By Loren Smith | Staff Writer
With their release of Last Young Renegade on June 2, Baltimore pop-punk band All Time Low takes a different spin on its alternative sound. The new album encompasses a theme of self-realization and shows the band’s sound maturing into more of a modern pop style while still including the upbeat rock anthems and catchy hooks that made the band well-known.
As a whole, Last Young Renegade elicits nostalgia, its songs working together seamlessly to create a sense of acceptance of the need to move forward in life while simultaneously figuring yourself out. Its sound alternates between synthesized and rock music, making for an interesting combination of genres.
Although “Dirty Laundry” was meant to be the album’s strongest point as the lead single, it fell flat due to its weak lyrics and boring choruses. Lines such as, “Dirty laundry is piling in her room / She’s got her secrets / Yeah, I got mine too,” are just not up to par with what we’ve seen from the band before, and even on the rest of the album. There are far better songs on the album that could have been chosen to represent it, any of which would have gotten more people interested in the rest of it.
Unlike the lead single, the rest of Renegade is full of intriguing, symbolic lyrics that show the full extent of singer and songwriter Alex Gaskarth’s writing abilities. The lyrics, such as those found in “Life of the Party,” superbly illustrate the album’s theme of losing yourself, recalling feelings of being lost in lines such as, “In a sea of strangers / I can’t find me anymore.” Embodying another subject of Renegade, that of trying to get over losing someone else, “Last Young Renegade” perfectly reflects these feelings with the lines, “I miss you every single way / We said forever, but forever wouldn’t wait for us.”
The nostalgic theme of the album appears to be well-reflected in the changing music, with All Time Low looking back on the days when it was just starting out as a band, such as in the song “Nice2KnoU.” The band posted on their Facebook page about the sentimental aspect of the album and this song in particular, saying, “It’s a tribute to our roots and the history of a band that comes up in a small-town with a die-hard group of friends who all want something greater.”
Much of the album works well in balancing the new sound with the old. Some stray into unfamiliar territory more than others, but by doing so, they keep the album interesting. Although most are upbeat and fun-spirited, typical for the band, many of the lyrics hold deeper meanings, especially in the slower and almost sappy songs. It is exciting to see All Time Low’s sound progressing, and the group effectively conveys the album’s message while retaining and experimenting with its sound.
Including the pop duo Tegan and Sara on the album definitely adds to its overall quality and makes it even more enticing by moving away from the self-reflective theme a bit. Their voices go together harmoniously with Gaskarth’s and work as a way to incorporate All Time Low more with mainstream pop music.
And bridging the gap between pop and alternative music is only the beginning for All Time Low’s broadening of its audience. Last Love’s Renegade is relatable, contemplative in tone and mixes between rock and synthesized sound to create an impressive album, especially for young adults who are still trying to figure themselves out.