“This right here is living fucking proof, if you care about what you do with your life, and you do it for the right reasons, absolutely nothing can stop you from getting where you want to be.” Jeremy McKinnon, front man of alternative band A Day To Remember [ADTR] reflects on the difficult release of their latest album, Common Courtesy as Sterling Heights, Michigan, concertgoers scream their approval.
McKinnon and his band mates, Alex Shelnutt, Kevin Skaff, Neil Westfall, and Josh Woodard, have been battling a two-year lawsuit with their record label, Victory Records. Victory claimed that ADTR did not fulfill their contract agreement of releasing five albums with the label. With the case dragging on and fans getting impatient, ADTR decided to instead release Courtesy themselves. According to an article published Oct. 5 in Alternative Press, the presiding judge ruled in favor of ADTR, allowing them to self-release Common Courtesy.
The album has received a lot of love since the digital release Oct. 8th. It displays many trademark elements of classic ADTR records: simplistic lyrics, pop-funk feel, stop-start breakdowns, McKinnon’s unmistakable roar, and a few ballads thrown in. The sound has matured greatly since their first studio release, And Their Name Was Treason, no doubt, but it sticks pretty close to a standard ADTR album. The lack of originality may sway listeners who may have been expecting some brand new work. But, the familiar rough breakdowns combined with some fast-paced singing never fail to impress.
The decision to self-release came with the requirement of a homemade studio. But that gave ADTR the opportunity to really fine-tune their work and have some fun. The song “Dead & Buried” combines those dark beats with an unexpected melodic chorus, and there’s even a bit of beat boxing in “Right Back At It Again.”
The softer ballads like nostalgic “I Remember” and upbeat acoustic jam “I’m Already Gone” definitely reflect the growth that ADTR experienced during the two-year hiatus. Those are a couple tunes that listeners would probably not expect on previous releases. “Sometimes You’re The Hammer, Sometimes You’re The Nail” and pre-released single “Violence (Enough is Enough)” are probably the most musically intricate from Courtesy and allow McKinnon to sing of his recent struggles with his distinct booming voice.
It’s obvious that the band did not intend to change lives with their new release, but it’s a solid album that makes your heart race and your head bob. It’s a great listen whether you’re a new or old follower of the group. But either way, jack up the volume and enjoy the ride.