Review : All Time Low - Dirty Work
SputnikmusicIt says a lot that in a year of unlikely and historic unions – AOL and Huffington Post, Her Majesty the Queen and Ireland, Osama Bin Laden and a bullet in his head – the most surprising and gruesome was an ex-Playboy mannequin’s whirlwind romance with All Time Low guitarist Jack Barakat. Less surprisingly, the relationship didn’t last, however Bakarat was nonetheless able to find time away from Hugh Hefner’s sloppy, sloppy seconds to record a fourth All Time Low record, Dirty Work.
In many ways, Holly Madison is Dirty Work incarnate. If the numerous and well-publicised accounts of Hugh Hefner’s bedroom preferences are to be believed, then Dirty Work is an understatement, but there are other similarities. Much like the average modern-day Playmate, Dirty Work is essentially a manufacturer’s dummy: air-brushed; soulless; custom-built to exacting specifications; aesthetically-pleasing but ultimately empty and devoid of any real distinctive character. At the risk of butchering a metaphor, All Time Low are New Found Glory with grotesque, misaligned implants.
Which is all very unfair on poor Holly Madison. By all accounts (i.e. repeated viewings of The Girls Next Door), she’s a lovely person who inexplicably found herself in love with what can only be described as a very rich iguana. Similarly, there was a time when All Time Low were a genuinely exciting young pop punk band; when the songs were dynamic and Alex Gaskarth’s vocals were merely double-tracked rather than layered and autotuned to fuck.
Dirty Work offers brief glimpses into the vibrant power pop act that the Maryland four-piece used to be. Lead single ‘I Feel Like Dancin’’ recalls those mid-nineties pop-rock acts who made the first tentative steps into hip hop, falling halfway between Third Eye Blind and Sugar Ray with funky guitar riffs, half-rapped vocals and turntable scratching. Even the chorus lyric – “It doesn’t matter where / I don’t care if people stare / I feel like dancin’ tonight” – seems a fairly brave statement for a man to make in the twenty-first century....full text
AbsolutepunkTime is the essence of life, and with time comes changes and phases. With time we grow, develop and mature as beings; some things we have come to love and admire fall by the wayside and we discover new entities to fill the voids. This is what a lot of All Time Low fans have witnessed - a band that that has grown over time into the monstrous band they are today. After two albums and a classic EP, the band decided to take a different route with their last album, Nothing Personal, which was frowned upon by the overwhelming majority for its glossed over pop sound. Now, it’s no secret that the guys have been aiming for a wider audience after taking the scene by storm. Nothing Personal was the first step in that direction but failed to reach the ultimate goal. Two years later and the band’s back to try again with Dirty Work.
On Dirty Work, the boys lost the gloss and tongue in cheek lyrics and took their new sound to a whole new level. This isn’t to say that there aren't some shortcomings, but the development on their sound is blatantly apparent. Dirty Work starts with “Do You Want Me (Dead?),” one of the stand out tracks on the album. Combining the best elements of Nothing Personal and So Wrong It’s Right, it creates a fire-starter of another kind. Next is the controversial track “I Feel Like Dancin’.” Written with legendary alt-rocker Rivers Cuomo, the song has no real redeeming qualities other than that it’s a fun song, which is what All Time Low have been about for quite some time now. Everyone is up in arms over its joking nature, but when Weezer did the same thing on their second to last album, Raditude, people were fine with pulling the “substance-less and fun" card.
The next 5 songs finds the band hitting a hot streak with radio ready pop ear candy. “Forget About It” contains one of the catchiest choruses on the whole record, but is slightly brought down by Alex Gaskarth’s banter in the middle of the song. The band’s finest work in some time surfaces in “Guts,” which has a Third Eye Blind-esque riff, guest vocals from Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds and Gaskarth’s best lyrics since So Wrong, It’s Right. This shows the potential that the band has to excel in the radio world and still maintain their true colors that everyone has revered over the years. Staying on pace, “Time-Bomb” follows in the same vein but channels a Jimmy Eat World vibe, showing that the band took some chances with Dirty Work to expand their arsenal of sounds for better and worse. “Just The Way I’m Not” sounds as if it was pulled from Def Leppard’s greatest hits, and couldn’t be any sweeter. Kids across the world will be shouting the chorus at the top of their lungs at every show and in their shower. The tempo picks up with “Under A Paper Moon” and quickly drops off with “Return The Favor,” which is where the band took some more drastic chances by adding piano and strings - not easy to swallow at first. It comes across as a hybrid of All Time Low and Panic! At The Disco, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it just doesn’t seem to fit in. “No Idea” and “A Daydream Away” seem to get lost in the mix, not packing a whole lot of punch and lacking in catchy hooks and choruses....full text
CommonrevoltFlash back to late September of 2007. Summer is in it’s last moments, the days of rolling down your car windows and blaring your favorite feel-good tunes are drawing to a close. In the midst of this, All Time Low’s So Wrong, It’s Right is released. Pop-punk fans everywhere rejoice, critics and fans alike. The album’s biggest track, “Dear Maria”, would go on to go gold in singles sales (500,000+) without any radio airplay of any kind. The album would become a staple in their fans and listeners music collection, all while launching All Time Low into the future spotlight of the music scene they currently exist (and dominate) in. Hundreds of sold out shows all across the world, thousands and thousands of CD units sold, interviews, MTV appearances, another album, Nothing Personal, and time in the studio later, Dirty Work is finally on the release horizon.
In a world where where fans freak out whenever All Time Low’s frontman, Alex Gaskarth, gets a haircut, the quality of their music can often go overlooked by many. Dirty Work has left many people in anticipation for months, with the album originally having a scheduled release for January 2011, pushed back to March 2011, is finally set for June 7th, 2011. Fans have been worried that the band would be heading into the mainstream spectrum of music, but I’m here to tell you the band may be taking a new direction on this album, but that’s definitely not the case on Dirty Work. ...full text
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