It's here. We've listened to it. A lot. Now here are some words about it.
About six months ago, when A Day To Remember were kicking off the Right Back At It Again tour, their resident photographer Adam Elmakias popped into the RS offices to catch up. Back then, ‘Common Courtesy’ was still very much in legal limbo, and his words, as the band put to him were, “You’re photographing the end of our band.” At that point, the band themselves genuinely seemed to think that ‘Common Courtesy’ would never see the light of day.
Fast-forward six months, and on October 08, 2013, ‘Common Courtesy’ hit inboxes across the globe (at precisely 5.37am if you want to be picky). After a few listens, there could be no clearer message than this: A Day To Remember are anything but done.
Kicking off with a skate punk riff that breaks into Jeremy McKinnon’s vitriolic ‘Fuck Yeah!’ like a demon risen from slumber, ‘City Of Ocala’ arrives as if the last three years never happened. A pretty cut-and-dry homage to their hometown, “You had another thing coming if you were sleeping on us,” says it all. ‘Right Back At It Again’ follows – yep, the song we’ve ALL been listening to in that B-rate YouTube recording – and in full Andrew Wade / Chad Gilbert glory it sounds absolutely thunderous. It’s unmistakably the ‘All I Want’ of ‘Common Courtesy’, and that “BRACE FOR IMPACT!” mosh call is going to set venues alight once everyone’s got the words down.
‘Sometimes You’re The Hammer, Sometimes You’re The Nail’ introduces their harder sound with Jeremy’s coarse verses showing for the first time just how much he’s got to give this time around. It’s also the first point where his thinly-veiled digs at the label that almost didn’t let this record happen come to light – interpret it how you want, but lines like “God help those who help themselves, and forget about everyone else,” or “You’re all about you, and it’s my fast track to an early grave,” later on in ‘The Document Speaks For Itself’, say everything necessary.
Interestingly, the pace is broken up by a couple of slower numbers this time around – the acoustic led ‘I’m Already Gone’ is well-aligned ahead of the scathing ‘Violence (Enough Is Enough)’, and later, ‘I Surrender’ dishes out *feelings* left, right and centre, before the abrasive ‘Life Lessons Learned The Hard Way’ hits back with full force. While ADTR have always excelled when taking the softer approach (see ‘If It Means A Lot To You’ from ‘Homesick’), this is the first time they’ve incorporated that corner of their sound into the thread of an album’s structure, and it works. As a result, ‘Common Courtesy’ isn’t just a relentless onslaught of breakdowns and choruses; it’s got defined peaks and troughs that should shut the mouths of anyone who’s ever doubted their malleability.
What’s been most exciting for us with ‘Common Courtesy’, though, is the fact that everyone – press, fans, and we’re betting even some of the band’s family – will be hearing it for the very first time today. Aside from putting out ‘Violence (Enough Is Enough)’ last December, there’s been no leak, no pre-release stream, no 30-second teasers to soften the impact of these 53 minutes on first listen. And while we might all be caught up in this bubble of excitement right now, when it passes and we’ve all had some time to sit with it, one thing will still remain true: ‘Common Courtesy’ is not the end of this band. If anything, it’s their new beginning.