Common Courtesy review by A Day to Remember

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  • Released: Oct 8, 2013
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 8.2 (59 votes)
A Day to Remember: Common Courtesy

Sound — 7
A Day To Remember was formed in 2003 by several friends in Florida, and since that time they've garnered national attention with their unique brand of pop punk and metalcore. The members themselves say that early in their career they were told the mixing of pop punk and metalcore wouldn't work, but they've persevered and made a place for themselves. The album, "Common Courtesy," was a long time in the making due to a contract dispute with their label, Victory, which made it all the way to court. The album was released following the settling of the court case which allows the band to release the album themselves, while still contractually being obligated to release 2 more albums for Victory. The album is their 5th full length studio release and contains 13 tracks with a runtime of approximately 53 minutes. The first single was released quite a while ago (December 2012), which was "Violence (Enough Is Enough)" and was followed much later (October 7) just a day before the official digital release of the album with "Right Back at It Again." While the album has been released digitally, the physical release of the album has been delayed. The album was produced by Andrew Wade and, per interviews with the band, Tom Denney (the original lead guitarist, who left the band in 2009), though he isn't credited with production. In interviews there have been hints that Tom Denney may also be contributing to vocals, writing and guitar but I have not been able to confirm this, though he has been credited on 9 of the 13 tracks. Whether this means he helped in the writing process, or actually performed on the recording I cannot say. The band has also recently announced a deluxe edition of the album containing 16 tracks, instead of 13, that will be available in late November. The album starts out with the track "City of Ocala," which opens up like a fast paced pop punk ballad. The lyrics are extremely nostalgic focusing on where the band came from. "Right Back at It Again" opens up as a metalcore track, but transitions back to pop punk for most of the track with a little bit of metalcore near the end of the track. The third track, "Sometimes You're The Hammer, Sometimes You're the Nail" is one of the heaviest songs on the album, though the choruses are definitely well within the realm of pop punk. "Dead and Buried" starts off heavy as well, and possibly the darkest track on the album musically, but it feels a little off-kilter with the lyrics which seem to be more about concern about the musical legacy the band will leave behind. "Best of Me" has an almost indie vibe to it, but the pop influence is definitely present. The lyrics sound like a break-up song, but I'm not sure if he's talking about a romantic interest or their record label. "I'm Already Gone" is an acoustic track, or at least predominantly acoustic, and this one is a kind of melancholy ballad about self-identity. Next is their lead single, "Violence (Enough Is Enough)" and this one is another heavy one (except for the pop punk choruses), though the lyrics have a kind of emo/mopey theme to them. "Life @ 11" is next, and this one is pretty much pop punk from start to finish with the exception of some borderline metalcore style vocals that pop up occasionally during the song. "I Surrender" is next, and this is the second mainly acoustic track on the album. This is another love song that I'm not sure if it is about a love interest or their record label. "Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way" is next up with an interesting intro basically made out of some sustained distorted chords and drumming, then when the vocals come in it gains momentum and is a really driving track. The lyrics for "Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way" are kind of confusing because I feel like they're talking about something specific that I'm not aware of with lyrics like, "I heard a little girl killed herself today/ that blood's on your hands/ It's on your hands/ when everyone knows your face, nothing's safe/ You'll live your life as a fucking target." Next is "End of Me" which opens up as an acoustic track, but the rhythm guitar is the only thing that stays acoustic, with electric lead guitar, etc. Each time I hear this track it flip-flops from one of my favorite tracks from the album to one of my least favorite and back again. The track "The Document Speaks for Itself" is a metalcore romp that is a straight on attack against their record label. Of course, the chorus is pop punk on this one as well. The album closes out with the track "I Remember," which is another pop punk track from start to finish, and also very nostalgic with the lyrics dealing with early touring and playing to close to empty venues. The last several minutes of the track is just audio of the band members telling old road stories. After listening to the album I feel like I know the members of the band a little better than before I listened. Unfortunately, their metalcore songs/passages seem really generic to me. They seem to shine much more with their pop punk offerings, but I have to say it is much better than on their earlier albums.

Lyrics — 8
Jeremy McKinnon is the founding vocalist of the band, and is credited with the writing of all the lyrics on the album. He has proven that he is able to sing well in both genres that the band plays within, and with time his songwriting seems to have become more and more personal. The vocal performance can't be faulted, but also nothing stood out as spectacular, either - the vocal performance was adequate. Lead guitarist, Kevin Skaff, is also credited with some of the vocals (mostly backing vocals) on the album, and I have no complaints on his performance, either. As I had stated previously, the lyrics are very personal and this definitely does give them more impact and seems to work really well with the pop punk portion of their music. As a sample of the lyrics, here are some from the track, "City of Ocala": "Remember way back when? They said this life was a dream/ Well it still is, I never wanna wake/ Standing in my backyard at our old practice space/ Hard to hold back the tears from streaming down my face/ That was then, this is now/ You can't run before you go learn how, and you won't/ This is our corner of the world/ Where we can come to be ignored/ This is our point where we return/ This is where I came from/ This is where I came from/ Remember way back when? This place seemed bigger to me/ Learned how to play guitar, and made my mom watch me/ We always knew back then, just where I'd be right now/ We never questioned it, was more like when and how."

Overall Impression — 7
Immediately what you realize upon listening to "Common Courtesy" is that this is by far the most personal album the band has released, with a lot of their personal history, feelings, and recent events transparently used in their songs. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and the narrative viewpoint always seems to work well for pop punk. The album also seems to radiate enthusiasm, which is something that I wasn't really feeling with their last release. The band apparently started with 40+ songs according to interviews, and the songs included on the album were the songs that made the cut - and this is where I fall off the bandwagon. While there are some really good tracks on the album, there are also some very mediocre tracks. My favorite tracks from the album would have to be "Violence (Enough Is Enough)," and "City of Ocala" (because I like the nostalgic narrative). While neither pop punk or metalcore are my favorite genres, the band has successfully made the two sound good together vs. back in their early days where it sounded like a gimmick to my ears. I'm interested to see what direction they take this over time.

43 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The band confirmed that "Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way" was written about Hunter Moore. If you don't know who that is, Hunter Moore is a scumbag who created a website that allowed ex-boyfriends to submit nude pictures of their ex girlfriends. It ruined one girl's life so much, she killed herself. Hence the lyrics "A little girl killed herself today / The blood's on your hands". ADTR's rivalry with Hunter stems back to when nude pictures of their bassist Josh surfaced on his website. Since then, it has been rumoured that Hunter was in attendance at one of their shows and they refused to take stage until he was escorted out by security. Anyways, Hunter Moore is a sleezeball who became filthy rich off of exploiting girls on the internet, most of whom were underage, people have died because of him, and the sad part about all of this is that lots of people actually look up to the guy.
    What an awful concept of a website that is on a moral and humanity level. He deserves to burn in hell for the way he's exploited people for money and good for A Day To Remember to stand up to such a heinous person. Thank you for that information because "Life Lessons Learned The Hard Way" was such a dark song, that I really wanted to know the meaning behind it.
    You're correct about the meaning. It's a great song lol. When he goes "You'll live your life, as a ****ing target" all of my friends and I just go nuts. Love the energy
    I've gotta say myself that I've loved the shit out of this album. To me, it's a great mix of everything they've done and have improved on it a bit. It hints at every album they've created, from "And Their Name Was Treason" to "What Separates Me From You", and added some new things to it. It's the kind of record (and band, for that matter) that you can't go in expecting some groundbreaking record. It's a load of fun, and to enjoy it properly, you have to allow yourself to have fun with it. That's how I see it, anyways.
    Definitely some cheesy-core lyrics here and there but it is ADTR after all. 4/5 for me
    No ****ing respect! EDIT: I thought this was a terrible lyric just so you know. A bit too generic for me. But thats how ADTR is when they try to act 'heavy'.
    Dude, if you know all the background story.. you know that they have already writing in the past around 40 songs. And they're just seeing which song would make the best in a album and fit in a theme. And and by the way.. they never try to do something else for other people. They just do their own shit. That's the whole concept of A Day To Remember.
    I think people have been way to critical of this album. This whole album is great from start to finish. The guitars have been more utilized to really give some of these songs a truly composition feel and not just smooshing alot of distortion together. This blows WSMFY out of the water and I'm really disappointed about the low score this review gave not to mention how half assed it was. You can definitely feel the bias in the interview and how uninterested he really was in this album. This review was bad and you should feel bad.
    "While neither pop punk or metalcore are my favorite genres, the band has successfully made the two sound good together vs. back in their early days where it sounded like a gimmick to my ears." And really? These guys used to be my favorite band during the For Those Who Have Heart/Homesick era, but I think theyve gone a bit downhill with mixing it up well. Maybe Ive just grown out of their music a bit but Im tired of the breakdowns in some of these songs.
    Black Mustangs
    They were fantastic when they were the only ones doing the whole pop punk/metalcore thing, but now that there's a million other bands copying them they don't stand out anymore.
    I was also a huge fan during those times and WSMFY really dissapointed me but I really enjoyed Common Courtesy.
    WSMFY had its moments. CC, for me at least, doesnt have enough lasting value imo.
    This is their best so far, imo. It is more musically diverse than anything they've done previously and the composition has gotten a lot better.
    Where the **** is my review of this?
    It will get uploaded in a couple of days
    Sam Rulez D00d
    I haven't listened to this yet, but I just want to say: what a hideous album cover.
    If you saw the whole album cover, without the "common courtesy writing," you may think different otherwise. I think it's cool how every cover has a person in the middle of em.
    Sam Rulez D00d
    Yeah, I'm guessing that's a sleeve on the hard copy CD. I'm sure the actual picture behind it looks fine.
    Then you apparently don't like Walking Dead art work because Tom Moore was the artiist of cover.
    The two aren't even comparable, though. This is a pop-punk album cover as compared to a gore-fest zombie comic.
    there are two different covers, the main one, which is used, and the one without all the crap over the top where its an actual picture
    Ridiculous over-labeling of what genre/sub-genre ADTR is has diluted this review. Their sound is catchier, heavier and more emotional than (in my opinion) it ever has been. I didn't think they'd be able to top "Homesick" but this album really proves that they're not afraid to go outside of the box and still refine that heavy, pop-punk ADTR sound.
    I definitely think this is their most complete release and represents the best of what they can do in all respects from the heavy breakdowns to the catchy pop punk elements. Best 10 bucks I've spent in a while.
    All the songs had big meanings about the band. And it's all about them beginning and talking about how they experience their life until now. All their songs gave me chills. And I feel like giving the band more likely a 8.9 or more.
    Why didn't Alter Bridge get a review like this. The detail in this review is impeccable.
    Is it on iTunes yet?
    Nope. Nov 25. Did you not hear what happened between them and Victory Records?
    I'm glad that the money they had you pay for the album on their website went directly to them. Also I'm happy that if you ordered it, you can still get the 3 extra songs for free, and also have a physical copy of the album for a discounted price.
    Great album, and good review of it. I've been a fan of ADTR for several years so I'm a little biased by saying I really enjoy this album. This album has gotten some heavy play in my car/phone/PC. This album get's a strong 8/10 for me
    This album definitely feels like a more complete record compared to their last release, What Separates Me from You. I literally listened to City of Ocala into Right Back At It Again for 3 hours straight. Even their mostly acoustic song (while not if it means a lot to you) still sounds awesome. nothing too genre shaking here but still a perfect blend of pop-punk and post-hardcore. solid 9/10, worth the $10