People often say to me, “You’re 20 years old. Why do you still like All Time Low?”
My answer: Because I’m 20 years old, and I can do whatever I damn well please.
It’s 12:19 a.m. on a Thursday. I have a mountain of reading to do and a job to work the next morning at 9 a.m., but here I am listening to All Time Low’s newest song “Nice2KnoU,” released 22 minutes ago, on repeat.
I’ve been enamored with this band since I was 14, and I will fight you over it.
If you’ve ever had the privilege to see All Time Low in person, you’ll know they sound as good, if not better, live. I’ve gone to three of their shows, and each was a borderline-surreal experience. Not only are they lively entertainers who engage in easy dialogue and collect bras on stage, but they are stellar performers. They put on a damn good show. I’m all for a good, depressing sob song that makes you reflect on two decades of mistakes or a Chainsmokers’ song with average beats driven by some powerful singer you’ve probably never heard of (sans Halsey). But All Time Low’s songs are my perfect mix of mostly upbeat songs not limited to failed romantic endeavours.
The band, which began in 2003 in a garage in Baltimore, has changed lineups about a million times and one of the members has gotten married. Nonetheless, sit through one live show, and it’s clear these guys are still in it for the fun and their band family, even though they spend almost every single day together. In the time they’ve been a band, they’ve proved they can play whatever kind of song my pseudo-teenager heart could want: slow or fast or romantic or emotional or covers.
If you ask an All Time Low hipster who was a fan before this decade, they might talk about how the band has changed over time. How it went from baby label Hopeless Records to major label Interscope Records for Dirty Work, then to prominent alternative label Fueled by Ramen for the newest album Last Young Renegade, which will be released June 2. One may wonder how could the band go from scrappy garage rock band to fruity pop and back again. But All Time Low is a free agent, able to do whatever it damn well pleases. If the members want to start only playing the recorder with their nose, then they should do that. (I feel that way about all artists, but especially All Time Low, because I love the band and I will fight you over it.)
All sarcasm aside, All Time Low’s changing sounds aren’t a sign of decline, but rather of growth. The band’s transition to Interscope did signal a huge shift as they got bigger. Dirty Work blew the 2007 song “Dear Maria, Count Me In” completely out of the water on the charts, and the band shifted back to its first label for their next two albums, maintaining that newfound pop-ish-ness. Last Young Renegade feels like an interesting mix of the two styles. The album feels like a bigger deal on Fueled By Ramen than it would've on Hopeless, but it goes back to the band’s harder rock roots with songs like the title track and “Nice2KnoU.”
Apart from the band’s music – which is flawless (seriously, even when All Time Low releases a song I don’t like, I still like it) – All Time Low is just four guys you kind of really want to hang out with. Who else would release not one, but two documentaries about themselves titled Straight to DVD (aka STD), featuring their parents and a trip to the Home Alone house? Who else would make a music video that was just five minutes of them attempting to do gymnastics? The members literally DGAF about what you think. But they also love their fans. Like so much.
And I love All Time Low. (All Time Low, if you’re reading, please love me back.)