ALL TIME LOW'S DIRTY WORK - ALBUM REVIEW
Pop-punk band All Time Low has released their fourth studio album, Dirty Work, on June 7th. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, this four-piece band has truly proven to the world their capabilities. With numerous sell-out shows on worldwide tours, this band seems to be unstoppable. Dirty Work is All Time Low’s major label debut, released by Interscope Records. On the day of release, the album reached number one on iTunes Top Albums chart. Fans are skeptical of this new release because All Time Low has taken on a slightly new genre of music. Compared to past records, this new release has more of a pop sound. Nevertheless, Dirty Work is filled with quirky lyrics and fun beats.
The first track on Dirty Work is “Do You Want Me (Dead)?” The very first chords in the beginning hint at a pop-filled song. Alex Gaskarth’s vocals sound different as well. It sounds as if his voice was heavily edited with techno-pop. It leads on to the viewer that the song was crafted to fit mainstream radio. This opening song disappointed me and made me crave the pre-major-label-debut All Time Low.
The next song on Dirty Work is the extremely catchy single “I Feel Like Dancin’.” It was the first released single on the new album. It is one of the better tracks on the album. This song is definitely a guilty pleasure. ‘I think some dude just grabbed my junk, and now I know what Ke$ha must be feelin’’ is just a brief example of the random lyrics in this summer anthem. It truly makes you want to get up and dance, which is exactly what Gaskarth is singing about.
The next song on the album is “Forget About It.” It is a typical pop song with a storyline. There are clear similarities between this track and tracks off of their previous album Nothing Personal. There is a very basic musical backing that does not impress. Around the two-minute mark, Gaskarth briefly talks. You will have to listen to the song to find out what he says. It was completely unnecessary. Following “Forget About It” on Dirty Work is “Guts.” This song is very similar to songs off of their second album So Wrong, It’s Right. Both the lyrics and music are dull and unimpressive. The female vocalist in the song, Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds, appears to sing pretty harmonies. This song threw out my hopes of All Time Low having a well-rounded, original album. It just seems as if the band had lost inspiration and came up with a half- spirited song.
“Time Bomb” is the next track on Dirty Work. This song does not sound like anything previously released from All Time Low. It has honest, clear, and strong vocals. It is one of the better tracks on the album. This track has a mature, professional feel to it. It is impressive and brought back my inner hope in the band. The following track, “Just The Way I’m Not.” exemplifies All Time Low’s extreme pop sound. Not to be extremely harsh, but this song reminded me of a song that would be by Justin Bieber. All of the ‘whoa oh’s’ and other annoying repeated noises are unoriginal. This song sounds like it was made in a factory and was directly shipped to mainstream radio. I admit, the beat is catchy, but it still does not make up for the disappointing Bieber noise.
The next song on Dirty Work is “Under a Paper Moon.” It is a sweet, comforting song that makes you feel as if you are Gaskarth’s true love. His vocals are persuasive and calming. Even though the chorus is weak, it is overwhelmingly refreshing because it sounds like the old All Time Low that fans love. It is original and to the point. The majority of the song has a rough edged feeling. “Under a Paper Moon” features a brief solo backed by simple piano chords, which is a new sound for All Time Low. This is the most impressive track on the album.
“Return The Favor” is the next track on Dirty Work. It features a beautiful Spanish guitar in the opening seconds. Gaskarth’s vocals are clear and innocent. The overall melody reminds me of a Panic! at the Disco song. I absolutely love the synth, acoustic, and abstract drums used. This song definitely has character and spunk. This track shows off Gaskarth’s underappreciated voice. I love this deep, twisted, and somewhat cruel ‘love’ song. It ends with a fabulous piano closing. The following song on Dirty Work is “No Idea.” This song gives a great contrast to the dramatic pop on the majority of the rest of the album. It has a slower beat and features strings and a beautiful guitar backing. It is a feel-good song, and very refreshing in comparison to the energetic tracks on the rest of the album. Despite the unique music, the overall song is not exciting.
The next track, “ A Daydream Away,” is an alluring, lovely song. Gaskarth’s vocals feel right at home for me. This song makes me feel reminiscent of good times related to their past songs “Remembering Sunday” and “Therapy” off of their previous albums. The lyrics are beautiful backed by steady acoustic. It truly brings a feeling of nostalgia. It’s a great song to relate lazy summer nights alongside a true love to. It is clear All Time Low desired to create a contrast of songs on this album. This song exemplifies that. It is a solid, respectable song.
“That Girl” is the following song on Dirty Work. It is not very impressive. The lyrics are dull and the instrumentals are even more boring. The continual repeating of ‘that girl’ is slightly annoying. This song seems to be a product of the ‘new’ All Time Low. With its repeated not-radio-friendly language, I am not sure what this song was recorded for. It is not musically or lyrically impressive, and it cannot by played on radio. I understand All Time Low always tries to incorporate inappropriate or silly topics into their songs, but unfortunately this song is too boring to fully comprehend or appreciate.
The next song on the album is “Heroes.” This is another dominant pop song on Dirty Work. This song makes it seem like All Time Low has lost all of their punk roots and converted to pure pop. The song has a catchy melody and a solid ending. It is a perfect summertime anthem. A solid multi-person chant at the end of the song is a great conclusion. But, this song is still weak. I wish All Time Low added a little more spunk to it to be a little more interesting. There are four bonus tracks for Dirty Work: “Get on Your Knees and Tell Me You Love Me,” “My Only One,” “Merry Christmas, Kiss My Ass,” and “Bad Enough For You.” Check them out! They each have their own special quirk to them.
All Time Low’s Dirty Work gives me mixed feelings. It is as if the quartet did not give this album their all in the process of recording it. If Gaskarth’s vocals were left alone and not heavily edited, this album might have been more pleasurable. Some tracks are promising, but the majority of them seem lifeless. If this is the direction All Time Low is heading in, I sincerely hope they turn around and go back to their roots. Hopefully they can bring back their signature spunk to future work.
Recommended Tracks: "I Feel Like Dancin'" "Time Bomb" "A Daydream Away"