REVIEW: All Time Low – ‘Future Hearts’

all time low

Artist: All Time Low
Album: Future Hearts
Genre: Pop Rock
Label: Hopeless Records

It’s 3:51 a.m. At this point, I’ve listened to All Time Low’s Future Hearts at least 7 times continuously, and I still can’t figure out what I want to say about it. I could hop on the bandwagon and gush about how the band’s sixth studio effort is all for the fans. I just have one question: Isn’t that the point of all albums? While I understand where other critics are coming from when they point this out, it seems like a cop out. There’s so much more to this album than being a dedication to the fans.

This album is as much for the critics as it is for the fans. The critics who didn’t think they would be relevant after six albums, and the critics who chastised the band for being too juvenile. But that’s their appeal. That’s why fans keep coming back for more. It’s the serious-toned lyrics about growing up and getting out mixed with the band’s rude-and-crude stage humor that make them All Time Low. Without one, the other doesn’t exist or thrive.

On 2011’s Dirty Work, the Baltimore natives bowed to major label tyrants. On 2012’s Don’t Panic, they proved they hadn’t lost their youthful spunk and still had the ability to crank out a phenomenal punk rock album. On Future Hearts, with the help of John Feldmann, they meld the two together. It’s an ode to the past while looking forward to the future.

The opening tracks, especially “Kids In The Dark” and “Runaway,” fall in line with All Time Low’s signature empowering anthems. However, once the album reaches the halfway point at “Missing You,” it quickly loses its identity. The midpoint track features twanging guitars and a country sound that came as such a surprise I half expected Cassadee Pope to make a cameo. To my disappointment, no such thing happened. The song is quite out of character for All Time Low and is a heavy contender for the most diverse song the band has ever recorded. Lead singer Alex Gaskarth taps into his lower register, shying away from the comfort of his high screeches. It doesn’t take long for the album to get back on track with “Cinderblock Garden,” a punk rock fairytale quite similar to Don’t Panic’s “Somewhere In Neverland.”

Unfortunately, there’s a big question mark next to the collaborations with blink-182’s Mark Hoppus and Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden—the place where a question mark shouldn’t exist. Individually, “Tidal Waves” and “Bail Me Out” are great songs, but in the grand scheme of the album, they seem out of place. If they are removed from the track list, Future Hearts becomes the perfect album and most cohesive All Time Low release to date. It’s not that the songs are terrible. They are in no way bad songs. “Tidal Waves” will go down as the “Remembering Sunday” of Future Hearts, and “Bail Me Out” is one of the catchiest songs All Time Low has ever released. They’re just not compatible with the tone of the rest of the album, and that’s truly a shame.

Regardless of this minor setback in the track listing, All Time Low have crafted another crowd pleaser. It’s not their best collection of songs, but it’s a step in the right direction.

SCORE: 7/10
Review written by Jessica Klinner

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