When you package an album with a sticker that says “Features your new favorite songs,” you better have the goods to back it up. Luckily for all of us, this seemingly over-confident band is All Time Low, and we all know they can definitely back that statement up.
Future Hearts is the sixth full-length studio album from the Baltimore pop punkers, and is easily their most mature work to-date.
The album opens with “Satellite,” which clocks in at just over two minutes and twenty seconds, and in my opinion, that’s about one minute too long. The first minute and some change has everything you could possibly need – a really raspy Alex Gaskarth whose voice progressively gets more intense, a super catchy hook, and intriguing instrumentals. The song could’ve been cut and faded into the following song right after the first set of “nana’s,” and used as a prelude rather than an entire song. With there only being one unique verse, it feels like they were trying for too much in such a short amount of time. It has a nice anthem feel that ties very well into the last track, so it definitely serves its purpose on this album.
The first song released, “Something’s Gotta Give,” is number three and is the most ATL track you’ll find on the album. I feel like this song could appear on any album between So Wrong, It’s Right and Future Hearts, and it would work. To have a song like this shows that ATL have stuck to a formula that works, but have tweaked it ever so slightly with each passing year as they have matured. I’ll admit, when I first heard this song it worried me, and that was because the way the verses are timed and phrased instantly reminded me of “I Feel Like Dancing” from Dirty Work and I didn’t want to see a repeat of that particular album. Thankfully, once I finally heard it with the rest of the songs, it no longer took on that persona. It became a song of its own.
“Kids In The Dark” is one of those songs that will become a favorite amongst many people. It is all about being different and not necessarily being accepted by those who don’t quite understand you. It’s funky enough that you can dance to it, but also angry enough that you won’t lose your punk cred if you’re caught listening to it.
“Missing You” is the most out of place song on the album, but not in a bad way. The song heavily features a mandolin, banjo and ukulele, something you don’t expect to hear from ATL. It’s all about the struggle of watching someone deal with something that will ultimately kill them (i.e. drugs, self-harm, depression, etc.), and offering them what help you can. It contains some of the most powerful lyrics the band has released, including : Don’t lose your fight, kid/It only takes a push to pull on through/With so much left to do/You’ll be missing out and we’ll be missing you.
Future Hearts includes guest vocals from two of the most recognizable names in the music industry today – Mark Hoppus (Blink-182) and Joel Madden (Good Charlotte, The Madden Brothers). Hoppus appears on “Tidal Waves,” and I’ll be honest, I had a hard time wrapping my head around this one, and I still kind of do. Its placement on the album (about halfway through) and the content just hit you so strongly. It’s one of the most passionate and serious songs I’ve ever heard this band release, and those usually aren’t terms you associate with ATL. This song comes from a deep place and to have it included on this album just shows the amount of trust ATL is putting in their fans, and they are willing to share a song like this with all of us. “Bail You Out” features Madden, and it’s definitely my favorite song on the album. It opens with this fun acoustic guitar riff, and the whole song is quirky and is the perfect sing-along tune. It’s so reminiscent to old Good Charlotte that it is impossible not to be excited about this track.
To have both Hoppus and Madden on this album should serve as a reminder to us all that without Blink-182 and Good Charlotte, we probably wouldn’t have ATL. Those are bands that paved the way for a lot of acts we have today.
We get to see a darker side of ATL with the track “Dancing With A Wolf.” We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve been betrayed by someone, and this track is a way to show that somebody they’ve messed with the wrong person. I love the vicious tone this song has, but what initially caught my attention right away was Gaskarth’s vocals. There’s a line in the song that says: There’s no love for a liar, and each time he sings the word “love” there’s an inflection in his voice that hits me straight to the core. I’m a sucker for vocals, and when you have the ability to give me goosebumps multiple times in a song and continuously after a thousand listens, then you have won me over forever. Since the beginning, I have always said that Gaskarth is one of those artists who simply doesn’t get enough credit for how good he actually is. I believe this is one of those songs that you need to pay close attention to fully understand how much talent he truly possesses.
Future Hearts is a collection of songs that prove ATL work hard to put out quality material. It’s been a while since I’ve been super impressed with these guys, and this album has shut me up.
To be impressed yourself, you can purchase a CD here. If you purchase a physical copy of the album, you will receive five random photo cards from the band’s personal archives.
To see All Time Low live, you can buy concert tickets here.
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