One week of teasing and making their fans go rabid comes in the form of not one, but two announcements from All Time Low. One was obvious: the release of a new single/letting the world know that a new album is on the way. The other came as a bit of a surprise. All Time Low, who has pretty much been a part of Hopeless Records since their breakout album So Wrong, It’s Right (minus Dirty Work), dropped the bomb that they were the newest members of the Fueled by Ramen family. Yes, that’s the record label that Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, and Paramore call home. Of course, with a jump like that there had to be some change in their musical style, and their latest single “Dirty Laundry” is only the beginning of a new (potentially more successful) era for the band.
I want to talk about the lyrics of “Dirty Laundry” primarily because it’s easy for people to hate on a song because it doesn’t sound like their old stuff. It’s clear throughout the track that the song revolves around not wanting letting go of the past to pursue something new. On a simple scale, “Dirty Laundry” can easily be heard as an All Time Low-ified love song that reassures their partner of how much they love them regardless of all their history and skeletons in the closet (“I don’t care about what you did / Only care about what we do / Dirty laundry looks good on you”). Frontman Alex Gaskarth also delves into the very real scenarios that come with growing in a relationship with someone who’s afraid of opening up in (“I know it’s not my place / Who am I to tell you that you need to change?”). The point of the matter is that Gaskarth is attempting to remind you that an imperfect person is just as capable of finding happiness with someone as a ‘perfect’ person is.
In a larger scheme, “Dirty Laundry”‘s lyrics can also apply to the inevitable transition that their music will be taking with their move to Fueled by Ramen. It’s clear throughout the track that the song revolves around not wanting to let go of a comfortable past to pursue something new and potentially better for you. It’s a look into a deeper, almost darker All Time Low that was hidden away in order to make the cookie-cut pop-punk tracks that have kept their career alive all these years. However, this larger scheme of it lyrics is plainly executed in their choice of instrumentation with a slower pace, experimentation with synths and electronic elements, and, disappointingly, a lack of power in the vocals until the very end.
For a fan like myself who’s been a fan since the very beginning, I thought the song was simply okay. What “Dirty Laundry” lacks in musical familiarity and anthemic quality (at least in the All Time Low sense) it makes up for in darker tones and honest lyrics. Unfortunately, they’ve gotten their fanbase used to their, well, Hopeless Records-y sound and while this change doesn’t compare to that of Dirty Work it’s still a change nonetheless. It’s clear that ATL is headed into a new chapter of their career with their more Fueled By Ramen friendly sound, but “Dirty Laundry” is different in a understandably maturing kind of way. Once release day hits, it’ll be interesting to see what their first Fueled by Ramen record is going to sound like.