Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine
Calling an album You’re Welcome, a title that essentially suggests that the band expects everyone to thank them for it, takes either a sizable amount of overconfidence or a very well honed sense of irony. It’s a bit hard to determine just which of the two it is in the case of Ocala, Florida band A Day to Remember. Supporting the overconfidence theory: even though it’s been over four years, the band is still coming off their last album, Bad Vibrations, going all the way to number two on the Billboard chart (a position of which that record might not have been entirely unworthy). On the other hand, they did give themselves a name that sounds like the title of a Hallmark Channel movie starring Danica McKeller.
Either way, You’re Welcome continues with A Day to Remember’s sound of mostly pop punk along with a sprinkling of those deep, deep-voiced scream-y metalcore vocals thrown in at seemingly odd times. The band’s strength in writing hooks is apparent in songs like “Mindreader”, an early cut which also wastes no time in displaying their additional talent as lyricists (“Bending thoughts through time and space // Reading everyone like an old book you’ve read a thousand times”).
One theme that seems to come up several times on the album is that of money, which ADTR approaches from different, and contradictory, angles. “F.Y.M.” for example, stands for “F*ck You Money” – a term referring having enough to not be financially dependent on anyone else – which the narrator of the lyrics clearly longs for (“Wait’ll I get some…”). Five tracks later, the band seems to turn against that same philosophy on “Only Money”, which addresses the notion of financial success creating problems (“It was only money // Cost me some family, cost me some friends… // Doesn’t define me, I can’t pretend”).
The third installment of what ends up being the album’s trilogy of “money” songs is “Re-Entry”, which seems less personal than a re-evaluation of the whole yuppie lifestyle and the trappings of career success through some of the album’s best lyrics (“A three-piece suit’s like a three-piece cage // The miracle of our modern age”). This whole ideal – and both positive and negative assessments of it – are typically associated with the Reagan era, and ‘80s influences do turn up throughout the record.
“Looks Like Hell”, employs an almost western-style hook in the tradition of Wall of Voodoo, best known for their 1982 new wave hit “Mexican Radio.” On that subject, there’s ADTR’s attempt at creating a sporting event chant a la Chumbawamba’s classic “Tubthumping”, which here comes in the form of “Viva La Mexico.” Strictly speaking, the song serves its purpose, even if the timing is a bit odd, between the crisis on the U.S. southern border and current concerns over cultural appropriation.
The song “Degenerates” includes another chant-y chorus (“My friends are degenerates // But I’d never change them // Lies, cheats and hypocrites // Not the type for saving”), which naturally at one point emphasizes its primary function by dropping everything but the beat. Of course, everyone is hoping that we’ll all be able to chant this – or anything – in unison at live concerts again soon. But will we remember this – A Day to Remember’s You’re Welcome – by that point? Let’s say, mostly.