Pop Punk as a genre and a musical style has undergone a severe devaluation in terms of musical quality in the last decade. Even the bands that popularised it have fallen prey to the generic nature of things. Bands like Simple Plan, Good Charlotte, Sum 41 and Fall Out Boy all took the blue print and ran with it, taking the genre to a new level or popularity. They turned what was once a genre that gave us classic albums such as “Smash” by The Offspring, “Dookie” by Green Day and “Dude Ranch” by Blink 182 into third Wave bands like All Time Low, giving us drinks about girls, partying and not a lot else. Wrapped up in the sickliest sweet melodies that are definitely more pop than punk, the most punk thing about All Time Low is that they have done at least one run on the Warped Tour and even then that is questionable…
“Don’t Panic” is All Time Low‘s fifth album and the follow up to last year’s “Dirty Work,” an album I avoided after not getting on very well with their breakthrough album “Nothing Personal.” With that said, I approached their new release with extreme caution, as I was still reeling from the last time I came in contact with them.
“Don’t Panic” is marginally better than my previous encounters with the band. Have they become better song writers? No. Does their music mean anything in the real world? No, but then does it really have to? I really wanted to hate All Time Low, because I find them to be a soulless band, that is an overproduced, a by-product of the major label system, marketed and fed to the kids who think that Avril Lavigne and Mcfly are edgy, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to pen a catchy as fuck tune.
Yes, it’s all very poppy and overproduced and the band manages to hit every cliché in the book, but still there are some ridiculously huge choruses on this album, on tracks like ‘To Live and Let Go,’ ‘Outlines’ and ‘So Long Soldier’ all have choruses that are the size of skyscrapers that you will be humming for days afterwards, even the Cassadee Pope guesting on ‘Backseat Serenade’ is a delicious slice of pop drenched goodness.
All Time Low may be one of the worst punk bands in history, but they are a pretty serviceable pop act that writes tunes that 13 year old girls find deep and who’s lyrics are obviously all about them. But you know what, the band has a great sense of humour about them and they are clearly happy with the niche they have made for themselves. It’s hard to hate on them too much, and whilst “Don’t Panic” will never set the world on fire, there really are worse albums out there. So, if you like this type of music give it a go as there will be at least a couple of tracks on there that you may like and at least its better than the new Green Day album.