AbsolutePunk.net
   Username
Password
 
Album Review
 
All Time Low - Dirty Work Album Cover

All Time Low - Dirty Work

Reviewed by
6.5
All Time Low - Dirty Work
Record Label: Geffen Records
Release Date: June 7, 2011
I am going to be straight up and get right to the point: This album isn't horrible, but it is disappointing. Very disappointing. Really, really fucking disappointing.

All Time Low's latest release, Dirty Work, had potential, and this only makes that disappointment even worse. This isn't a sophomore slump, and it isn't a band that people are still wondering if they are capable of writing good music and proving themselves. All Time Low is well past that point. This record simply does not live up to the high expectations that rightfully follow the band after a string of very successful releases and a career which has continued to grow.

There is far too much emphasis on production and cliche pop techniques rather than highlighting the natural talent of the band. There is a line where the production goes from being "well done" to being "excessive and unnecessary." That line is crossed on this album on every single track. The strengths of All Time Low lie in honest, relatively aggressive (but still catchy and musically interesting) songs. These qualities are not highlighted anywhere near as much as they should be, or even at all on most songs. "Heroes" is the closest this album gets to being All Time Low in any shape or form of the band they were once recognized as. The other tracks are barely worth mentioning. They are forgettable. They are cookie cutter. As I listened, I felt nothing other than the desire for the next track to come up, and eventually for the album to be over with. This is not the All Time Low I had grown to love. Where's something I can relate to like "Jasey Rae?" Where is something with some edge like "Noel?" Where is a track that is catchy but still has some sort of legitimate substance or meaning to it? Anything? I don't expect the band to clone any of those aforementioned songs, but when you have material like that as your Gold Standard and you release tracks such as the ones on Dirty Work, it just work. I was left feeling empty and unimpressed. As polished and professional as the record may sound, and as high quality as the musicianship is, there is no heart in these songs. The record is an emotional flat line. Absolutely no level of production can compensate for that.

The fact of the matter is that if All Time Low wasn't as good as they are at what they do, be it pop or be it punk, this album would be completely miserable. I didn't expect the band to reinvent the wheel, but I didn't expect a flat tire, either. Numerous other bands are doing pop-punk, and they are doing it on the same level that Dirty Work is at. This is not an acceptable level, and it is not a level that is sustainable, commendable, or impressive by any means. From a band like All Time Low I expect more. Much, much more. As a band that has worked hard as hell for numerous years, coming up from such a young age (and still at a young age, mind you), accomplishing everything they already have, the bar is is set very high, and that's where it should be.

When you prove that you are capable of writing killer pop-punk songs at the age of 17 and already have the showmanship and personality to capture a crowd, I am going to hold you to a higher standard than most other bands out there. So what do I want back from this band? Drop the over the top production. Stop caring about what everyone else in the industry thinks. Go back to doing what you do best. Go back to your roots and rediscover what started the magic for you in the first place. I refuse to believe that over the years these guys have lost any talent or somehow had their abilities diminished. On the flip side, all those things should be getting better and better. The reason for this "decline"? It isn't the band. It isn't even the guys as individuals. Labels, producers, trends, other outside influences, and so on and so forth, rinse and fucking repeat. Stop before it's too late. Just fucking stop.

With this release, All Time Low finds itself at a musical, and more than likely a career, crossroads. What direction they go is up to them. Or at least I hope it is up to them, and they aren't bound by contractual terrorism. They have a choice of whether or not they want to try to keep up with what is popular for the moment, what will help sell some flashy merch bundles, and what will make girls scream because they love the band as characters, and not as a cohesive group that makes memorable and meaningful music. (Or a group that used to do that, should they decide that is not longer their focus.)

Their track "My Only One" asks, "What do you say when your heart's not in it?" and "What do you do when you just don't get it?" This is of course, accompanied by pseudo-dance beat background that would make ABBA proud, sabotaging what could have been a solid track if done in the style of any one of their previous releases. My point is: Are your hearts still in it? Do you still get it? It seems you guys already know the questions that matter most. I am waiting, as are the majority of long time ATL fans, to see if whatever comes next is an answer I can agree with. If you want a writer/producer/random guy who loves music and still has a heart for meaningful pop-punk, you know where to find me.

Recommended If You LikeAll Time Low, bands that make pop punk inferior to All Time Low
This review is a user submitted review from anamericangod. You can see all of anamericangod's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 86
06:28 PM on 06/24/11
#2
anamericangod
Offline
User Info.
anamericangod's Avatar
I would like to say that this review does not mean I am any less of an All Time Low fan than I was before I heard this record. You shouldn't give up on a band just because their new release doesn't click with you. Don't abandon ship just yet.
06:35 PM on 06/24/11
#3
lp670sv
Go Sabres
Offline
User Info.
lp670sv's Avatar
I like time bomb but only because it's catchy. Agree completely about the lack of heart and over production
06:43 PM on 06/24/11
#4
punchedbyagirl
blaremagazine.com // Josh
Offline
User Info.
punchedbyagirl's Avatar
100% completely agree with this review. "Heroes" is a glimpse into the fact ATL still have that trademark magic, but at the same time they need to show that more. It's that kind of magic that made kids want to write songs like "Dear Maria", "Jasey Rae" or "Coffee Shop Soundtrack".
07:59 PM on 06/24/11
#5
carramrod2005
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
carramrod2005's Avatar
I agree with you on this, but I still have faith that they can put "that record" out in the future that encompasses the past and present...call me old fashion, but i still have faith
08:13 PM on 06/24/11
#6
xapplexpiex
&.&
Offline
User Info.
xapplexpiex's Avatar
I agree. It's not bad, but I expected better. I did really like some songs (Heroes, Time Bomb, Under a Paper Moon, Return the Favor), but there were also some pretty bad ones (That Girl, I Feel Like Dancin'). I just guess this is the new direction they're going in...
08:50 PM on 06/24/11
#7
anamericangod
Offline
User Info.
anamericangod's Avatar
I agree with you on this, but I still have faith that they can put "that record" out in the future that encompasses the past and present...call me old fashion, but i still have faith
I do too. I just hope it's the next record.
09:34 PM on 06/24/11
#8
sean_a26
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
sean_a26's Avatar
Great review. I've got a feeling that everyone that fell in love with this band because of songs like coffee shop and come one, come all (which is my favorite on so wrong) will completely agree with this review. Seeing them perform I feel like dancing on hoppus was heartbreaking. Such a great band that put out such a forgettable record.
09:41 PM on 06/24/11
#9
cwhit412
don't ask
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
lol Joe review.
10:58 PM on 06/24/11
crf1895
get kinda awesome
Offline
User Info.
crf1895's Avatar
i was eager to see how you would react to this record.
i agree about it being overproducted and hindering their musicality, but i have a couple of questions:

what do you mean about the songs 'having no heart' ? do you feel they aren't enjoying themselves, or aren't doing what they wanted to do, or do you think the label were too much of an influence on them?
they are really too poppy if we think about what they used to play five years ago, but they are good pop rock tunes. i think you agree with me here.

and why is the reviewer's tilt a 9? it felt like you couldn't stand going through the record.

overall, great review. i agree with you on most parts, but i think they just took a chance to try and get into the mainstream for good. and if they don't (and it looks like they won't), i highly doubt their next record will be similar to this one in any way.
11:43 PM on 06/24/11
anamericangod
Offline
User Info.
anamericangod's Avatar
Thanks for the input!
12:28 AM on 06/25/11
kskillzz
Regular Member
Offline
User Info.
kskillzz's Avatar
Solid review! It really annoys me how fast everybody turned on this band after they released 1 sub-par record.
01:02 AM on 06/25/11
KenneyBN
will be gone till July 2015 on mish
Offline
User Info.
KenneyBN's Avatar
no matter how bad this record is in comparison to The Party Scene, Put Up Or Shut Up, and So Wrong, It's Right, im still going to see them twice on their tour in Canada this summer. One record i dont like isnt gonna make me hate them. After all The Party Scene is one of my all time favorite records. I hope someday they'll return to how they used to be (music wise).
01:49 AM on 06/25/11
Percipere
Registered User
Offline
User Info.
No Avatar Selected
Despite being harsh, it's true. As a pop (rock) record, it's okay, but as an ATL album, its fucking horrendous. To me ATL has been and will always be that band that wrote Dear Maria and Jasey. Not this pop wannabe bullshit.
01:50 AM on 06/25/11
anamericangod
Offline
User Info.
anamericangod's Avatar
Solid review! It really annoys me how fast everybody turned on this band after they released 1 sub-par record.

no matter how bad this record is in comparison to The Party Scene, Put Up Or Shut Up, and So Wrong, It's Right, im still going to see them twice on their tour in Canada this summer. One record i dont like isnt gonna make me hate them. After all The Party Scene is one of my all time favorite records. I hope someday they'll return to how they used to be (music wise).

I wish other people had the same mindset as you two.

NEWS, MUSIC & MORE
Search News
Release Dates
Exclusives
Best New Music
Articles
CONNECT
Submit News
Forums
Contests
Mobile Version
AP.net Logos
HIDDEN TREASURES
AbsolutePunk Podcast
Free Music
Sports Forum
Technology Forum
Recommendations
INFORMATION
Advertising
Contact Us
Copyright Policy
Terms of Service
Privacy Policy
FOLLOW
Twitter | Facebook | RSS
AP.net Podcast on iTunes
UnderTheGun
Purevolume
Chorus.fm | @jason_tate