We look back at A Day To Remember's third album and the effect it had on the scene and our perceptions of what could be considered heavy or not.
There are a few moments in music where a real shake up takes place. A shift of tectonic proportions that triggers serious change across the board. Back in February of 2009 one such vibration took effect and blurred the lines between pop-punk and hardcore in a way that no-one could have predicted.
On 03 February 2009, A Day To Remember released ‘Homesick’.
Though first, a little potted history.
By the time 2009 rolled around, ADTR had two albums to their name, ‘And Their Name Was Treason’ and ‘For Those Who Have Heart’. Both records combined the hostility and bludgeoning atmosphere of metalcore with the polished and preppy tones of pop music to the higesh degree while still feeling uniquely scrappy and dangerous. The band felt the need to take things to the next level on their third effort though while also expanding on both distinct sides of their sound. Writing while on the Warped Tour trail in 2008 and with Chad Gilbert, who would eventually produce the album alongside the band, while on tour with New Found Glory, things started to take shape. The result of those sessions and the need for something more meaty and melodic was ‘Homesick’.
The thing that set the album apart from the band’s peers within the heavy scene was its acceptance of the softer side of things. Though the likes of ‘Holdin' It Down For The Underground’ and ‘My Life For Hire’ contain some of the band’s most debauched breakdowns to date, they also held some of their most accessible and brain hugging choruses. Then you’ve got ‘Another Song About The Weekend’ and ‘Have Faith In Me’ which are overflowing with heartfelt intentions that would inspire even the most downtrodden of souls and of course ‘If It Means A Lot To You’ which would put the most romantic of love letters to shame.
That’s not saying that the record isn’t also incessantly heavy. ‘Mr Highway’s Thinking About The End’ still feels like a cinder block to the back of head a decade on, Mike Hranica’s frenzied appearance on ‘I’m Made Of Wax Larry, What Are You Made Of?’ is circle pit fuel in a can and ‘You Already Know What You Are’ comes and goes like a slap to the chops but leaves a real lasting sting. Oh, and the small matter of 'The Downfall Of Us All' possessing possibly one of the best intros to a song ever written?
Throw all of these elements in one big old melting pot and you have a record that pushes the boundaries of what is expected from both heavy bands but also pop bands. It shows that different elements can exist in harmony but also, in a scene that can often feel stagnant and low on ideas, change the course of inspiration across the board. A Day To Remember proved that taking risks and defying logics could pay off in abundance, and they still continue to do just that today.
Though below the brutality and buoyancy, ‘Homesick’ represents something much more important and human. It demonstrates that no matter how hard things get in this unpredictable life, your friends will always be there to pull you from the depths no matter what. It cements the notion that even though seeing the wonders of the world is an undeniably thrilling way to spend your time, nothing will ever be more wonderful than coming home. It goes a long way to reminding us that there is no love as unrequited as the one we receive from our family, blood or not.
‘Homesick’ is a culmination of thoughts and feelings that truly delve into what it means to love the life that you are living. To grab on to every opportunity that is thrown at you with both hands and not let go until every ounce of joy is squeezed from it. More than anything, it taught us how to spread our wings and fly, no matter what shape or size they are. The only way to find out how far they will take you is to try.
A Day To Remember changed the way that people looked at heavy music, but they also changed the way that they looked at living as well. That is something truly special.