This is the second part of a blog dedicated to All Time Low. This part covers the band's newest album, Future Hearts. For my opinions on their previous release read the first part. And remember, everyone is entitled to their opinions so don't get too huffy with me. Feel free to comment and join the conversation.
Let me start this part off by saying, All Time Low have been a constant band for me. That means I can always depend on them to deliver a set of catchy pop punk tracks no matter where they are in their career, or what their age. Overall albums may fall flat, but there are always those three or so tracks I will put on replay for days. Future Hearts is no exception to this rule.
And now we get into the real review. While their sixth studio album far surpasses their idols corresponding release from 4 years ago, blink-182's Neighborhoods, it isn't as phenomenal as their previous effort Don't Panic, nor the re-release Don't Panic: It's Longer Now. Their other previous works have all been improvements on their predecessor, with Dirty Work being the exception to this rule.
Future Hearts is by far their most experimental, but don't let that word turn you off. Bands like Paramore, blink-182, and Bring Me The Horizon have alienated fans by using that word to describe releases, Self-Titled, Neighborhoods and Sempiternal respectively. Experimenting is excepted from artists. It'd be the equivalent to eating the same seven meals every day of the week for five plus years. And no one wants to do that, so before you go and judge an album based on comments that a band is "experimenting" just listen. I went in skeptical that I'd get into Paramore's Self Titled album as much as I had their previous releases, and ended up loving it.
With that in mind, let's move on to the individual tracks. This album is packed with strong songs like the arena ready anthems Kids in the Dark and Runaways. There's the sure pop punk classic Something's Gotta Give, and a very Don't Panic esc Cinderblock Garden. The title track Old Scars/Future Hearts, is a nice alternative piece that sounds like it was taken directly from a Fall Out Boy release. Don't Go is a decent track, but is weaker compared to the others. Other notable songs include Kicking and Screaming, another sure setlist staple, and Dancing with Wolves, a rhythm driven alternative track.
Now for some of the weaker tracks. As i said before, Don't Go isn't the best song in the world, but it's still got that classic ATL stamp of approval. It's catchy and talks about the usual break-up, one night stand kinda stuff. But then there are the softer tracks like the opener Satellite, the collab with Mark Hoppus, Tidal Waves, and the collab with Joel Madden, Bail Me Out. The collaborations themselves are pretty decent tracks, but the acoustic vibe just doesn't seem to fit in with the other arena ready songs. The same goes for the middle track Missing You. It has a very, you'd play this song during a beach montage in a teen movie, vibe. In fact it's so acoustic and lovey dovey, it's almost too cheesy even for ATL. It's got a certain country edge to it that makes me wonder if Rian's girlfriend, someone you might have heard of in passing, Cassadee Pope had a hand in writing. Again, alone these tracks are solid work for the band, but belong on a separate acoustic EP, not this anthemic arena album.
Satellite is another seemingly misplaced track, and as the opener I was a little let down. It's a great track, but it doesn't seem to belong in the "Track 1" slot. As a listener, you expect the opening track to blow you away, and be something that will make you want to listen to the rest of the album. Putting a slower anthemic track would have been better suited to close the album than open it.
But after all is said and done, this is still an incredible album. The lyrical content is serious enough to know the band is slowly growing up, but if you see these guys live, you'll know they're still the same goof ball man children everyone loves. They have surpassed their heroes, blink-182 and New Found Glory (whose song Head on Collision was the inspiration for the band's name).
Overall I'd say this album is a 7.5/10, or a B-. And considering how many other bands flunk out by their sixth release, after ten years in the music business, you have to give the ATL guys a pat on the back.
So thanks for reading, and stay devious.