All Time Low, Last Young Renegade | Album Review
On its seventh album, ‘Last Young Renegade,’ All Time Low embraces a newfound maturity. Although grown up, ‘Renegade’ remains enjoyable.
Despite what Jay-Z and Mr. Hudson says on “Forever Young” – or any other artist on an assortment of similar songs – youth doesn’t last always. On Last Young Renegade, emo darlings All Time Low seem to realize that. Last Young Renegade finds the band in reflective mode, embracing newfound MATURITY. Yep.
“Last Young Renegade”
“Last Young Renegade” commences the effort more subdued than expected – the poise of frontman Gaskarth is surprising. It’s not that the title track doesn’t have energy, but it’s not until the chorus that All Time Low packs its signature punch. Ultimately, the chorus is worth the wait, with its infectiousness. Still, something has clearly happened to the band – maturity. It comes to us all.
“I can’t take another hollow point conversation / It’s getting hard to fake.” Oh goodness! The concept of “Drugs & Candy” is fairly simple and to the point. Both drugs and candy are addictive. That’s All Time Low – specifically Gaskarth – describes his relationship with her. It’s expressed best on the chorus:
“You and me are like drugs and candy / Take one down for the young and easy / You’ve got me out of my head / I fill this space in your bed / High on the beat of the breakdown, breakdown / You and me are like drugs and candy.”
It’s emo, yet like “Last Young Renegade,” there’s maturity here.
“I don’t believe in saints / They never make mistakes / I know it’s not my place / Who am I to tell you that you need to change?” “Dirty Laundry” continues the maturity tour of ATL – the band of course, not the city. Essentially, this is a tale of imperfection that’s relatable to everyone. Although Gaskarth addresses it to a girl, the message is adaptable to the multitude.
“Dirty laundry is piling in her room / She’s got secrets, yeah I’ve got mine too / I don’t care about what you did / Only care about what we do / Dirty laundry / Looks good on you.”
If the opening duo felt the slightest bit too poised, the boys let loose more on “Dirty Laundry,” towards the end.
“Good Times” provides the ode to Baltimore. Here, getting older continues to draw heavy on the mind of Gaskarth, who turns 30 in December, and the band as a whole. Essentially, this is reflection back to his youth, and as the title states, the good times. This isn’t earth-shattering material, but vocally, Gaskarth continues to showcase a respectable, boyish set of pipes. The up tempo “Nice2KnoU” is reminiscent of the past stylistically and in its overall tone. There’s more of an element of fun as opposed to settling into adulthood. The better record follows.
“Life of the Party”
Amazingly, Gaskarth waits until the sixth track, “Life of the Party,” to sneak in the obligatory f-bomb. Furthermore, it doesn’t happen until the second verse!
“I keep thinking about you, how you level me out sometimes / When I’m out on my head, and I don’t wanna face it / You said it’s all for a reason, what the fuck is the reason now?”
Hmm, must be a representative of the new All Time Low. “Life of the Party” has more pop sensibilities, but don’t call the gem a sell-out. Intriguingly, Alex seems to question his identity on the chorus, which fits the vibe and overall sentiment of the album.
At this point, Last Young Renegade could be called titled reminisce or reminiscent. “Nightmares” reminisces back on youthful fears and overcoming such fears. As childish or melodramatic as a lyric like “I fall asleep with my covers pulled up” may seem, those covers are metaphorical, and many adults do the same.
“Dark Side of Your Room”
Once more, the bedroom plays a role on Last Young Renegade. This time around it’s “Dark Side of Your Room,” which is adult only in the act they are participating in.
“With nights like these, who needs the days? / I’ll shut my eyes and sleep them away / I’m on the dark side of your room / With the notches on your bedpost.”
The point? Empty sex, though the feeling is satisfying for a season.
Tegan and Sara join the band for “Ground Control,” a totally unpredictable collaboration. Where “Dark Side of Your Room” seemed to focus on a shallow relationship, “Ground Control” is more focused on strengthening and rekindling a relationship.
“Don’t be afraid, no / If you start floating away / Hey! / I promise you will be fine and have / The universe on your side when / You’re out in space / Don’t you be afraid, no / If you star floating away.”
“Can’t stay here but you can’t go home / Did you hear that line somewhere before?” On “Afterglow,” Gaskarth desires to spend time with her beyond the party:
“All our friends are leaving / And we ain’t got nowhere to go / Caught up in the afterglow.”
While that afterglow certainly involves more than hugs and kisses, Alex and company don’t play this one off quite like the “notches in your bedpost.”
How does Last Young Renegade stack up? Ultimately, it depends on what you expect out of All Time Low. If the All Time Low faithful fan is expecting the band to maintain their full-throttle, youthful sound, they’ll be disappointed with this album. If you’re a fan of All Time Low and have grown up with them and can relate to their more mature sound and outlook, you’ll be pleased with Last Young Renegade. All in all, this is an enjoyable, brief effort worthy of spins.
Gems: “Last Young Renegade,” “Dirty Laundry,” “Life of the Party,” and “Nightmares”