, play pop-punk interlaced with breakdowns interlaced with screamy mosh calls...whatever that genre is called. Is "easycore" a thing? Was it ever a thing? I donít really care.
Common Courtesy is an apt title for this album. Throughout its 13 songs and 54 minutes (!), vocalist Jeremy McKinnon chronicles the last three years of his bandís collective life. Actually, the lyrics quite often reminisce on the bandís beginnings Ė from the opening "City of Ocala" to the closing "I Remember," there isnít a shortage of tour stories or memories of the bandís early years. There is, of course, plenty of vitriol directed at Tony Brummel, who allowed this to be a thing, so yeah. Another theme on the record is demanding respect Ė whether this is aimed at Victory Records directly or an army of "haters" or, whatever, maybe everyone in the universe, itís certainly something that is touched upon multiple times throughout Common Courtesy.
A Day To Rememberís rise to success has been formulaic: Equal parts pop-punk, pop melody and screamy metalcore have been combined on every ADTR release so far and Common Courtesy doesnít stray from that path. It does, however, see the band perfecting the genre that it basically created for itself Ė the poppy parts are poppier, the heavy parts are heavier and the mosh calls are moshier. The riff in "Sometimes Youíre The Hammer, Sometimes You're The Nail" is, like, totally head-bangy while tracks like "Best Of Me," "Life @ 11" (címon with that title) and "I Surrender" are firmly placed into the "pop-punk" category of things and shine there. If you remove the breakdowns and screamy screams, A Day To Remember would actually be a pretty damn good pop-punk band, and for that reason, Common Courtesy is worth a spin even if youíre not a metalcore fan.
Itís a difficult thing for a reviewer to get his head out of his own ass and see the bigger picture sometimes. I really hate the ďmosh callsĒ that this band prides itself on Ė the "BRACE FOR IMPACT!!" roar in "Right Back At It Again" pretty much ruins that track for me and the "NO FUCKING RESPECT!" yell in "The Document Speaks For Itself" (truly a gem of a song title) pretty much accomplishes the same endgame. And minute-long breakdowns never really feel "necessary," do they? But, like, while weíre talking about respect again, Iím pretty capable of seeing the bigger picture in this case: A Day To Remember is the biggest band in the world playing this genre of music and they have firmly planted their collective foot as being the best at it.
Every single fan of this band is going to eat this record up. Theyíre going to listen to it for months on end without listening to anything else. Itís going to be their album of the damn year. Thereís isnít any beautiful poetry to be found on this record, there isnít any revolutionary new musicianship and thatís not the point. Maybe Iím not going to spin this record constantly in my spare time so I can mosh in my living room...but disrespect A Day To Remember? After telling a record label with a documented history of treating its bands like shit to fuck off, and after releasing an album thatís going to help it continue its dominance in its genre? Disrespect a band after that? Not me. I hope you sell a zillion records and use that money to buy more horses in Ocala, A Day To Remember.
Even without releasing any new music in three years, ADTR is currently playing to arenas across the country. Their last two albums have sold half a million records combined in the United States. Kids buy stupid basketball shorts from them at every show. A Day To Remember is nothing if not a freight train of an entity. Itís a powerhouse. In "City," McKinnon sings, "This is our corner of the world," and while he's not actually talking about the genre in which his band resides, he might as well be. With Common Courtesy...love it or hate it as you will...A Day To Remember is getting started all over again. And the album ensures that this band hasn't yet seen the peak of its popularity.