As time rolls on there are two options left for musicians: embrace the changes and adapt or try and fight it and stay the same. All Time Low have always proven to be a band that accomplishes the former. With multiple chart-topping tracks, the band has always stayed on top of the pop-punk scene. As the high school band that made it mainstream, they have always managed to find a way to stay relevant in the music scene. However, just as other great pop-punk bands have been doing lately, they are growing up and changing their sound while still clinging to their All Time Low charm with their latest release “Last Young Renegade.”
All Time Low can be traced back to 2003. Originally formed in Baltimore as a high school band, most of the original members are still involved with the project. Alex Gaskarth, Jack Barakat and Rian Dawson have been hard at work over the last 14 years, picking up Zack Merrick just after the release of their first E.P. “The Three Words to Remember in Dealing with the End EP.” The band put out their debut album “The Party Scene” in 2005. Their hit tracks like “Remembering Sunday,” “Dear Maria, Count Me In” and “Break Your Little Heart” helped define a generation. While they had their time over six studio albums to write songs about being a young teenager, their seventh album “Last Young Renegade” is more of a reflection of the past and an ode to the future.
“Last Young Renegade” is a ten-track record that clocks in at around 37 minutes in length. This is a much more personal record than fans might be comfortable with from All Time Low. While Gaskarth has never had much trouble being a good storyteller in his songs, “Last Young Renegade” contains a much more authentic and deep truth than at first glance. While most fans may notice the overall tone shift in the music style, there are plenty of elements that are niche to the band and makes this a refreshing record to listen to. One of the big take aways is just how different each track is from one another, making this a record that provides listeners something new and unique each time that they listen to it.
Musically, listeners will be quick to see that this record lacks the rock elements that might make it a pop-punk record. While the shift towards pop is less than subtle, it does still have some good guitar riffs hidden within some tracks. In tracks like “Drugs & Candy” and “Nightmares,” everything takes a backseat to the electronic layers in the songs. While it is not overpowering per say, it more complements what is present in tracks like “Dark Side of Your Room” and “Ground Control.” All Time Low left their comfort zone in the dust when it came to this record. Making something that sounds so different yet familiar all in the same time is no easy feat and is quite appealing to listeners.
Lyrically, All Time Low are delving into a healthy mix of the good and bad when it comes to “Last Young Renegade.” While the title track is a bit heavier in dealing with the issues of growing up and what that means in terms of your relationships, you do get some light-hearted songs with tracks like “Good Times” and “Nice2KnoU.” These are a lot more of the brighter side of looking back on the past and what that means to them as a band. Then you start getting into some issues with “Dirty Laundry” and “Life of the Party,” which have a much more serious look on life. The former looking at how the past damages the future and the latter looking at how you can get wrapped up in a lifestyle when you only hurt yourself. While there is nothing groundbreaking about the songwriting in general, it is very real and down to earth. It is new for the band and a welcome change for fans for sure.
Should you listen to it?: Yes!
While “Last Young Renegade” is not the perfect growing up record, it is a great All Time Low record all the same. It is different and stands out from the rest of the band’s discography with relative ease. Fans new or old should not have a hard time finding a song or two to grow attached to on this record. While the band might think they are now the last young renegade, in truth they always have been.