The good thing about All Time Low is that not only do they know their audience, but they also know how to write songs that speak to their audience as if they’re their best friends giving them encouragement. The Baltimore pop-rockers’ sixth studio album Future Hearts uses that theme throughout a majority of its tracks to make for an album filled with power anthems to get listeners through any struggles they may be facing. From the release of its first single “Something’s Gotta Give,” it was obvious where the band wanted to go with this album.
Future Hearts begins with the slow-paced, new-school, Yellowcard-like track “Satellite,” in which it uses it as a springboard to build up the excitement for what the rest of the album will hold. A few more ballad-y tracks, which includes the dreamy “The Edge of Tonight” and the Mark Hoppus featuring fourth single “Tidal Waves,” are weaved into the mix but certainly doesn’t stop the boys from dishing out their signature brand of crazy upbeat pop-punk anthems.
While the album has a few more lovey-dovey tracks than what longtime fans are probably used to (since Gaskarth is, like, half-married nowadays), they don’t stray too far away from their musical and lyrical style. “Kicking & Screaming” and “Cinderblock Garden”, as well as angsty I-think-you’re-scum track “Dancing With A Wolf”, have similar qualities to tracks from Don’t Panic. They also incorporate qualities from old-school Good Charlotte in the I-fell-in-love-with-you-after-a-one-night-stand “Don’t You Go” and modern The Madden Brothers in the I’m-an-idiot-please-take-me-back “Bail Me Out” (which features Joel Madden). The only track that’s super over-the-top and grossly cute is third single “Runaways,” which is pretty much if The Killers‘ “Mr. Brightside” mated with any 5 Seconds of Summer song.
Empowering musical themes are important to have for bands whose target audience are teens and young adults and All Time Low certainly did that in three hard-hitting tracks. The second released single “Kids In The Dark” gives a reflective tone that portrays them as looking back at all those moments when people made them feel inferior (which is indicated in its chorus). While all those doubters were saying “what a shame”, their efforts in bringing them down resulted in “beautiful scars on critical veins” of those willing to fight for what they want.
The acoustic-y, pseudo country-esque “Missing You” has that subdued musical tempo with a slight pep similar to that of Train‘s “Hey, Soul Sister” or Green Day‘s “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”. They focus on positive lyrics that embody what most people look for in a friend: someone who says “if you need a friend/I’ll help you stitch up your wounds” or “if you need a friend/then please just say the word.” It reminds us that sometimes we need someone to get it through our heads that “it only takes a little push to pull on through” and take the line “now don’t lose your fight, kid” to heart. Future Hearts ends with a powerful “this life is mine to live” anthem in the form of “Old Scars / Future Hearts.” Hard-hitting lines like “I know it’s hard to escape the past and start it again” force you to recognize that the past is our past and we can really only look forward to the future where we’re not “the one that’s left behind” or “lost inside this endless haze of life.”
The simple lyrics of “we got scars on our future hearts” from the final track is the ultimate message of Future Hearts because the struggles that we faced in our past is what makes us the influential person that we are today. Even through there are romantically-themed tracks, there are still references to them realizing that what they were doing in the past wasn’t really working out for them. The boys of All Time Low definitely know who they’re performing for, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t write slightly more mature tracks in the process.