A Day to Remember - Homesick
Record Label: Victory Records
Release Date: February 2, 2009
When trying to describe Homesick, A Day To Remember's followup to 2007's, For Those Who Have Heart, I'm sure that the perfect word would be, well, (almost) perfect. Produced by Chad Gilbert (guitarist for pop-punk band New found Glory) and mixed by Adam Dutkiewicz (guitarist for metalcore band Killswitch Engage), this album can be seriously considered for the best album of the year and quite arguably Victory Record's best release to date. ADTR stumbles on more extremes than their last record. They stray from the conventional, straightforward hardcore album. They do an excruciatingly amazing job balancing out poppy choruses and chugging breakdowns.
The first track off the album, "The Downfall Of Us All," is what any hardcore or post-hardcore band would aspire to create. ADTR just simply got there first. With the vocal drumline in the beginning to the gang chants of "Downfall Of Us All!" at the end of the song, this track is truly a masterpiece and probably the best choice to start off the album. It displays the balance of screaming and singing that ADTR has been looking for.
The next track, "My Life For Hire," really utilizes catchy choruses and gang lyrics. A great follow up to the first track, the main guitar parts are groovy, chugging riffs that would have any rocker bobbing his or her head. With lyrics like "Too late, too late to keep trying to resolve the past right now/ but i swear i'll be the one to remember what you've done to me," they really reach out to a huge crowd of adolescent teenagers looking for a musical escape.
The next song, probably their best song on the album, is "I'm Made Of Wax, Larry, What Are You Made Of?." Being a collaboration with Mike Hranica (frontman for the metalcore band The Devil Wears Prada), it's pretty much destined to be an amazing track. The breakdown really makes the song shine above the rest. With the vocals going back and forth between Hranica and lead singer Jeremy McKinnon, the bridge is the heaviest part of the song, which then resumes with another catchy chorus: "You now I've got you like a puppet in the palm of my hand." ADTR is pretty much saying that they're in control and with songs like these, they pretty much are. They're taking charge of the post-hardcore scene with songs like these and establishing themselves as the premier artist of the genre.
The first single released from the CD, "NJ Legion Iced Tea" is another venture into the land of chugging breakdowns and sing-a-long choruses. Shining with hope, it really gives the disc a good balance. "Don't Think You Can Hold Us Down/ We'll Tear This Building Down." They're right. Nothing is going to get in ADTR's way with songs like these. The guitar work is very intricate and the sound is just perfect.
When the next song, "Mr. Highway's Thinking About The End," starts, you feel like you're going back two years and listening to FTWHH. You hear the aggressive, callousness of their last CD, but sure enough, it balances out with clean vocals that are properly placed. Most of the song is heavy screaming which, considering how much of the album is comprised of clean vocals, seems to be artistically molded into a pretty good song.
"Have Faith in Me," a collaboration with Jason Lancaster (Ex-Mayday Parade, GoRadio), is the only song not to be completely by A Day To Remember. Going easy on the screaming, they really pull this one off. They put forth harmonized vocals and really create a good feel to the song. In comparison to the rest of the rest of the CD, it's one of the lightest songs on the album, but it fits just perfectly in ADTR's formula for musical perfection.
Their next song, and second vocal collaboration so far, "Welcome To The Family" features Vincent Bennett (frontman of metalcore band The Acacia Strain). This is probably the weak point of the album. The vocals don't really show too much creativity. Nonetheless, it's a good song, just not as good as the rest. They definitely proceed to make up for it with the next song (and title track) "Homesick." The theme of the album is pretty much about being away from home, missing home, and not being able to do anything about what happens while you're away from home. The lyrics really show this feeling. "Five years have passed/ good god, have I been gone." They really reach out to their friends and family in Ocala, FL, where they got their start.
"Holding It Down For The Underground" is yet again, another perfectly balanced song: scream, clean, scream, clean, the perfect structure for any successful hardcore song. They once again, they show a good balance that gives this album such replay value. Many critics argue that ADTR's songs are pretty much redundant, but I beg to differ. I think that each song has a unique taste to it and therefore, makes the CD very diverse. If you want musical redundancy, pick up a DragonForce album.
"You Already Know What You Are" is short, sweet, and to the point. Only lasting about a minute and a half, this is ADTR's way of saying "We don't need to play for three minutes to make good music!" The second to last song, "Another Song For The Weekend," one of the better songs on the album, starts off with a shredding guitar part and killer drum beats. It then proceeds into this almost hardcore punk feel with the fast tempo and gang vocals. The theme is very prevalent in this song with lyrics like: "I'm still the same / not much has changed / I still know where I came from."
The last song, the most different, heartfelt one on the album, "If It Means Alot To You," features Sierra Kusterbeck of VersaEmerge. It's pretty much the typical love song. He's away from her, he loves being with her but realizes that he doesn't need her. She loves him, but she won't wait forever. He pleads "If you can wait until I get home, I swear to you that we can make this last." The song then evolves to the girl doubting that they will last, and then they realize that nothing lasts forever. Probably the best way to finish the album, this song continues the trend of ADTR including a soft, acoustic song in their albums. The catchy "la la la"s complete the song and finish the album while leaving the listener with the best impression. It leaves you thinking "wow." After an album of the caliber, that's the only thing you can think.
In conclusion, this album has to be probably the best one that I have heard to date from any artist on the music scene. It's safe to say that this is ADTR's magnum opus. My hat is off to Jeremy and the boys for creating the album that every hardcore band wishes they could make. Good job guys, and good luck with the next one. It's got some big shoes to fill.
This times 8 thousand. I have no problem with someone liking this record because it's not insufferably bad and I've heard worse before, but it severely lacks creativity (all the songs sound the same... too many bands like this) and everything else is rated waaaayyyyy too high. I'd give a 59%
and victory's best release? i know they have a lot of crappy bands but i think everyone forgets that between the buried and me are on victory still and all their albums are some victory's best releases
ok so the review was a bit overdone. but I still love the album, and its stupid to say all the songs sound the same cause the really don't. Just because your not into adtr doesnt make them bad. they really are a pretty good band if you listen to the more.