Ocala’s A Day To Remember have finally released their fifth album. Steeped in controversy, ‘Common Courtesy’ has more hidden meanings than a conversation with David Cameron, but one thing is for sure: it’s a fucking banger. It’s always ugly when a band gets into a legal battle, not least with their record label. ADTR have been happily married with Victory Records since 2007’s ‘For Those Who Have Heart’, but a horrendously tedious argument has put both parties in court in the last year.
The ruling has allowed ADTR to self-release ‘Common Courtesy’, but with possible changes as to who gets profits. Also, somewhat bizarrely, ADTR are supposed to release at least two more albums on Victory Records. It all sounds like a very messy divorce, and this certainly won’t be the last we hear of it.
Boring legal mumbo jumbo aside, let’s talk about the music. Fans have been sat at the mailbox nervously edging themselves for the past three years in anticipation of the release of ‘Common Courtesy’, and after one blast of this deal, you’ve gotta believe they’ll be splurging all over the place after just one listen. ‘Common Courtesy’ is a continuation of what makes ADTR so great – singalong pop-punk choruses, smashing breakdowns, and an atmosphere that dares you to press repeat.
The ball is set rolling even with track one; ‘City Of Ocala’ is a classic ADTR song along the lines of ‘All Signs Point To Lauderdale’ with its pseudo-townproudness. Only a set amount of people live in Ocala, Florida, but when Jeremy McKinnon is singing his heart out you’d believe the entire planet is behind him. It’s all topped off with a breakdown that equates to every resident floor stomping at the same time.
The resilience and in-your-face attitude is always at the forefront throughout ‘Common Courtesy’. There’s a clear “fuck you” message that surely relates to the record deal shenanigans on ‘Sometimes You’re The Hammer, Sometimes You’re The Nail’ and ‘Best Of Me’. Everything is slightly heavier, not least the intro to ‘Dead & Buried’, a tune that hits you between the eyes with its weight like a freight train. ‘Violence’ is the only taster we’ve had of 2013-era ADTR before the album release, and it was slightly underwhelming. It sits at track 7 though and is easily bettered by other tracks aboard.
Fans of ‘If It Means A Lot To You’ and ADTR‘s tender acoustic side have a new chapter as well in ‘I’m Already Gone’, sat confusingly in the middle of the album but serving as a midway rest point – and you’ll sure as hell need it if you want to listen to this monster 13-track voyage in one sitting. You can easily ignore all the bullshit that has plagued ADTR recently and just take the music at face value, but if you delve deeper it’s obvious there’s a lot of tension surrounding this band in their tenth year in existence.
ADTR deserve to be sitting on top of the world. They’re a band that kick most bands’ asses in the fun department whilst still packing a formidable punch. ADTR needed to make this album count, every pop-punk fan on the globe has been hoping that they’ll write something that will be truly excellent. McKinnon has confessed that it’s make-or-break time, with this release possibly destroying their career. From the outside, that may well be the case, but take one listen to ‘Common Courtesy’ and it’s obvious that ADTR have stepped their game up to the highest level. It’s a classic case of fighting The Man, and this time the little guy may finally have won.
Written by MG Savage (@MGsavagewriter)