Sound — 8
I decided to give this album a lot of time to grow on me and listen to it over and over again before writing my review of it. After this extensive period of checking it out, I decided that A Day to Remember's new sound, while controversial, is also a step in the right direction for them. While die-hard fans like myself may take issue with the fact that they have abandoned some of their heavier style, it's obvious that this album is working for them. Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, landing on LA's famous KROQ radio rotation, and hit single "All I Want" being pretty much overplayed on my local alternative radio station (Chicago's Q101). They are also headlining tours, with the recent Gamechangers tour (with metalcore giants Bring Me the Horizon and We Came as Romans in support) and now recently unveiled as the headliner for this summer's Vans Warped Tour. Regardless of your opinion of the band's music, saying that they are a crap band or that they will accomplish nothing is grossly underestimating them. Personally, I enjoy almost every song on this album (although I'm about sick to death of "All I Want" it's a great song ok we get it play something else now!) because they all have something that is signature ADTR but Kevin Skaff's addition to the band has brought in a new sound. Will the new, friendlier sounding What Separates Me From You win ADTR a larger following? I think the answer to that question is yes. To put in perspective, Metallica was almost exclusive to metal heads until they released the Black Album. After that, Metallica went from being metal giants to rock gods. Similarly, A Day to Remember has been almost exclusively for the hardcore and (as I puke in my mouth) the ever annoying "scene" kid crowd. Since the release of this album, it has opened them up to fans of pop-punk, alternative rock, and even bubble gum rock "I only listen to Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift" preteen girls. (My little sister is a prime example of the latter.) The next few years and next album from these guys will determine if they are the next in a long line of pop-punk cookie cutter bands that will fall into the halls of mediocrity with Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, and Jimmy Eat World or if they are destined for rock legendry. It remains to be seen the ultimate destiny of A Day to Remember, but for this particular fan, I only hope the best for them and I'm in for the long haul.
Lyrics — 9
Jeremy McKinnon's lyrics typically cover one of the following topics: F--k haters, romance gone wrong, I miss (family, friends, lover) because I'm on tour, or just typical teenaged angst. While critics might say that this makes ADTR more shallow, keep in mind A Day to Remember's fan's primary age group: 13-20-something year olds. A 13 year old kid who is the outcast at school and likes "heavier" music than the pop and hip-hop crap played on the radio is going to love songs like All Signs Point to Lauderdale and All I Want. An 18 year old high school senior ready to take on the world and grab life by the horns is going to love songs like Sticks and Bricks, 2nd Sucks, and This Is the House that Doubt Built. And just about any high schooler or young lover that has been wronged is going to love You Be Tails I'll Be Sonic and Better Off This Way. In some ways, A Day to Remember's lyrics have matured, but there's still the sophomoric teenage angst lyrical content. To the critics, keep in mind the first few Beatles hits were all about love love love and more love. It wasn't until later that they tackled some deeper and more abstract subjects. Will A Day to Remember mature with age and experience? I certainly hope so, because while lyrics like "I am fueled by all forms of failure," "I speak the truth and everybody else knows it," "all I want is a place to call my own to mend the hearts of everyone who feels alone," "nothing comes between me and my plans," and "in the end it's not about what you have in the end it's about where you wanna go and the road you chose to help you get there" are all well and good, I am hoping that some hard topics and deeper subject matter are tackled by McKinnon in the future. I will say this, ADTR is a breath of fresh air when you are assaulted by "I'm gangsta gangsta!," "black and yellow black and yellow black and yellow," "party in the USA," "like baby baby baby ohhh," and "first name greatest last name ever" constantly. They certainly have lyrics that people can actually relate to, because I'm pretty sure just about every teenager and young adult feels the same way as the lyrics McKinnon writes. But as ADTR's fan base grows older and tackles new problems and new issues and feels new emotions or has a different attitude towards those emotions, I sincerely hope ADTR reflects that maturation.
Overall Impression — 8
My overall impression of What Separates Me From You is that this album is what separates A Day to Remember from the rest of a large crowd of chugga chugga, gang vocals, and bass drop laden -core bands. While their sound isn't necessarily unique, it's a winning formula, combining the best elements of hardcore, pop-punk, and alternative rock to make the signature A Day to Remember sound. Judging by the sold out crowds at the Gamechangers tour, the pre-sale tickets for Warped Tour selling faster than internet porn at a World of Warcraft convention, and the millions of YouTube views on every music video they've released, it's obvious that A Day to Remember is a success. Love them or hate them, they have achieved a lot in a very short time and they're not going away anytime soon. As a diehard fan of A Day to Remember, I will say that I loved Homesick more than this album, but this is their most successful album. It's like metal heads saying while And Justice For All was my favorite Metallica, the Black album was their greatest. I make these comparisons because the bands I've mentioned are legends in their own right, and ADTR seeks that fame just like any other band wants to. Whether or not they get their own star on Hollywood Boulevard and inducted to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is up to history to decide.