Review – All Time Low Awaken Old Sound on “Wake Up, Sunshine”

At a time of so much uncertainty, new music that is upbeat and happy is exactly what the world needs, and All Time Low delivered, releasing their eighth album “Wake Up, Sunshine” on April 3. 

After their last album “Last Young Renegade” had them exploring more of a pop sound, fans were slightly concerned for the future of the band and if they would completely abandon their pop punk roots. The opening song of the album, “Some Kind of Disaster,” was a great choice for the first single, as it combines their older, traditional sound with some of the pop influences from the last era. It was a perfect example to show that they took what they learned and liked from “Last Young Renegade” and blended it with their typical sound. For me, this album is the perfect example of a band experimenting with genre while still staying true to their roots.

The rest of “Wake Up, Sunshine” also followed this same pattern. Almost every song on this album was the typical, upbeat pop punk sound found on All Time Low’s earlier albums, while also showing that they were able to change it up a little. There’s a few songs that, upon hearing for the first time, made me think that they were on one of their older albums – “Safe” felt like it was right off of their second album “Nothing Personal,” and “Clumsy” drew a lot of similarities to the song “Time Bomb” off of “Dirty Work.” If I was just listening to these songs without knowing that they were on their new album, I would’ve thought that they were unreleased songs meant for those earlier albums. 

The biggest standout song for me was “Monsters,” which features rapper blackbear. When I saw that there was a rap feature, I was really curious to hear this song, as I honestly had no idea what to expect. What I didn’t expect was as soon as it got to the chorus the first time I listened to it, the only thought I had was, “I think I want to listen to this song and only this song on repeat until the day I die.” That’s how good it is. The verse by blackbear fit really well with the overall vibe of the song, and it reminded me a lot of Big Sean’s feature on “The Mighty Fall” by Fall Out Boy. “Monsters,” obviously, is my favorite on “Wake Up, Sunshine” by far.

Though there are plenty of incredible songs on this album, there’s definitely some weaker ones.

 “Favorite Place” was overall a solid song, but The Band CAMINO feature didn’t really fit well with the song; the different vocalist taking over one of the verses was kind of jarring and wasn’t a good transition. 

“Basement Noise” is by far the worst song on the album. The lyrics are really good, referencing and reflecting on All Time Low’s past, starting out as high schoolers in the basement of one of their parents’ houses, but the instrumentals just do not match. The chorus is arguably the worst chorus All Time Low has ever written; the rest of the album is so complex, both lyrically and instrumentally, so the chorus just being “They’re just stupid boys making basement noise in the basement, noise in the basement” repeated over and over again was a letdown. However, as someone who lives somewhat close to Baltimore, I definitely appreciated the shoutout to Interstate 83 (which I travel quite frequently) in the lyric “Wanna ditch the predictability, hit the road, 18 on 83.” Though lacking in almost every area, the song was the best choice for the closer on “Wake Up, Sunshine,” with its slower and more reflective feel.

The overall vibe of the album is dancing with your friends or driving with the windows down in the summer, which is the perfect set-up for their live debut of these new songs when they perform on Sad Summer Festival later this year. There’s a lot of songs, like “Melancholy Kaleidoscope” and “Wake Up, Sunshine,” that I can just feel will be so much fun to hear live at that festival. 

I love every All Time Low album, but “Dirty Work” has been my favorite since I started listening to them, and I never thought that would change. However, I think it’s safe to say that it has been dethroned by “Wake Up, Sunshine.”

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