All Time Low’s “Dirty Laundry”

The new single is emotional, experimental, and ultimately triumphant

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Featured image taken from All Time Low’s “Dirty Laundry” video. Fueled By Ramen (c) 2017.

On Friday, All Time Low released their first single since Future Hearts, and it definitely signals a new direction for the band. It has been ten years since the release of their debut album So Wrong, It’s Right, which featured scene staple “Dear Maria, Count Me In,” and a lot has changed; after originally signing to Hopeless Records, switching to Interscope for Dirty Work in 2011, and returning to Hopeless, they have now moved to Fueled By Ramen. The single “Dirty Laundry” is indicative of this change, but its experimental yet emotional nature indicates that this is a positive and exciting new direction.

The song immediately grabs the listener’s attention, as lead singer Alex Gaskarth relays, “I don’t believe in saints.” There is no real introduction — the song simply starts — and it is extremely effective. Throughout the rest of the song though, we get to hear instruments build upon each other and crescendo, creating a sense of anticipation. After the first verse, a faint guitar riff foreshadows the melody of the chorus, which contributes to the ominous quality of the song. The experimental chorus acts as a sort of electronic drop (which felt very strange coming from this band), but after the second chorus and Rian Dawson’s drum fill, it feels like classic All Time Low. Gaskarth’s vocals become rawer, and the drawn-out build becomes totally worth the wait — it feels triumphant here.

Now this is not the punchiest ATL song out there, but that is exactly the point. This song is about embracing and eventually celebrating the imperfections of someone you love, even though it can be hard to do; this is a delicate and fragile situation, and the progression of the song reflects somebody tentatively and carefully working through this process. The band effectively captures these emotions, and makes it even more obvious in the video. Gaskarth always plays rhythm guitar while also singing, but he never even touches the instrument in this video. This allows him more mobility to accentuate his passion towards these lyrics as we hit the climax of the song.

I must admit that I was bit unsure after first listening to this song. I was surprised at how different the sound was from one of my favorite bands. I liked it, but I was not wholly sure what to make of it. However, I was inclined to listen to it again, and it just grew and grew on me (until I felt inclined to write this blog post). I can’t get enough of the song right now, and I can’t even begin to express how excited I am for this upcoming album, whenever it comes out. It is also quite notable that the group is now signed to Fueled By Ramen, who seem to have a sort of monopoly on mainstream(ish) alternative acts with pop-punk roots: Paramore, Panic! at the Disco, twenty one pilots… This is definitely a good roster to be a part of. My favorite lyrics in the song, “I don’t care about what you did/Only care about what we do,” are hopeful, embracing, and slightly mysterious and romantic; Gaskarth believes in the future, and the future is most definitely bright for this band.

Give “Dirty Laundry” a listen and keep your ears peeled for the new record.

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