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The Songs on the Album
"Last Young Renegade"
The title song and one of the most fun, this song speaks of summertime love, the feeling of rebellion, and feeling invincible in your youth. Somehow the band is still convincing in their ballads about youth, despite being in their early 30s. The song features solid vocals with echoing instruments, creating both an emotional and auditory feeling of early summer love and heartbreak.
Favorite Line - "Underneath the lights of a motorway, that's where I go to keep the ghosts away."
"Drugs & Candy"
This song is where the album really starts to spice things up. The song is about the feeling of fulfillment and addiction that can often come in relationships that aren't meant to last or that seem too good to be true. The pace of the instruments picks up as the song goes on, emulating the pumping of blood in your veins.
Favorite Line - "You had me on the edge of indiscretion. You said you feel the same."
This song is un-apologetically similar to early All Time Low songs, starting out slow and simple, building up to a catchy hook, and carrying a more profound message than the feel good instrumentals would lead you to believe. It follows the classic pattern of talking about a girl who doesn't fit the societal standards of perfection, but who is perfect int he eye of the singer. The dirty laundry being referenced is actually referring to both physical laundry and past actions. The song covers the feeling of understanding and accepting the past of someone, but still trying to understand it, while being completely intoxicated by them as well.
Favorite Line - "Now here's some honesty - sometimes I trip over your history."
The most emotional song on the album, "Good Times" is about the feeling of living in a small town and going to high school, while not quite fitting in. The video features a staggering amount of diversity and even a number of topics that seem to be universal for teens and adults with less than stellar high school years. The song has echoing instrumentals, strong and clear vocals, and various sounds inserted throughout the chorus that all add to the feeling of being taken back in time. Of the four singles released, this song is the strongest and the least similar to all of the other songs on the album.
Favorite Line - "Locked away, lost in time, I found the nerve to say that I never want to leave this Sunset town, but someday the time will come. I'll take you at your word and carry on."
A heavier, and less approachable, but still amazing song. "Nice2KnoU" is about the feelings of freedom and remorse after the end of a relationship. The songs seems to be referencing a friendship that has been broken, rather than a romantic relationship, and also seems to take place during a final night with friends before moving on to something new. The song features heavy drumming, incredibly melodic vocals in parts of the song, and intense strong vocals in others. For any other band this would seem discordant or messy, but All Time Low manages to pull it off with ease.
Favorite Line - "We always say that we'll keep in touch. Nobody does, but it don't matter much"
"Life Of The Party"
A song about partying that explores the less than positive aspects of a party lifestyle. The music video follows a man who is "the life of the party," but doesn't know how he got to be that way. It covers the feeling feeling of losing yourself among strangers while partying. The obvious discomfort of the main character is in direct contrast with the fun, and upbeat, if not a bit dark, music. The vocals are incredibly strong, making ti one of the most dynamic offerings on the album.
Favorite Line - "I keep thinking of you and how you level me out sometimes."
This is my favorite song on the entire album and I feel like it gets far too little attention. The song starts out with somewhat dramatic but downplayed instrumentals, being joined by an echoing backing sound and monotone vocals that later turn plaintive and emotional. The song title references both normal nightmares and mental health struggles, weaving through the roots of personal struggles in childhood and connecting them to the feeling of loneliness that can be all encompassing in adulthood.
Favorite Line - "I fall asleep with my covers pulled up and try to fight it."
"Dark Side Of Your Room"
Going back to the sensual sounds captured in "Drugs & Candy," "Dark Side of Your Room" is a bit jarring at first. That feeling only increases when you realize that the sultry and dark song is speaking about a less than health relationship. Most of the song is focused on the repeating nature of this relationship that doesn't really exist outside of stolen moments in a darkened bedroom. This doesn't stop the song from being catchy and enjoyable. This might be one of the most relatable songs on the album, helped along by the lack of shame attached to the relationship and actions therein.
Favorite Line - "With nights like this, who needs the days? I close my eyes and sleep them away."
"Ground Control" (feat. Tegan and Sara)
Featuring the ever amazing Tegan and Sara, this song has a bit more ethereal feeling, bringing echoing sounds, fading vocals, and heavy instrumentals to the forefront. One of the best parts of this song is the way that the vocals switch between the three singers and are also harmonized in places. The song speaks of being there for a friend, tethering and anchoring them, even when they seem to have gone far beyond your reach. Perspective alternates between the help given to a friend and the ability to be grounded by the same people you are helping.
Favorite Line - "My systems are critical, gotta find my back to you."
The final song on the album, this song is upbeat and the perfect finish to a masterfully made musical experience. The song covers the feeling of staying with a lover after the end of an event, party, or milestone in life. There is a feeling of loss in the song, but it is quickly covered up by a more positive feeling. The choice to include afterglow as the last track brings the album to a perfect close, tying together all of the different musical threads from the album.
Favorite Line - "And I see a long road, that we gotta follow, Before tomorrow catches up."
Japanese Bonus Tracks
There were also two Japanese bonus tracks included in the release: "Chemistry," and "Vampire Shift." Both of these songs are a bit more old school, Chemistry even starts out talking about 1983 and they are a little less mastered, a little more raw. However, they are still great. It makes sense that they would include them in the Japanese version and not the USA version, as the USA version is perfectly polished and these are a bit more raw. However, they still show the overall skill level of All Time Low.
Each of the tracks on the album is able to hold its own, but together they shine in a way that most artists could only dream of achieving. The band has long had creative control over their music, and their ability to seamlessly shift from upbeat songs to something darker and then back to sensual anthems shows that they aren't done evolving yet. Last Young Renegade is the best album that they have published so far because it is an album that shows how far they have come since their beginning as a band, but also allowed them experiment with new types of songs that they have never attempted before.
With some fans reporting that they are already working on new music, All Time Low doesn't seem like they will be losing steam any time soon. I personally look forward to their next album and hope it is even better than this one was.