Album Review: ADTR’s ‘Common Courtesy’

Celeste Welshhons

The release of A Day to Remember’s latest album, “Common Courtesy,” was met with a great number of challenges. The record label, Victory, had the band tied up in a lawsuit over the release of the album. The judge initially ruled in favor of ADTR, allowing them to self-release “Common Courtesy” on Oct. 8.

Since the lawsuit is still ongoing, it is not yet clear whether or not Victory will be receiving any of the profits from the album. It is also a possibility that ADTR will still be required to release two more albums under the Victory label.

Although the initial release of the album was in October, the release of the actual physical copy was not until Nov. 25. The physical and iTunes editions of the album came equipped with three bonus tracks to boot.

“Common Courtesy” begins with “City of Ocala” an ode to the band’s hometown of Ocala, Fla. This track encompasses the classic pop punk style that fans have come to expect from ADTR. It is one of the catchiest tunes on the album, and my favorite. The second track, “Right Back at it Again,” sounds similar to the opener, but it still works.

Like a few other tracks on the album, a small snippet of commentary from the band is featured at the end of “Right Back at it Again.” The comments were additive to the track as was the five minute commentary featured at the end of the last track, “I Remember,” and all of the others.

Normally, I find any type of commentary at any point in an album to be annoying and unnecessary, but for some reason I could not stop listening to the tales of being stuck on a bus for more than 12 hours or running into the side of a band with a trailer while simply trying to deposit some money that were being reminisced about at the end of the album.

Many of the songs do not feature the well-known metal core sound of ADTR. The few that are in there are well dispersed and are just as captivating as the other tracks. “Violence (Enough is Enough)” as well as “Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way” are the stand outs. “Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way” is sandwiched between two of the softer songs on the album, “I Surrender,” and “End of Me,” which shows the great contrast between their various sounds.

The flow of “Common Courtesy” is impeccable. Even though “End of Me” is soft for a majority of the song, it brings in some harder elements which prepares listeners for another important song, “The Document Speaks for Itself.” The track is a heavy hitting stab at Victory about the aforementioned pending lawsuit over the album.

Another great track is the closer, “I Remember.” This song is about the struggles of rising to the top without the understanding of others as well as some great memories from the road acts as an amazing wrap up. It ends the album on a positive note rather than the bitter one we are left with thanks to “The Document Speaks for Itself.”

ADTR is letting go of some bitterness by ending with “I Remember.” The song is saying that even though they might be kind of down right now because of all the dealings with Victory, they still hold onto the good memories.

Of the three bonus tracks, “Leave All the Lights On” stood out the most. It is a mainly acoustic track with powerful vocals that do not sound much like anything else on the album. It fits perfectly with the other two bonus tracks, and all three fit in well with every other song on “Common Courtesy.”

“Common Courtesy” is a superb album, and it was well worth the struggle that A Day to Remember had to go through to release it to their patiently waiting fans. There were no big misses, and too many hits to easily narrow down any one best song.