Florida-native rock band A Day to Remember has been collecting fans from many different circles over the years. Their earlier albums are undoubtedly the heaviest, but these days, their sound is evolving into something new — and a little hard to describe.
After securing their position in the pop-punk and post-hardcore scenes, ADTR has begun branching out even further. 2019 even saw the band collab with popular electronic artist Marshmello, catching pretty much all of us by surprise.
The band’s newest album, You’re Welcome, may elicit some mixed feelings from fans. A bigger portion of the record is dedicated to songs that are more poppy and radio-friendly than you might expect after 2016’s Bad Vibrations. But this new sound is really not all that surprising when you consider A Day to Remember’s track record; they have always refused to be pigeon-holed into one specific genre or sound, and You’re Welcome is further proof of that.
The album opener, “Brick Wall,” slowly eases into a classic ADTR banger. Its pattern and its high energy make it perfect for live shows. The next track, “Mindreader“, is less heavy, but still feels familiar with its repetition and catchy hook. “Bloodsucker” is where we begin to get into uncharted territory. Jeremy McKinnon’s vocals are as recognizable as ever, but the lyrics are a little more surface-level than we’re used to (“You always kill my vibe/ Gone from bad to worse and no, it’s not alright”). Finally, a trap-esque beat at the end reinforces this as a sort of palatable hit.
“Last Chance to Dance (Bad Friend)” immediately establishes itself as a homage to the band’s heavy roots, and stands out as one of the best tracks on the album. Right after, we switch gears once again to go back to a much more relaxed sound with “F.Y.M”. This one is light-hearted and easy to sing along to, bringing tracks like “All Signs Point to Lauderdale” to mind. “High Diving” might be the most indicative of the new, pop-infused direction the band went towards on this record. It’s happy, it’s carefree, it’s not inherently bad… but if someone had told me this song was by an entirely different band, I wouldn’t have doubted it for a second.
Next up is “Resentment,” a single that’s been out since 2019 and has since become their third most-popular song on Spotify. Its great mix of sing-along moments and heavy breakdowns makes that unsurprising. “Looks Like Hell” is an interesting track with a Western vibe that makes it stand out, and “Viva La Mexico” is another fun track that encompasses the guys’ personalities.
“Only Money” is arguably the most heartfelt and emotional song that ADTR has put out since 2013. It explores McKinnon’s personal relationships and how money has affected them. Up next is “Degenerates,” the first single from 2019. This is another fun one — insanely catchy and sure to be great live. Permanent is pretty fast-paced; not bad, but also not great, and its middle-of-the-road sound, unfortunately, allows this song to get lost amid the rest of the album.
“Re-Entry” returns to a topic that ADTR knows well: going home. This song manages to create a feeling reminiscent of several past albums, while still sounding fresh. The last track,” Everything We Need,” is an emotional acoustic ballad that continues the nostalgia. Plus, it includes a reference to I-75, which Florida fans (like myself) are sure to get a kick out of.
As a whole, the album struggles to find a flow that feels natural; it almost feels like two or three separate concepts coming together. It attempts to keep everyone happy, which forces us to confront the fact that doing so is not always easy. But that doesn’t mean it should be disregarded. Whether or not you enjoy this album is probably dependent on which of A Day to Remember’s styles you’re most fond of. There are certain moments in the record that will likely isolate those who are more appreciative of their older sound. But it also opens up new possibilities for them as a band and reaches out to a broader audience. It might help old-school fans to adjust their expectations before listening and really hone in on the band’s intentions with this record.
Personally, I know I’ll end up going back (like I always do) to What Separates Me From You. You’re Welcome was missing a lot of that grittiness that many fans have come to expect. But A Day to Remember have set out to innovate, to redefine, to blur the lines between genres. There’s really no telling what’ll be coming next from them, and that in itself is pretty exciting.