Friday, July 17, 2009

First Listen: All Time Low - "Nothing Personal"

A First Listen review of All Time Low’s new album, Nothing Personal, released July 7, 2009.

Lanie: Having never listened to ATL makes me a blank slate yay
Julieann: Yeah, well, I hate Alex Gaskarth! Let me get that off my chest.

Track One: Weightless

All Time Low played this song on the Believers Never Die, Part Deux, tour when they were opening for Fall Out Boy. When I heard it initially, I thought it wasn’t a bad song. Unfortunately, since it was at the show and I’d never heard it before, I couldn’t understand the words. I don’t like it better now that I can. With this listen, I can say that I enjoyed the chuggy guitar bits that were between the choruses and the verses and at the end of the song, but I wish there was more of that part in the song. It kind of sounds like they stole it from Fall Out Boy, though. – JulieAnn

My first impression was that this band really admires Simple Plan which would be all well and good except that Simple Plan is some of the most generic pop-"punk" out there. I noticed a good drum bit in the middle and only focused on the drums from there out. I couldn't pick out anything noteworthy about this song in any way. – Lanie

After this point, there was a break of approximately ten minutes where we replayed the end of “Weightless” over and over while we tried to ascertain which Fall Out Boy song it was that it sounded exactly like. The conclusion? The end of “Weightless” is the exact same as the ending as Fall Out Boy’s “Thriller.” Only without Jay-Z. So it’s obviously a step down.

Track Two: Break Your Little Heart

Julieann: I wish I were listening to We The Kings.
Lanie: Sk8er Boi!

I liked the chorus of this song through until the point where he said the words “break your little heart” with no backing music. I’m not into the cliché lyrics with no support. I think the problem with All Time Low is that they’re nothing special. Like, if I heard this on the radio, I’d probably stop and listen, but I wouldn’t otherwise seek it out. Also, I feel like it ended rather abruptly. – JulieAnn

Remember the first time you ever heard Sk8er Boi? This was exactly like that. That's all I've got. Except for the part where I was sad that I actually found myself reminiscing about Sk8er Boi. And then the part just now where I had to type it. – Lanie

Track Three: Damned If I Do Ya (Damned If I Don’t)

I have to admit that I listened to this song through the first chorus when the single first dropped. But I couldn’t manage to make myself go any farther than that. Parts of the track sounds like Butch Walker, and other parts of the track sound like Bowling For Soup. Also, for some reason, Gaskarth gets a country twang in some parts. I don’t understand why – They’re from Baltimore. Baltimore’s the ghetto, not the country. (Err, sorry if you dig Baltimore, but I was there a couple weeks ago – it was seedy. Deal.) Actually, I was kind of into the track until they said the actual title in the chorus. That was a turn off for me, but I feel like the track could actually grow on me if I gave it a few listens. – JulieAnn

This was the first track that actually sounded like something and showed a little character. It had a build to it. It started somewhere, it grew bigger, it had some levels to it. I'd give this track another couple of listens. I wouldn't be surprised if Butch Walker had a hand in writing this one, as well as producing the track. – Lanie

Track Four: Lost In Stereo

The beginning of this song sounded so much like “Everything is Alright” by Motion City Soundtrack that I actually started singing it. Does this band have their own sound at all? I think I could be more into them if more of their stuff sounded like this track, though. I think this one’s a keeper. – JulieAnn

Not knowing the Motion City Soundtrack song (or band) at all, I thought this was the first track that had an original sound to it. Like "oh, this is what this band's about" but having never heard any of their other stuff apart from the three previous songs, I guess I shouldn't say that. It had a cool sound to it. I'd definitely give this one another listen. – Lanie

Track Five: Stella

I yelled “STELLAAAAAAAAA” and then we had a debate over whether or not that was from A Streetcar Named Desire. (It is, and Brando rips his shirt. There’s a Simpsons version too, with Marge as Stella.) Then I heard the chorus, about how he only loves her when he’s drunk or something like that, and I thought, damn, is this supposed to be a shout-out to Streetcar? Anyway, the entire sentiment of this song is so typical for this band. They put off this sleazeball persona, including telling (mostly teenage) girls to take off their tops/show their genitals. They’re everything Saint Gerard Way hates in a band. – JulieAnn

This song made me roll my eyes. – Lanie

Track Six: Sick Little Games

The beginning line reminded me of the beginning line of Jack’s Mannequin’s “Kill The Messenger,” which is fine, because that’s what I wake up to every morning. I like the chorus, but the weird bridge thing needs to go. I also really hate the “wooOOOooOOO” thing in the background. – JulieAnn

Lanie: you know that's going to be the one stuck in your head though
Lanie: it's already repeating in mine

That's really all I have to say about that. No, that's not true. I just wish I had understood this song at all. When people whine about celebrity, it's hard to sympathize but there is a way to do it. You can satirize it, turn it up and laugh about it...there are just so many other ways to make the topic relevant to people who will never experience that. "Wah wah wah, I'm going to run away from my terrible problems of everyone loving me and having too much money! Don't look at me! But don't stop giving me your money..." – Lanie

Track Seven: Hello Brooklyn

I actually really liked this song. I mean, it’s not going to take over from the “get drunk let’s get fucked up” song [“California” by Hollywood Undead] as my party song, but it could hang around on my iPod and I’d probably listen if it came up in the shuffle. You know, in the afternoon, on a Friday. It kind of gives me the same vibe as The Ataris’ So Long Astoria (err, while being a much inferior song/album), where I want to drive around in late September and October with my windows down. I really didn’t like the city name-drop thing. I mean, I don’t mind a little city drop, but this was just way too much. Too much travel! Also he said “’Frisco”, so major point deduction on that one. – JulieAnn

Obvious city pandering! Other than that and the cheesy "party at the end of the world" line, there's not a lot to dislike about this track. It's just there in the way that a lot of the other tracks were just there, but it's not obnoxious about it. I could definitely stand listening to this another couple of times. – Lanie

Track Eight: Walls

Why do all of All Time Low’s songs sound like something else? I didn’t like the verse to this, and I liked the chorus right until I figured out that it kind of sounded like “Check Yes Juliet” by We The Kings, which I’ve already stated I’d rather be listening to. – JulieAnn

JulieAnn: i told you i'd rather be listening to... he just said "i was young and horny"
Lanie: NO WAY.
JulieAnn: he did. did you hear it?
JulieAnn: you know what the problem is? we're too old for bands that need to use the lyric "i was young and horny"

Everything I like about this band seems to come from outside influences, I swear. I did enjoy the chorus but the above exchange just made me laugh. – Lanie

Track Nine: Too Much

It was just Too Much to hope that this would be a Spice Girls cover. Unfortunately, it’s not the Spice Girls, and it sounds like they wish they were The Secret Handshake, who do this sort of electronic dance-pop, and do it much better. The song suffers from a serious lack of lyrics. I know it’s called “Too Much” but repeating “Too Much” too much makes me want to stab you in the face (too much). – JulieAnn

Lanie: this is sad that I wish I was listening to the spice girls.
JulieAnn: i wish i was listening to the secret handshake. ilu, luis dubuc

I spent half this song playing bits of the Spice Girl's song of the same name in little blurbs at Julie. Therefore, I feel like it would be unfair to try to pretend I have any kind of opinion about this song. – Lanie

Lanie: I'm so glad that's over so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much so much
JulieAnn: fuck you.
JulieAnn: i almost spit out my ice cream

Track Ten: Keep The Change, You Filthy Animal

Lanie: is the next song "angels with dirty faces?"
JulieAnn: you're laughing, but that's really the title of this song

I told Lanie that the only thing I could think of after seeing the title of this song was Macaulay Culkin. Also, like my friend Rat said he was once, they are just one long pop culture reference. Also I’m not sure what the song has to do with the title. That’s disappointing. At least with Schism! At the Disco use lines from movies as song titles, they make them relate. I could only understand every other word, and after Lanie gave me the lyrics, I was like ugh, now I wish I couldn’t. I am too far removed from high school to relate to this song at all. I was unamused. – JulieAnn

We spent half this song trying to figure out what this guy was talking about. Who was talking about him behind his back? And to whom? It was all some twisted tale that I'm not sure made sense. I can't remember liking it or hating it, so I'm going to assume that it was generic. – Lanie

Track Eleven: A Party Song (The Walk of Shame)

The very beginning of this song sounds like the one Movielife song that I like, but only the opening guitar riff. [Note: that particular song is “Jamestown,” which I only remembered after a lot of thought.] I feel like they’ve already done the “ohOH” thing once on this CD, but maybe I’m mistaken. Also he uses the line “dark side of the dance floor” which makes me laugh and I can’t take them any kind of seriously as musicians at all. Although, I am a little impressed that he’s actually the one who seems to be taking the walk of shame. I think the little girls that love this band can’t see past how cute Alex Gaskarth and Jack Barakat are to how completely crap these lyrics are. – JulieAnn

I was over this album at this point, looking up the lyrics online and reading them. The music was similar to everything else we'd already heard. – Lanie

Track Twelve: Therapy

One of the first lines in this song said something about “tongue like a nightmare” and I was done. The entire song sounds kind of reminiscent of Green Day’s slower stuff, say from American Idiot or 21st Century Breakdown. The very sort of monotone verses with the great big high notes in the chorus which, incidentally, Alex Gaskarth can’t actually hit. Tough for him, really. – JulieAnn

Yeah, this reminded me of a lot of when punk musicians try to play slow songs. I didn't love it. – Lanie

[Phantom Planet’s “California” starts playing.]
JulieAnn: lmfao THAT WAS NOT A COVER i went out of the "nothing personal" search [on iTunes]

Final Thoughts

I could probably enjoy a couple of tracks off this album, but on the whole I like this CD a lot less than the first one, because there wasn’t a single track on this disc that I absolutely loved. Musically, it’s probably a better album than So Wrong, It’s Right, but there’s nothing that really captures me. Although, I can say I’ll probably give it another listen, most likely in the car, which So Wrong, It’s Right didn’t get. (Except for “Remembering Sunday,” which I listen to a lot.) I feel like it will be better in the car than in my living room while I’m sitting at the computer. On the whole, though, it’s forgettable, and suffers from a lack of Juliet Simms. But, uh, Nothing Personal. – JulieAnn

I've never listened to these guys before so I wasn't sure what I'd be in for. It turns out, I wasn't in for a whole lot. Before abandoning the album, I'd listen to it another couple of times to see if anything caught hold but I can only call it decent. Hopefully, these guys can blame it on the sophmore slump, when they look back. It doesn't make me want to immediately go out and buy their first to see if it was better but it wouldn't make me run screaming if they put out a third. – Lanie

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