With the recent release of “Degenerates,” the newest single from A Day To Remember, many fans of the metalcore/pop punk band from Ocala, Florida, are on edge for multiple reasons. The first worrisome change is the band’s move to the record label Fueled By Ramen, which fans fear may drastically change the band’s sound. Another fear stems from “Degenerates” itself, a relatively “soft” song from the band. While I found myself a little surprised by ADTR recording with Fueled By Ramen and a little disappointed by the pop punk-centric single, I’m confident that the seasoned musicians in ADTR know exactly what they’re doing.
While “Degenerates” has somewhat of a more upbeat sound than much of ADTR’s past work, it features a trope that is common in the band’s repertoire – friendship.
“My friends are degenerates / But I’d never change them / Liars, cheats and hypocrites / Not the type for savin’,” vocalist Jeremy McKinnon sings, starting the song with its anthemic chorus.
Another important feature of ADTR’s “brand” is the band’s ability to write lyrics that are oddly inspirational for a band lumped together with “emo” bands, but not kitschy.
“Like a moment of truth that you try to emit / Consequences retained for the judgment you give / When you finally find you’re the degenerate / It’s gonna hit like a brick,” McKinnon sings before the breakdown two-thirds of the way into the song – a common feature of metalcore that ADTR is still, arguably, masterful at doing.
In defense of my beloved ADTR, I will say this: they’ve been in the game for 16 years. Most of them are married or engaged. They’re not angsty teenagers and young adults anymore, and neither are many of their longtime listeners. They’re growing up, and their music has been evolving in time with that growth for several years. They’re still ADTR, with high-quality production, quotable lyrics and infectious breakdowns, but they’ve matured. I’m sure that fans will stick by them this time, because fans have expressed concerns about the band’s sound for years now, and they always come back.
Many people said that ADTR “sold out” with their 2010 album “What Separates Me From You.” Meanwhile, it features one of the band’s most popular songs, “All I Want.”
Some people didn’t like their 2013 release, “Common Courtesy.” Many people now say that it’s one of their best albums.
“Bad Vibrations,” ADTR’s 2016 album, received lukewarm reviews from some fans, claiming that the band was not as heavy as they used to be.
“Degenerates” has many people worried that ADTR has lost its eclectic mix of metalcore and pop punk, moving toward “generic” pop rock. While associating them with the Fueled By Ramen brand will be difficult to get used to, November 15, when their new album, “You’re Welcome” bursts onto the scene, it will certainly be…
…a day to remember.