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All Time Low - Don't Panic Album Cover

All Time Low - Don't Panic

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8.1
All Time LowDon’t Panic
Record Label: Hopeless Records
Release Date: October 9th, 2012
When I say I was never the biggest fan of Maryland four-piece All Time Low, it seems as though I’m in the minority. I haven’t met many people who don’t really like this band, but for some reason, I could never get into them at all. Maybe it’s the fact they’re more pop than punk, or it’s their lyrics have always been way too cheesy for my tastes. Regardless, people have been praising fourth record Don’t Panic. With that being said, I just knew I had to see what all the praise was for. I’ve listened to it a few times, and I must say, I certainly see why it’s getting the praise it has been getting. The record is quite good, in all honesty, and I’m shocked to admit that, considering I’ve never been the biggest fan of these guys. While I do enjoy this record, there are a few things that I still don’t like, either. Mainly, I don’t like the lyrics at many points in this record. No, they’re not awful, but they’re just way too cheesy. That’s an issue I’ve always had with the band; their lyrics were either really good, or too relatable, to the point of cheesiness. Sadly, the lyrics on this record do succumb to the cheesy factor. On the other hand, the instrumentation itself is superb. It’s clear these four guys have a knack for writing a catchy song. While the lyrics may be weak at some points, the instrumentation is great. Some of these songs are insanely catchy, and could get stuck in your head if you’re not careful. Also, vocalist Alex Gaskarth does have a nice voice. He may not have the best voice I’ve ever heard, but he does shine on the record as well.

The record opens “The Reckless and the Brave,” and this was the first single released back in June of this year. I listened to it a few times, and I didn’t particularly care for it. As a song itself, it’s a suitable single, because the chorus is catchy, and everything else is done quite nicely. However, it’s a generic song; there’s nothing I haven’t heard before here, but for what it is, it’s enjoyable. In terms of opening tracks, though, this song doesn’t make me excited for what else is to come on the record. It’s not a strong opening track, and almost feels like a “filler” track to me. Why they put it in the beginning doesn’t really make too much sense to me. Opening tracks are typically important, but regardless, it’s not an awful track. It just comes off as really generic to me. Next track, “Backseat Serenade,” is a very catchy track, but this what I mean by cheesy lyrics. It’s a cheesy love story about a guy and a girl. There’s nothing wrong with this, but I’ve heard way too many of these kinds of songs from pop-punk bands during the summer. I was hoping that next track “If These Sheets Were States” would redeem the album, but it really doesn’t; in fact, this is one of my least favorite tracks on the record. The lyrics are way too cheesy (yet again), and it doesn’t really do anything for me. That’s the problem with this band – lyrics are huge for me, and I just don’t like All Time Low’s lyrics, for the most part. It’s surprising, because the next track “Somewhere In Neverland” is the total opposite for me; it’s actually rather clever, and while it’s cheesy, it works. The song seems to be Gaskarth writing to Wendy (from the famous Peter Pan story) and wanting to be with her. This has a very strong chorus, and Gaskarth’s voice is extremely strong here. Another gripe I have with this band/album is how the whole thing sounds quite similar; every song is a pop-rock/pop-punk song that has the same formula. As a pop-punk fan, it’s not a huge deal, since most pop-punk isn’t known for its variety, it’s just that every song sounds almost the same. Thankfully, the instrumentation is very solid throughout the album, so it’s ultimately forgivable.

As the album goes on, there aren’t too many moments that really stick out to me, however, fifth track “So Long, Soldier” has a much more pop-punk sound, and this is another song I do really like. One thing this record does have going for it is that there’s a nice mix between the pop-rock and pop-punk. Not too much pop-punk, but pop-rock is quite prevalent, so “So Long, Soldier” is a nice break from the pop-rock tracks I’ve heard up until that point. And ironically, next track “The Irony of Choking On a Lifesaver” has a very interesting guitar riff, which is even more variety. This is a song I definitely enjoy quite a bit, and finally, the album is starting to redeem itself. The first few tracks were rather disappointing, but the middle of the album is fantastic. There are even some “na-na-na-na’s” that are thrown into the chorus, which makes it quite catchy, the way it should be. Eighth track “Outlines” is another important track, for a couple of reasons; it’s co-written by Fall Out Boy frontman Patrick Stump, and features guest vocals by Jason Vena of Acceptance. You can tell the song has Stump attached to it, because this song does sound like a Fall Out Boy track, and is one of the best songs on the record. Sadly, though, next track “Thanks to You” is another generic track, and is ultimately forgettable. “For Baltimore” is an obvious ode to their hometown, and does the sound justice. Album closer, “So Long, and Thanks for All the Booze” has a nice reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and it does the album closer justice, because it’s another pop-punk.

Overall, while I’m not a huge fan of All Time Low, this album has turned me into a bit of a fan. I didn’t have too many problems with this album, mainly the lyrics at times; sometimes they’re pretty enjoyable (“Somewhere In Neverland,” “So Long, Soldier,” and “Outlines”), but they’re really cheesy (“Backseat Serenade,” “If These Sheets Were States,” and “Thanks to You"). The instrumentation is very solid, and Alex Gaskarth has quite a voice. If their lyrics weren’t so cheesy, I could most likely get into this band. If you are a fan, however, you’ll certainly love this album.

Recommended If You Like Hopeless Records, Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard without violins, All Time Low in general, pop-punk, pop-rock, etc.


Additional Information
Track Listing:
1. The Reckless and the Brave
2. Backseat Serenade
3. If These Sheets Were States
4. Somewhere In Neverland
5. So Long, Soldier
6. The Irony of Choking On a Lifesaver
7. To Live and Let Go
8. Outlines
9. Thanks to You
10. For Baltimore
11. Paint You Wings
12. So Long, and Thanks for All the Booze

All Time Low is:
Alex Gaskarth – Vocals / Rhythm guitar
Zack Merrick - Bass
Rian Dawson - Drums
Jack Barakat - Guitar



www.alltimelow.com
This review is a user submitted review from justbradley. You can see all of justbradley's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 20
06:15 PM on 10/17/12
#2
Archael
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album sucks badly

review needs moar comments
08:27 PM on 10/17/12
#3
randys950
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this album is great. but question for reviewer....ever listen to 6 feet under the starts, break out break out, or coffee shop soundtrack?
10:46 PM on 10/17/12
#4
justbradley
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this album is great. but question for reviewer....ever listen to 6 feet under the starts, break out break out, or coffee shop soundtrack?
Yeah, I've listened to some of their earlier material, and ultimately, I didn't enjoy it.
01:58 AM on 10/18/12
#5
Metal Now
Talking about the second and third
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this album is great. but question for reviewer....ever listen to 6 feet under the starts, break out break out, or coffee shop soundtrack?
I imagine Six Feet Under The Stars contains just the 'cheesy lyrics' the review refers to. That said, Coffee Shop Soundtrack is a great tune.

Nice review too.
10:31 PM on 10/18/12
#6
Searos
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Its interesting to get the perspective of a listener who does not have the bias of wanting the record to be good to meet any pre-set expectations. I very much enjoy the record but I was a fan of their older work.
12:58 AM on 10/19/12
#7
justbradley
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Its interesting to get the perspective of a listener who does not have the bias of wanting the record to be good to meet any pre-set expectations. I very much enjoy the record but I was a fan of their older work.
That's exactly how I was with this release; I wasn't too much of a fan before, so I had no expectations for it to meet. I was going into it with a clear mind, and no idea of what I was going to expect, basically.
01:49 PM on 10/19/12
#8
Niko John
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Great album, but this review needs some punctuation man.
09:38 AM on 10/20/12
#9
ALT/MSC/FAN
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Yellowcard without violins is a pretty good way to describe their sound on this record.
11:48 AM on 10/21/12
allamericandj
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Author says lyrics are not a strong point on the album, yet still gives it a 7 rating? I don't get it.
05:46 PM on 10/21/12
justbradley
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Author says lyrics are not a strong point on the album, yet still gives it a 7 rating? I don't get it.
I gave it a seven, because I liked some of the lyrics. I actually mention some songs that have great lyrics in the review. Seven means average to me, and that's what they are, for the most part. Average. Just because I talk about how I don't like them doesn't mean others don't. Some people love their lyrics, and I see why; personally, they're just not my cup of tea.
05:47 PM on 10/21/12
justbradley
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Yellowcard without violins is a pretty good way to describe their sound on this record.
That's exactly the vibe I get from this record, mainly. Yellowcard is great, but if you took out their violins, this is the sound I think they would kind of have.
07:07 PM on 10/21/12
jarrettf1991
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Seriously? that high of a rating? this album was complete shit. And this is coming from someone who grew up with ATL from the beginning. The lyrics are horrible. Its like a fucking 14 year old girl wrote half the shit for this album
07:23 PM on 10/21/12
Searos
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Seriously? that high of a rating? this album was complete shit. And this is coming from someone who grew up with ATL from the beginning. The lyrics are horrible. Its like a fucking 14 year old girl wrote half the shit for this album
Its getting universal praise for the most part from not only this review but also from old and new fans. I really don't see what makes this album any worse than any of their previous releases and I am dead serious there. I know in the past some lyrics may of came off as creative but overall since SWIR they have had poppy music that was upbeat and straightforward. Dirty Work was them trying to branch out from that and everyone hated it. The album was tailored too much to try and be radio pop. Don't Panic is the closest thing they have released in a while to sounding like SWIR and PUOSU. Honestly as much crap as the lyrics get I praise them for not only bringing back the metaphors into their music but at the same time having the album pay homage to their career, growing up, and their home town.

Honesty All Time Low is never a band I will remember for inspirational or life changing lyrics. They have always just been fun and catchy pop. This album is basically that.

If I was to rate it against all the pop rock albums in the world I don't know if it would even be a 7 but within the scene the band is in, the decade, and against their previous works it definitely deserves an 8. All Time Low are a band that their biggest strengths are good vocals and upbeat songs. I get some people may not like their music at times but the lyrics are nothing better or worse than anything else they have done. I mean All Time Low is just a catchy pop band and aren't game changing.
06:56 PM on 10/23/12
sloppy33
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This album sets me off. The old showed up for the first time since "So Wrong, It's Right" while the new from the past two remains present. Thought it was good, but I was never a fan of the new music they came out with, as you said, more pop than punk. Their old stuff reminds you of NFG with a twist: eat, party, sleep, repeat. It was a more, "We're gonna slap you in the face with short bursts of songs" like "The Party Scene" "Coffee Shop" and "Hometown Heroes; National Nobodies". Anyways, the new album is a step in the right direction by bringing back this old "in the face" technique in songs like "So Long Soldier" and "Thanks To You". But I have to give credit where credit is due. The first two singles did not impress me, but as soon as I heard "Somewhere in Neverland" it was a great breath of "They're Back!" Album verdict: 8/10. Improvement, but not there yet.

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