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Thursday Music Review: All Time Low, Dirty Work

Posted by Regina DeSantis on July 14, 2011 at 9:00 AM


The pop-punk group’s album was intended to be released in March of this year, but instead was released on June 6, 2011, to mixed reviews from critics and fans alike. “Dirty Work” is All Time Low’s first studio album, released with Interscope Records. Praised for emotion and criticized for potential nebulous direction, All Time Low continues to prove that, to quote Entertainment Weekly, one can “grow up and still act like a kid.”


The first single from the album is “I Feel Like Dancing,” which was released on April 5, 2011. Alex Gaskarth “sing-talks” over a synth-heavy guitar (a new addition to pop-punk) into a wickedly catchy hook, but I am not sure how I feel about the country twang of the guitar in the chorus itself; its “country” evocation doesn’t seem to fit with the otherwise pure pop-punk sound. Following Ke$ha’s lead with “sing-talking,” the boys discuss the $leaze with the line “I think some guy just grabbed my junk/now I know how Ke$ha must be feeling,” over basic drums and distorted guitar. The video itself satirizes the music industry and the nasty habit for music videos to have nothing to do with the song’s subject matter – it’s worth a view.


“Forget About It,” with its boyishly breathy sing-talk flowing into louder, high-pitched [almost] screams, follows the more classic pop-punk manual to songwriting, right down to its thrashing guitars, crashing drums, and tambourine to lighten the mood. A prevalent “whoa-oh,” sound, a talking interlude with a subsequent pause, and a harmonic “background” repetition of the lyrics at the end of the song are all quintessential components to pop-punk; an homage to the band’s pop punk roots, but on a slightly more serious note, referring to a relationship so toxic, the speaker has feelings of self-loathing. The release date is August 15.


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Cheekily named “Do You Want Me (Dead)” begins with a simple guitar riff and a synth guitar and segues into Gaskarth’s boyish vocals. Intercut with more classic pop-punk elements – a steady beat and then musical breakdown – is the question of “do you want me or do want me dead?” The vocals switch from a whisper on a mic, a sing/scream, and harmonic repetition again, but the melody is a bit different from standard pop-punk, with added synth, studio-mixed sounds, and sounds otherwise not typically heard, such as heavy metal guitar slides and retro organ.


All Time Low may fall into the category of permanent angsty teenagers due to their pop-punk roots, but the boys are trying, experimenting, and growing up, whether they like it or not. This album isn’t their first, but the influence of a major studio’s backing is very clear in its production and execution.

Categories: Entertainment: Musique

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2 Comments

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Reply Marc Azada
9:22 AM on October 27, 2011 
All Time Low is definitely one of the best bands that debuted this year. All of their songs are amazing. I'm sure they will be successful someday.