Music Mondays: Artist Spotlight – All Time Low
Finding a band or artist that constantly puts out songs you love and never tire of is not the easiest task. Sure, there are tons of bands that I do not get tired of listening to, but even some of my favorite bands produce songs, or even an album, I am not able to get into. However, All Time Low (ATL) is a completely different case, as I have every song and every album/EP by them on my iPod. They have put out six records and I can tell you I listen to every single one, without skipping a song.
Some background on them: they are a pop punk band from Baltimore, Maryland that formed in 2003. Their members include vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Alex Gaskarth, lead guitarist and backing vocalist, Jack Barakat, bassist and backing vocalist, Zack Merrik and drummer, Rian Dawson. These four men each have such talent that they bring to the band and that shows through the evolution of their records.
Put Up or Shut Up
In their first EP put out through Hopeless Records, this is a record I recently got into since I never thought about going back to their earlier stuff, but I am glad I did. Even when they were starting out, they had songwriting talent. Sure they have some cliché pop punk lyrics, but there are still ones that are creative, especially for a young band. Some of my favorite songs are, “This Girl’s a Straight Up Hustler,” “Coffee Shop Soundtrack,” and “Running With Lions.”
“Should I write myself out of the history books/And mark a place in time for every chance you took?” – Coffee Shop Soundtrack
“I’ve never told a lie and that makes me a liar/I’ve never made a bet but we gamble with desire/I’ve never lit a match with intent to start a fire/But recently the flames have been getting out of control.”-Jasey Rae
So Wrong, It’s Right
This is their first full length album and it is the definition of a fun, summer song filled record. Songs like “The Beach,” “Let it Roll,” “Vegas,” and lead single “Dear Maria, Count Me In” are all songs that will get you off your feet and dancing around in no time. ATL even knows how to slow things down with “Six Feet Under the Stars” and “Remembering Sunday,” two huge fan favorites.
“I don’t mean to be a bother, but have you seen this girl?/She’s been running through my dreams and it’s driving me crazy it seems/I’m going to ask her to marry me.” – Remembering Sunday
“I said, ‘before you ask which way to go, remember where you’ve been.” – Stay Awake (Dreams Only Last for a Night)
If you ask many ATL fans what their favorite record is, they most likely will say Nothing Personal. The songs on this record are so timeless and will never grow old. Every track is a fun, dance-worthy song similar to their previous album. However, they managed to make more fun loving songs this time around, with the exclusion of “Therapy,” the lone slower-tempo song. My personal favorites include, “Lost in Stereo,” “Hello Brooklyn,” “Weightless” and “Stella.”
“She works for the weekends/Mixtape of her favorite bands/Tearin’ up the radio/Lost in the stereo’s sound.” – Lost in Stereo
“I’m gonna break down these walls, I built around myself/I wanna fall so in love, with you, and no one else/Could ever mean half as much, to me as you do now.” – Walls
Dirty Work was their first full-length piece, which they did not release through Hopeless, but Interscope Records. Not many fans of the band love this record, since it is more on the pop side of the genre. That put me off from listening to it for a good amount of time, however; I finally gave in. It’s not bad at all. Sure, it’s not the punk side of the band that I know and love, but it was not bad by any means. It’s fun, catchy and more songs have more simple lyrics, but there is a fair share of skilled songwriting that no one can take away. My favorites include, “Time Bomb,” “Just the Way I’m Not,” and “Do You Want Me (Dead)?”
“I’ll build up a house, I’ll build up an army/Of cellophane soldiers, cheap origami/To take back a piece of whatever’s left/Of that little box that beats in your chest.” – Under a Paper Moon
“It doesn’t matter when we get back to doing what we do/’Cause right now could last forever just as long as I’m with you.” – A Daydream Away
Moving back to Hopeless, ATL found their roots and started creating songs that felt like it was truly them once again. Every song on this record feels like ATL’s older sound combined with a polished new feel. You could tell they were back and better than ever. “Somewhere in Neverland,” “Outlines,” “Paint You Wings,” and “For Baltimore” are just some of the best jams.
“When being young starts getting old/A new pace saves face or so I’m told/Be the new kid, on an old block/A chalk outline on a playground blacktop.” – Outlines
“If there’s something left to be learned then my time is running/Why should I waste it all wasted on you?/I shouldn’t be trusted to live and let go.” – To Live and Let Go
As their most recent release, and one of my favorites, I simply adore the hard-hitting rock songs they put on this record (“Dancing With a Wolf” and “Runaways”) and the songs that remind me of their previous albums (“Cinderblock Garden” and “Kids in the Dark”). This record is diverse in their sound but it still mixes their older work with the same polished feel that is on Don’t Panic. This will continue to be a favorite record of mine for some time to come.
“Take all the ghosts and all those skeletons you hide/Bury them deep beneath the ground/Let them rest ‘cause you weren’t meant to bear that burden/Look at all the roses in your garden.” – Cinderblock Garden
“Waking up just to catch yourself dreaming again/But you won’t think outside the lines that hold you in/You say it’s easier to hide yourself away/To shut the windows, lock the doors and disappear.” – Old Scars/Future Hearts
ATL never fails to disappoint with their music, and from their instrumentals to their songwriting, this band is doing everything right. I hope you end up loving them as much as I do since they are one of the most talented artists that I have ever heard.
Allison Wulfhorst is a freshman majoring in Journalism. To contact her, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter: @AlliWulfhorst.