BY JOE DEANDREA
Despite the fact that I’m a huge music fan, I have to admit that I know nothing about the legal side of music at all.
When listening to an album or hitting repeat on a song, I never stop to think about everything behind the scenes, especially the stipulations of the record contract that the artist may be tied to. This is because, well, there’s not much of a reason why it has to be a concern, especially because I’m definitely not a lawyer.
I personally don’t care about the percentage of royalties that go to the label, or how many records are left on the band’s contract because it’s rare that these situations ever arise and affect an artist’s musical output. As long as the music keeps coming, it’s all that matters to me.
However, exceptions are made when issues between a band and their record label directly affect how much music is being released to the public … if it ever gets released at all.
Rock band A Day To Remember sued their label, Victory Records, back in 2011 over royalties and contract obligations, and as the case grew bigger as time went on, the question arose about just exactly when they would be legally allowed to release their new full-length.
Even though the case has yet to be resolved, it was determined that A Day To Remember’s new album, “Common Courtesy,” was free to be self-released by the band, and it’s the best record that we’ve seen from the group yet.
From their 2005 debut, “And Their Name Was Treason,” to 2010’s “What Separates Me From You,” A Day To Remember has become a household name in the genre. Produced by New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert, “Common Courtesy” finds itself infusing the band’s trademark brand of pop-punk with metal-influenced breakdowns better than they ever have before. Though A Day To Remember is no stranger to bending and crossing these sounds, the magnitude at which they’re implemented with this record is at a level that will shoot the band’s popularity through the roof.
Tracks like the first single, “Right Back At It Again” and “I Surrender” show off the well-known mainstream-pop side of A Day To Remember, providing choruses and bridges that are bound to be fan favorites, while songs like “Violence (Enough Is Enough)” and “Life Lessons Learned The Hard Way” reside more within the metal realm of their sound, making them some of the most intense tracks in the band’s catalog.
There’s never a dull moment within the 13 songs and 54 minutes of “Common Courtesy,” and it’s headlined by the strongest tracks such as “Life @ 11” and “I’m Already Gone” — two cuts that sum up A Day To Remember’s overall sound and highlight their best attributes. While the metalcore aspects of “Common Courtesy” are greatly improved upon compared to their previous work, it’s clear that the band’s biggest strength resides in their pure-pop sound and infectious melodies.
Throughout the record, a theme of reminiscing about the early years of the band comes through, back before all the drama and legal battles. Album opener “City of Ocala” reflects on A Day To Remember’s hometown of Ocala, Florida and the final five minutes of the nine-minute closer “I Remember” is literally just a conversation of the band talking about past tour memories. There is no shortage of lyrical depth on “Common Courtesy,” and it just makes the album all that much stronger.
“Common Courtesy” shows that, throughout all the adversities revolving around you, you can turn a negative into a positive and make a difference. Whether A Day To Remember wins their court case with Victory Records or not, “Common Courtesy” will always be the record that made a statement amidst all the chaos, and it will undoubtedly be remembered as one of their best.