Admittedly, I’ve never been an All Time Low fan. Their overproduced music seemed teeny-bopper tailored, which was also reflected in their uncomfortably young, girl-heavy crowds. Now the value in that is huge; it attracts a crowd of “normies” to pop-punk that would likely otherwise stick to Ed Sheeran and the like. But it’s a scene probably unattractive to typical blink-182 or Green Day fan, and definitely doesn’t draw anyone from, say, the Buzzcocks generation.

All Time Low was the Smirnoff Ice of pop-punk until their recent release of Wake Up Sunshine. Each track is nuanced with the opener “Some Kind of Disaster” being an absolute standout. While its first verse leaves listeners believing they are in for nothing original, the catchy chorus provides more substance while the bridge kicks the song into high gear before a stellar finish.

“Melancholy Kaleidoscope” is the catchiest song on the album while “Drive” is nicely layered tune perfect for blasting on long, summer road trips, uplifting enough to make you forget about that face mask you’ll have to wear upon arrival. “Getaway Green” and ‘Wake Up, Sunshine” have a cozy 90s pop-punk feel to them. “January Gloom’s (Seasons, Pt. 1)” is maybe the best written song on the album, which includes a pair of nice collaborations.

There really isn’t a skippable song on Wake Up Sunshine. Even the atmospheric interlude is worth the repeat button. While the album drops in quality a smidge as it approaches its end, “Basement Noise” is a feel-good closer nodding to the band’s humble, Maryland roots.

Lyrically the album excels; there aren’t any cringeworthy tunes to speak of. The production is excellent and each track is distinctively different from the other. Wake Up Sunshine is All Time Low’s most completely album. It exemplifies how pop-punk bands should develop. It also dropped during the onset of the coronavirus shutdown, providing a much-needed uplift for the fanbase.

There’s nothing to complain about here. Wake Up Sunshine isn’t going to change the world, but it’s an excellent album and should attract new fans to All Time Low. 

author: PunkIsNotDead


All Time Low have made a comeback after two years with their eighth studio album, Wake Up, Sunshine. Released on 3 April 2020, it encompasses two decades of experience and artistry into an album that will be universally loved. 

This release was no doubt supposed to be the soundtrack to many summer getaways, but instead will have to rely on nostalgia. The listener yearns for the comforting embrace of musicians they haven’t listened to since their teenage years, no doubt stuck inside their former bedroom ‘Sleeping In’ and resolving never to take a summer day for granted ever again.

The collaboration with Blackbear on ‘Monsters’ runs with the throwback to brighter times; the R&B artist first shot to the Top 20 of the Billboard Chart in 2015 with ‘idfc’. ‘Monsters’ has a catchy melody and addictive chorus and immediately stands out for its pace and energy. 

Ninth track ‘Favourite Place’ featuring The Band CAMINO carries the home comforts of a childhood bedroom and ties nicely into the lyrics: “‘Cause I’m not too far / and you’re my favourite place”. Similarly, ‘Safe’ is a gentle, plucked guitar melody with intentions to round off a long day. 

The motif of noughties nostalgia is explored in different ways, but finds its place in each track. ‘Clumsy’ makes use of distorted, spacey verse vocals bridged by a bouncy, pop-punk chorus, before ‘Glitter & Crimson’ takes things downbeat with a gentle acoustic melody and muted drum beats. Headphone users will be able to hear guitar riffs and vocal harmonies that just wouldn’t sound the same on a speaker or through a computer.

‘January Gloom (Seasons, Pt.1)’ is an upbeat song with a laidback bridge, where frontman Alex Gaskarth’s vocals slide over the melody like butter. Its continuation, ‘Summer Daze (Seasons, Pt.2)’ has low bass guitar and upbeat drums, with the nostalgic feeling emerging in: “Sad summer days don’t fade away / don’t fade away from me no”.

‘Sleeping In’, ‘Getaway Green’ and ‘Melancholy Kaleidoscope’ are all fast-paced, bright tracks with loud drums and trademark rock guitar. You remember how it feels to have the wind in your hair and the sun on your face — a sensation many of us are no doubt pining for at the moment. 

‘Trouble Is’, throws you head first into an disorientating pattern of beats. The chorus is also the same, and doesn’t have a set rhythm. This matches the feeling of the lyrics, describing a breakup or parting: “Trouble is / I don’t wanna let go”.

The song flicks the switch to moody noir; title track ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’ continues to explore the darker side of the record, slowing things down with an interlude before the cut back to business as usual in ‘Safe’. ‘Interlude: Pretty Venom’ has magical verses and chorus, and is a slow paced, acoustic plucked guitar track. It is another close favourite, with reminders of adolescent classics such as Panic! At The Disco and Twenty One Pilots.

Lyrically, the bleaker moments provide space for reflection, and the band comes out of its moody spell urging the listener to “see how good you are.” The instruction to see the good in ourselves is a reminder we could all use right about now.

In a Forbes interview, Gaskarth said that the album hoped to “give fans a sense of comfort amid the turmoil, much like it did for the band members as they made it”. And, as the album finishes with ‘Basement Noise’, it certainly feels as if the band have achieved this aim. The track has an emotional edge to its melody, and the distorted vocals at the beginning give it a dreamy effect. It almost feels like you are lying down and looking up at stars – perhaps those glow in the dark ones you stuck to your childhood bedroom ceiling when you were younger. The lyrics reflect the band’s journey as musicians, the track a perfect end to a stellar comeback.

Wake Up, Sunshine was a fitting introduction for me to get back into the music I loved when I was younger. If you’re looking for a mood boost, I’d recommend you put on some headphones, sit back, and transport yourself back to your own ‘Favourite Place’…  

author: Amelia Oprean


“I woke up on a Tuesday // Felt like a Friday night to me… // Everyday’s a holiday // We stay hot when it’s cold outside, you know // Haven’t left your place in days,” All Time Low sing on “Sleeping In”, a track from their eighth studio album Wake Up, Sunshine. In the spring of 2020, many, many people are no doubt nostalgic for the time mere months ago when staying inside for just days felt extreme. Wake Up, Sunshine is itself something of an exercise in nostalgia going back even before the early part of this year, as suggested by not just the cover (which mocks the audio information which was commonly printed on the front of albums in the early Sixties), but even to a degree the title, which seems more reflective of some of the optimism which pop music trumpeted in older days.

That said, it’s probably a bit ironic (intentionally, we can hope) for the Baltimore pop-punk outfit to open an album called Wake Up, Sunshine with a song called “Some Kind of Disaster.” Still, the track is bright, energetic and an overall a decent starting point. The bouncy, aforementioned “Sleeping In” keeps things awake, while the ambiguously titled “Getaway Green” is another fun and exciting up-tempo ode to escapism. The title track is a tight, solid rocker which introduces a surprising but effective hair metal hook between the chorus and the verse while the overall song presents a positive message consistent with the theme (“Wake up, sunshine // ‘Cause somebody loves you for yourself”).

“Pretty Venom” (good title!) then introduces what’s essentially the middle section of the album (it’s even subtitled “Interlude”), the “sad” part, first with this mid-tempo acoustic number. “Favorite Place”, follows as a collaboration with promising Memphis rockers The Band CAMINO. This track is an uplifting, poignant entry into rock’s “I-Wanna-Come Home” lyrical subgenre (“’Cause I’m not too far //And you’re my favorite place”). A pre-listen peek at the track listing would make it hard not to notice the songs called “January Gloom (Seasons Part 1)” and “Summer Daze (Seasons Part 2).” Though the latter title is a bit of an overused and annoying cliché. By this point, coupled with the album’s cover artwork, it should be obvious that we may be dealing with that anomaly known as a concept album. The good news is both “seasonal” songs are tight and catchy pop.

Wake Up, Sunshine closes with “Basement Noise”, one of those autobiographical songs about an artists’ musical career (“… just stupid boys making basement noise”). A navel-gazer like this tune may seem like a rite-of-passage for a band that’s been around as long as All Time Low has at this point. Unfortunately, this last-minute thematic departure does nothing about the relative sameness in terms of the sound and feel on most of the album. All Time Low’s biggest strength probably lies with lead singer Alex Gaskarth, whose voice is more listenable than most others in the genre, which is particularly fortunate since as a start-to-finish listen, the album tends to become a bit droning by the third act. Still, Wake Up, Sunshine probably won’t have many less discriminating fans of the band or the genre of pop-punk in general.

author: Richard John Cummins


All Time Low became a band in the year I was born, 2003. They’re actually a month older than I am. Four members came together in the suburbs of Baltimore and built their pop-punk empire through years of guitar-smashing, rockin’ concerts and impressive albums.

I became a fan of the band in the middle of 2015 and quickly became obsessed. The obsession dated back to “The Party Scene” in 2005 with “So Wrong It’s Right,” “Nothing Personal,” “Dirty Work,” “Don’t Panic” and “Future Hearts” quickly following.

“Future Hearts” basically discerned my music tastes for the last five years. It included hits like “Something’s Gotta Give,” “Kids in the Dark” and “Dancing with a Wolf” which showcased each amazing talent from the band. Alexander Gaskarth made new strides in his vocal range, Jack Barakat was able to jam out but also create touching riffs on guitar, Zack Merrick absolutely killed it on bass throughout the album and drummer Rian Dawson elevated the album in a new way that he hadn’t done on the previous ones.

After “Future Hearts,” I was expecting another fantastic album. A couple of months went by, and the band released cryptic clues and excited fans about a new album even more. However, when “Last Young Renegades” released in June 2017, I, along with a lot of the other fans, couldn’t help but be a little disappointed.

It’s not that “Last Young Renegades” was bad, it was that the album wasn’t classic All Time Low. There were good songs, like the title track and “Afterglow,” but the overall vibe was off. It was a darker path that they hadn’t explored much. It felt like they were forced to take a new path that wasn’t comfortable with them.

So, when I heard that their eighth album “Wake Up, Sunshine” was to be released on April 3 I was excited but also nervous. I didn’t let myself get expectations up just in case the album was bad.

I listened to the album straight through the minute it came out, and I couldn’t be more pleased to say that there was no need to fear all along.

“Some Kind of Disaster” was first up on the album, and was also the first song to be released. On Jan. 21, I finally let go of some of my worries as I listened to it for the first time. The song is incredibly upbeat in nature and has an incredible climax right after the slowing down of the bridge. The drums are steady, the bass is subtle, the guitar supports the song and Gaskarth’s vocals kick off the album in an authentic All Time Low style.

Next on the album is “Sleeping In,” an upbeat want-to-dance-around-the-room song. In this song, the bass takes more prominence in the verses while the guitar kicks in during the chorus. The quick tempo also adds to the fun of the song, as well as the lyric “dirty laundry,” an Easter egg for fans of the track “Dirty Laundry” from “Last Young Renegade.” In the last album, it meant secrets that pile too high cause damage, but in this case, it’s accepted as a sign of life and how a healthy relationship can thrive even with it.

“Getaway Green” definitely stands out among the album. The song was previously played in a few concerts and was electric when performed live. Fans like me were desperate to hear the studio version, and it did not disappoint. Barakat starts the song with a strong guitar, and it keeps going throughout the whole song. The best part of the song is definitely the bridge, where Gaskarth’s vocals are brought to the front line while a simple guitar and drums support it. Overall, it’s a great song to shout along to.

Following “Getaway Green” comes another rock song in the softer “Melancholy Kaleidoscope.” It’s still very much a rock song but it has a softer tone as it goes to the chorus and onward. This is definitely a song where Dawson does a great job of drumming throughout. The song also stands out in lyrics with drops of wisdom “can’t be 100 if you’re only giving 95.”

“Trouble Is” starts with a misleading vibe, but eventually builds to an incredible chorus. Gaskarth’s vocals shine in the chorus as he sings the main lines with his own back-up vocals. An incredible bass line also sneaks its way in and out of the spotlight. This song mixes what was good about “Last Young Renegade” and also the parts that were a bit more questionable, but still earns its place on the album.

In the first 12 seconds of the title track, the song was going in a million different directions all at once before it finally settled on a rocking guitar and drums. To me, this song stood out because it was a sign that All Time Low was back. It’s an upbeat song to blare on a car radio throughout a scenic drive while you and your friends shout along. The song stands out on the album for both the stellar fun lyrics and the incredible instruments.

“Monsters” featuring Blackbear is a song that completely took me by surprise. The song dramatically opposes “Wake Up, Sunshine” with its darker tone and lyrics. The genuine surprise lied in was the rap verse in the middle of the song. It was the first All Time Low song that even contained one, but it added on to the song in a brilliant way.

Another dramatic opposition comes in the form of the interlude, “Pretty Venom.” It has a darker tone like “Monsters” but has a softer touch. It brings in a softer quality from both the acoustic and electric guitars that haven’t really been heard since tracks like “A Daydream Away” and “No Idea” from “Dirty Work.” It tells a similar story to “Monsters”, but it contains a much more regretful tone. Once again, different, but still a good song.

The Band Camino is another favorite of mine, and their influence is definitely obvious as they perform “Favorite Place” with All Time Low. A strong drum kicks off the song along with the layered guitars from The Band Camino’s album “Tryhard.” It combines soft rock elements from “Future Hearts” and indie rock elements from “Tryhard” to make a catchy song that has a deeper meaning spread all throughout.

“Safe” isn’t a song that particularly stands out but has a good message especially in this era where things can barely be trusted as the world falls down all around us. It has a tone similar to “Kids in the Dark” from “Future Hearts” in where it’s an anthem about counting on underlying courage and using it to move forward in life.

“January Gloom (Seasons, Pt. 1)” starts off with a strong guitar and bass but leads to a softer chorus that builds throughout the song. Overall, not a bad song, but its somewhat sad tone offsets the good parts.

After the previous two tracks, “Clumsy” comes in like a brilliant ray of sunshine. The song immediately hooks the listener in and demands it holds attention throughout the entire thing. Vocals, guitar, bass and drums all have their individual moments in the song but come together in an amazing way. It’s reminiscent of “Break Your Little Heart” from “Nothing Personal” in the lyrics, but instead of being happy about breaking another’s heart, it’s regretful in a way. It definitely ranks high in terms of the entire album and is possibly among the best throughout All Time Low’s long career.

Another top-ranked song on the album is “Glitter and Crimson”. It tells another story of a rocky relationship against the world, but it’s overall sweet and melancholic. In this song, Merrick’s bass finally shines along throughout. Gaskarth also brings out never heard before vocals in the bridge, where it’s very close to pop-punk screaming, but it’s done tastefully and doesn’t take away from the song, but rather adds to it in a meaningful, heartfelt way.

“Summer Daze (Seasons, Pt. 2)” was everything that “January Gloom (Seasons, Pt. 1)” was not. It was upbeat with incredible instruments and a happier vibe that’s very similar to “Getaway Green”. With lyrics like “nothing gold can stay you told me so,” referencing a poem by Robert Frost, it hits close to home and can be relatable for everyone.

The final track on the album, “Basement Noise,” is a soft anthem for long-time fans. It tells the story of the boys playing in the basement for band rehearsals in the early stages, and how no matter the fame they gain, they’re always going to be “stupid boys making basement noise.” With a muted guitar and drums, the lyrics drive the song forward and leave the album on a bittersweet note.

Overall, the album was so much more than expected. There were surprises all throughout, and hints of past albums and memories brought more than a few tears. From Blackbear’s and The Band Camino’s features to impressive vocals and instrumentals and to the hard-hitting lyrics, this album feels like All Time Low is back, and that they are back for good.

Whether someone is a dedicated fan of the band or not, the album is still a great piece of work with many different songs for fans of pop-punk, alternative and rock genres.

Rating: 8 out of 10

author: Morgan Vehige


It was 2018 when pop-punk veterans All Time Low took a much-needed break after over a decade of hitting the pavement hard. It was warranted as any onlooker could see where the band was heading as they continued to run on fumes. Their 2017 full-length, Last Young Renegade, fell flat in the pop-punk group’s discography. They veered away from their sound to experiment heavily with the sonic landscape of the record, trying to tie it all together as a concept album. This, mixed with their leaving of home-bred label Hopeless Records to sign with Fueled by Ramen, created a body of work that didn’t quite connect. They went on to release a couple of one-off singles that felt more authentic to who All Time Low was, but the songs still didn’t feel as sturdy as they could be.

The group shortly found themselves taking a step back to do some musical soul-searching. All the members dabbled in projects, but it was frontman Alex Gaskarth and lead guitarist Jack Barakat that were most notable. Gaskarth teamed up with Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus to create an alt-electro duo titled Simple Creatures that found Gaskarth gleaming in a genre that he’d never journeyed down before. Barakat, on the other hand, helped in creating an infectious alt-pop side project, WhoHurtYou, that let the guitarist try to take songwriting by the horns. Fast forward to 2020, and it seems like the year of growth and musical recharge served its purpose as their comeback, Wake Up, Sunshine, feels like modern nostalgia of the culmination of the entire band’s discography. 

The ninth studio album documents All Time Low at their best. Soon after rerecording 2009 record Nothing Personal for the 10-year-anniversary last year, it felt like a vessel for jumpstarting much of the sound that is jam-packed in Wake Up, Sunshine. The record also couldn’t have come at a better time. With the state of global isolation, the pop-punk scene needed some familiarity to help distract them from the foreseeable future. The pop-punk scene needed a new All Time Low record. And, they delivered, as their April 3rd release was chalked full of the fizzy, poppy-punk anthems that the group does so well. Bursting at the seams with that top-down, screaming loud sound that dominated their earlier works, it’s a refreshing reminder of the powerhouse that All Time Low is when they get it right. Wake Up, Sunshine isn’t just a return to their roots musically, but it is a return to the themes of young love and the ever-chasing-youth that has always been their sweet spot. 

Running down the pre-album singles that were released, it’s opener “Some Kind of Disaster” and “Sleeping In” that pack the biggest punch. Playing to their strengths, they both reminiscence on the group’s biggest influences- Green Day and Blink-182. “Some Kind of Disaster” rides a feverish chorus, amplifying the electric rollercoaster that is found in any Green Day great. “Sleeping In,” though, pushes with heavy, roaring drums and fun melodic vocals while including a pop culture reference with, “If I said I want your body, would you hold it against me? Seven in the morning while I listen to Britney” that oozes with early 2000’s Blink. 

Surprisingly, the title track is a strong effort for the record. “Wake Up, Sunshine” is anything but a corny relief as it falls more into the category of self-love that could be the elevated sister of Future Heart’s “Missing You.” A genius play by Gaskarth here to provide a more laidback surf-rock sound as the song sits confidently in the middle of the record- the perfect break in between. The track bleeds into “Monsters” featuring Blackbear, which is one of the two features that is found on the album. Dabbling in the more experimental, this slick, electro-rap/rock blend feels more at home on Last Young Renegade than it does here, but it still offers a decent performance regardless of how fast it fades from memory. The other collaboration, “Favorite Place” featuring The Band Camino, braces the storm much better. It is a golden, uplifting tune that becomes an earworm as soon as one hears the infectious, booming chorus even though the lyrics focus on the downturn of distanced love. 

Elsewhere on the record, “Safe” is an addictive slow-burn that soars with a guitar-charged chorus that would be done a disservice if it isn’t listened to speeding down a highway with friends, “Glitter and Crimson” displays a stunning vocal from Gaskarth at its bridge while “Clumsy” is another highlight that could be easily slotted into a modern day So Wrong it’s Right. The soundscape plays off the grit of Don’t Panic while Gaskarth’s vocals mimic that of early All Time Low. It acts as a time machine for any long-time fan who is always just looking for something nostalgic.

The spotlight of the record, though, must be handed to the heartfelt closer, “Basement Noise.” Arguably the most impactful closing track from any All Time Low record, the song is a sentimental ode to the band’s origin story- documenting how they started playing in the basement of drummer Rian Dawson’s house back in high school. Most songs that relate back to an artist’s roots can come across stale and generic, but one doesn’t find that here. Featuring Gaskarth’s best lyricism of the record, “Basement Noise” is a seamless recollection of memories and nostalgia packed into a musical shoebox. It’s poetic. It’s raw. It’s real. And, it ties in everything the band has transformed into 15 years later.

Gaskarth’s lyrical prowess, though, doesn’t begin and end with “Basement Noise.” Instead, one sees the peaks of Gaskarth’s creative writing and ever so beloved metaphors and synonyms that dominated earlier works like Dirty Work and Don’t Panic all throughout. With lyrics like, “Alive in the age of outrage and outrageous behavior. They say it’s a calling. Are you living well in living hell?” in the title track, the evocative, “Turned the desert all to glass. Dropping bombs on future’s past. Nothing’s left for us, shadows dancing in the ash” that tumbles from “Clumsy,” the wordplay, “Serendipity and summer showers. We soak it up like flowers growing through the concrete, but nothing gold can stay” hummed in “Summer Daze,” or the thought-provoking, “How long can we be happy if happy ain’t good for us? ‘Cause being less ain’t good enough. But, being us feels good to us” that dominates “Glitter in Crimson” it is obvious that Gaskarth has rediscovered his lyrical groove.

Wake Up, Sunshine is a timestamp moment for a group like All Time Low. While it does revisit certain themes that have revolved around the group’s discography, there is a newfound fond that feels refreshing for the group to explore in deeper thought. One gets the sense of nostalgia that radiates from the record, but it’s a modern feeling of growing up and self-discovery that catapults the band forward instead of just recreating their past. It gives that fuzzy comfort of brighter days and hazy adolescence that has always gravitated fans to All Time Low’s sound. Wake Up, Sunshine feels like the sun cascading onto your face, and in these gloomy times, that is exactly what we need from music. This is definitely an album that will make others remember why they fell in love with the band in the first place. 


author: Hope Ankley


As Basement Noise, the closing track on Wake Up, Sunshine, deftly reaches its dreamy, nostalgic end, Alex Gaskarth and his bandmates are left singing a cappella: ‘Just stupid boys making basement noise in the basement.’ It’s the perfect note on which to conclude All Time Low’s eighth album for a number of reasons. For one, it’s a literal – albeit self-deprecating – statement about the making of the record, with the quartet collectively joining forces under the same roof to live and breathe this music together for the first time in years. But even more importantly, it charmingly captures the mood of Wake Up, Sunshine as a whole: thoughtful, light-hearted and, yes, even a little bit sentimental.

That’s not to say that All Time Low were desperately needing to recapture their essence here. But the band – Alex, guitarist Jack Barakat, bassist Zack Merrick and drummer Rian Dawson – had taken something of a left-turn on 2017’s Last Young Renegade, favouring conceptual storylines and a sleeker sound over the bright pop-punk that had soundtracked albums of their past. Alex has previously described this seemingly temporary vibe as “moody, neon, and like driving through the city streets at night time”. Now, the haze has lifted, and All Time Low are practically glowing.
If you’ve already taken a quick glance at Wake Up, Sunshine’s 15-song tracklist, you might have guessed this, and the Baltimore crew boast enormous confidence across the second-longest album of their lives (behind 2015’s Future Hearts). Crucially, each song is deserving of its place, with Alex’s songwriting talents in particular given the opportunity to flourish. Opener Some Kind Of Disaster sets the precedent early on, expertly twisting and turning from warm, mellow rock, to epic, anthemic sing-alongs and peppy pop-punk, as the frontman himself declares, ‘It’s all downhill ’til it’s a climb / Through blood and tears but I don’t mind / I’ll just keep singing on and on and on.’ Sleeping In and Getaway Green follow suit superbly, before early highlight Melancholy Kaleidoscope somehow manages to mask gloomy lyrical themes of seasonal depression within outrageously infectious melodies. It is the audio equivalent of a Vitamin D injection.

What becomes more clear as the rest of Wake Up, Sunshine plays out, though, is that All Time Low are both fine-tuning what has always made them so great, but also dabbling with new ideas. Trouble Is plays with an experimental time signature, while January Gloom (Seasons, Pt. 1) boasts a genuine attitude from Alex as he confronts his winter blues and admits he’s ‘A victim of the season / Need a better reason to be miserable.’ On Monsters, meanwhile, hip-hop star blackbear provides a powerful rapped second verse in what is arguably the most interesting, genre-defying collaboration the band have ever worked on. We can presumably thank both Alex and Jack’s non-pop-punk side-projects Simple Creatures and WhoHurtYou for that.

Indeed, these brief stints away from the band have benefitted them enormously, and the overwhelming feeling you’re left with after hearing the likes of Clumsy, Favorite Place (featuring The Band CAMINO) and Wake Up, Sunshine’s title-track is that All Time Low are on the form of their career here. Not only that, but it’s a feeling that doesn’t wear off, and such is the enthusiasm contained within, this is an album that will bring joy to its listeners time and time again. Long may these ‘stupid boys making basement noise’ keep doing what they’re doing.

Verdict: 4/5

author: Emily Carter


Even for longtime fans of the band, many of us were taken back by surprise by just how good Wake Up, Sunshine is. All Time Low have crafted their quintessential mid-career masterpiece that picks all of the best elements of each of their previous studio album efforts and expands upon these landmark moments with glowing results. The songs never stray too far from what All Time Low have accomplished in the past; they do these moments bigger and better on this record. This is one of those albums that grabs you from the very first listen, doesn’t disappoint, and still leaves you with a feeling of warmth and comfort through each of your repeat spins. In an age where some bands are postponing their releases in favor of garnering more attention in the fall, All Time Low have graced us with an early-summer treat that will stay in our daily rotations for the foreseeable future.

Alex Gaskarth paints a self-loathing picture of himself on the opening track and first single, “Some Kind of Disaster,” as he sings, “I’m a liar, I’m a cynic / I’m a sinner, I’m a saint / I’m a loser, I’m a critic / I’m the ghost of my mistakes / And it’s all my fault that I’m still the one you want / So what are you after? / Some kind of disaster.” This type of self-doubt quickly fades away, though as Gaskarth and his band ooze with confidence and swagger as the rest of the record unfolds. For example, on “Sleeping In,” All Time Low crank up the guitars and coast through the song with newfound ease with shimmering pop verses and a speedy chorus. The improved song structures and approach to their songwriting truly shows all over the LP and All Time Low have very little left to be desired. Each song feels like it takes on its personality and still fits succinctly into the bigger puzzle that is Wake Up, Sunshine.

“Getaway Green” is easily one of the more confident songs that All Time Low have written, and with its excellent guitar attack courtesy of Jack Barakat and Gaskarth, it never loses its momentum. Drummer Rian Dawson has some underrated fills in the track and helps make the chorus hit its intended heights. The song displays a great bridge too, as Gaskarth sings, “Do you want to know how the story ends? / Hazy and spun out, just more than friends / Weekend wonderful, a dizzy dream / A colorful lie, we made a hell of a team.”

Other songs in the front half of the record, such as the cleverly titled “Melancholy Kaleidoscope,” remind fans of the Last Young Renegade and Don’t Panic eras with subtle nods to their past work. From the humming sirens that play in the background of the verses to the overall metaphors of taking the time to do your self-care, the one lyric that stuck with me is the repetitious one of, “You can’t be 100, if you’re only giving 95.” If we don’t aspire to be the best version of ourselves that we can be, then what’s the point? Even somewhat straight-forward All Time Low songs such as “Trouble Is” never feel out of place on a record that has more redeeming moments than any of the recent ATL albums I can think of.

The title track is pure guitar-pop bliss and solidifies everything that the album has going for it. From the great build-up verses to the summery-feeling chorus, the song demands to be blasted on your next care-free drive into the city. The first half of the record closes out with “Monsters” that features a unique collaboration with rapper Blackbear. The driving bass line from Zack Merrick makes the song stomp with the some of the swagger that we have grown accustomed to from pop-punk veterans Fall Out Boy, but now All Time Low are taking their own stab at this type of scene royalty. The rapped verse from their collaborator doesn’t seem as out of place as I was anticipating, and if anything, it actually provided a little more variety to the album.

The interlude sandwiched in the middle of the album provides the listener with a brief chance to reflect on the material from the first half and take a collective breath to prepare for the great songs that follow. “Favorite Place” features another collaboration, this time with The Band CAMINO, and showcases some cool guitar work in the opening moments that initially reminded me of early-Angels & Airwaves. It could have been the best moment on the album if not for the pure gem of a track in “Safe.” It’s on that song that All Time Low come to full terms with their maturation as brilliant songwriters, regardless of what genre you want to plug them into. As fucking massive as the chorus is on this one, the bridge really stuck with me too as Gaskarth sings, “Just put the car in drive / And chase the county lines / You never know how far you’ll go / Ride the coastal highs / For every long goodbye / There’ll be a future down the road /
Why don’t you take a little time to get away?” The vocal effects on the bridge don’t distract from the beauty of the lyrics.

The latter half of the album features two songs that reflect on the changing of time (“January Gloom, Seasons, Pt. 1” and “Summer Daze, Seasons, Pt. 2”), and both of them further balance out the feelings that come with each passing season. The other songs around it, such as the dance-hall ready “Clumsy” are some of the best work of All Time Low’s career and only further showcases a band that genuinely fired on all cylinders on Wake Up, Sunshine. By the time you reach the concluding track of “Basement Noise,” it becomes that much clearer that the direction that All Time Low took was the right choice in the right moment in time for both themselves as people, as well as artists.

Wake Up, Sunshine checks all the boxes on what longtime fans of All Time Low have grown to be drawn to from the four band members, yet they still manage to blow away all preconceived expectations on what their band is or could become. This is a record that is going to stick with me for quite some time, and I’m sure everyone will be able to come back to it whenever they need that pick-me-up moment to help them get through their day.

author: Adam Grundy


Since taking time out to focus on their personal lives and respective side-projects, Baltimore pop-punks All Time Low are back at it again with their eighth full-length, ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’.


Lead single and anthemic opener ‘Some Kind Of Disaster’ showcases All Time Low sounding the best they have in years. It’s mature pop-punk whilst still producing those infectiously catchy hooks that has become such an integral part of their now 17-year long career.

The titular track perfectly sums up this new era that the band are entering. It feels like they’ve dusted off the darker experimental past of 2017’s ‘Last Young Renegade’, allowing ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’ to emerge into this refreshingly new and exciting phase.

The record offers up some highly impressive collaborations; ‘Monsters’ features rapper blackbear, and, although the thought of the two genres combining might not be to everyone’s taste, it’s surprisingly one of the album’s standout moments. It shows a new side to the band mixing up this popular contemporary option whilst still retaining their signature sound.

Secondly, ‘Favorite Place’ features The Band CAMINO, and is a much more pop-infused love song where the blend of Alex Gaskarth‘s and Jeffrey Jordan‘s vocals work seamlessly together.

If there’s anything All Time Low are renowned for, it’s their ability to create songs that translate to live shows perfectly and naturally, and this album is no different. ‘Safe’ offers up an impressive drop into a feel-good chorus, whereas ‘Glitter And Crimson’, although a much more stripped back ballad with some mildly questionable rhyming of supernova and four-leaf clover, is an idyllic sing-along track which will without a doubt be a hit with fans.

Working alongside one another to bring attention to Gaskarth‘s first experience with seasonal depression are ‘January Gloom’ and ‘Summer Haze’. The former deals with the misery that the weather can impact on your mental health and wanting the season to be over, whilst the latter, with its distorted pop guitar riffs (very reminiscent of a Simple Creatures sound) flips this situation and instead desperately tries to cling onto the feel-good summer weather.

Although they’ve made such an impressive comeback, the band have still retained this quintessential All Time Low pop-punk sound that both old and new fans alike will adore. ‘Getaway Green’, a track which was debuted almost a year ago at Slam Dunk Festival, along with ‘Clumsy’ encompass the style and tone of tracks you’d have found on 2009’s ‘Nothing Personal’. It acts as a nice nod to long standing fans without feeling like they’re regressing their sound.

Closing the album, ‘Basement Noise’ is full of sentimentality, and it doesn’t take long to work out this is about their humble beginnings of after school band practises. The song’s highlight lays in the final moments with no instruments, and just the lyrics “Just stupid boys making basement noise in the basement”, lingering on this really poignant moment for both the band and fans alike.

‘Wake Up, Sunshine’ provides a breath of fresh air, combining this feeling of teenage summer vibes without ever coming across as cheesy or immature. They’ve taken all the right elements of pop-punk and in turn have created a straight-up feel good comeback album. It’s safe to say that All Time Low have never sounded so good.

author: Stevie Blackburn


When we look back on All Time Low‘s musical career to date, the Baltimore pop punk four-piece have constantly churned out some of the catchiest songs in their genre. They’re the one band who’ve never really taken an extended break or hiatus and while a music vacation might have been a nice idea after some questionable records (ahem… Dirty Work), you can be assured that the guys in All Time Low are doing things on their terms. They’re strongly passionate about their art and one of (if not) the hardest working band in the game. While for me personally, they haven’t released a solid album since 2015’s Future Hearts, and Last Young Renegade (2017) was semi-decent in hindsight but didn’t quite captivate me. So going into Wake Up Sunshine, I had high hopes in that they would restore my love for the band and their infectious brand of pop punk.

Wake Up Sunshine begins with ‘Some Kind Of Disaster’ and it’s the comeback single we’ve been yearning for. Leading with the line “I’m a liar, I’m a cynic / I’m a sinner, I’m a saint / I’m a loser, I’m a critic / I’m the ghost of my mistakes”, the band are displaying their battle scars loud and proud, quietly wishing the same for their listeners. It’s a loud, heart strung anthem for those who’ve lived a life full of adventure and/or regret, but these don’t make you any less of a person than the next. ‘Sleeping In’ sees the epic return of rigorous pop punky riffs, a staple during All Time Low’s breakout years. This song instantly took me back to the So Wrong It’s Right and Nothing Personal days, and I’m sitting here thinking “yes!! All Time Low is back baby!” all while listening to that eponymous Blink-182 like riff, and I have a strong feeling this is Song of the Year material. However, following track ‘Getaway Green’ also has Song of the Year potential. Explosive punk riffs, intertwined with that pop/rock sound and tongue in cheek, catchy lyrics is how I fell in love with this band all those years ago. The band seemed to have really reconnected with their younger selves again, and seeing as Nothing Personal is my all time favourite album from the band, they’re nailing it so far.

The catchy nostalgic hooks continue with ‘Melancholy Kaleidoscope’, which sees All Time Low back in their prime element. I can’t help but notice they’ve added in a memorable lyrical metaphor though here, only in the form of “Light a fire in the coldest hearts, fillin’ up the halls // That’s another lit match to burn” (OG fans, remember that infamous line in ‘A Party Song’“Lit a match just to heat things up, but I got more than I bargained for”). The relatable feels are all too real on ‘Trouble Is’ and is guaranteed to bring back familiar emotions back in your mind. It’s an ode to that ex-flame you keep going back to but you know you shouldn’t. I could play this song over and over repeatedly, and those emotions still wouldn’t disappear. “The trouble is, you’re a part of me.”

Coming into the title track of the album, ‘Wake Up Sunshine’ is a song that speaks to your inner self, a mental health check if you will. It’s the wake up call we all yearned for in this current day and age. Sonically, it’s the music All Time Low are aiming for; a band with universal reach. Finishing with the line, “are you living well? Are you living for yourself?” this song (and album might I add) is a call-to-arms for people everywhere to check in with their head. ‘Monsters’ initially gave me a new-age Fall Out Boy kinda vibe, and I wasn’t convinced at first. However, after giving this track a few more chances, it ended up being quite enjoyable. This track was the perfect opportunity for the band to experiment musically, without straying too far from their range. The addition of Blackbear presents an opportunity for the band to gain some universal reach, it’s very alt/pop and they didn’t completely lose themselves here.  Albeit the interlude label, the band begins to travel in a more sombre note from here and ‘Pretty Venom’ definitely feels more like the pop ballad of the record. OG fans may write this off immediately, but I reckon everyone needs to be more open to interpretation with this track.

It’s no lie that All Time Low have always aimed to enter the mainstream pop arena in recent years, and ‘Favourite Place’ is a great example of this. They’ve collaborated with US act The Band Camino for this song. While The Band Camino have yet to enter mainstream radio stations here in Australia, these guys have gained huge traction overseas with their pop/rock tendencies., making themselves leaders behind 5 Seconds of Summer, and if you have time, definitely check out their album, tryhard. Balancing synth-pop effects with soaring anthemic rock chords, ‘Favourite Place’ is a loving gesture to your significant other. From its calming, soothing nature to the soaring stadium rock feels towards the end, it’s a solid progression from All Time Low, and this follows on to the next track. ‘Safe’ feels much more like familiar territory, channelling a similar tone to the more sombre tracks of Nothing Personal, and I sense that this song will make itself ever so popular in due course (like ‘Time Bomb’ did back in the day).

It’s pretty obvious by now that the latter part of Wake Up Sunshine lacks some oomph and pop punk energy. However, what the band has done on this half of the album is focus much of their pent up energy to writing empowering, catchy lyrics and boy oh boy, they have definitely nailed the songwriting throughout the album. ‘January Gloom (Seasons Pt. 1)’ feels like an edgier, new age All Time Low, and they get even edgier down the track. ‘Clumsy’ rejuvenates new life into the music with its groovy, danceable beat and therefore makes for an absolute standout of a track. This track is a game changer for the genre, and is solid proof why All Time Low are leaders on their own. Alex Gaskarth channels his inner Oasis on ‘Glitter and Crimson’ for an epic rock ballad. This song is going to sit at the top of many fans’ favourite songs, and will be a holistic standing ovation at future live shows.

The upbeat, danceable riffs return once more on ‘Summer Daze (Seasons Pt. 2)’ but on a lighthearted, poppier tone. Feeling like some obscure Good Charlotte track, it definitely adds some alternative edge to Wake Up Sunshine. The band wraps up the record with a quirky synth pop track. ‘Basement Noise’ is a reflective story of the band’s past and their memories, and it feels like they’re asking us “where do we go from here?” It’s a wholesome finish to an album that ends with standalone vocals singing “we’re just stupid boys making basement noise in the basement.” 

Bravo, All Time Low. You’ve managed to reignite my love for you once more, and in the best way possible. Wake Up Sunshine captures the band’s youthful energy towards pop punk ever so effortlessly, whilst also rejuvenating new life into an edgier version of themselves. The band seemed to have lost their essence in recent years, however they’ve managed to rediscover themselves once more and in hindsight have pushed out some of their best material to date. Wake Up Sunshine is a rollercoaster of highs and lows, mirroring the portrait of life itself. While you’re listening, make sure you check in with yourself too: are you living well? Are you living for yourself? 

Rating: 9.5 / 10

author: Tamara May


“How do you sit still when your head’s on fire?” Not sure that we have a good answer for that, but certainly some fuel for excitement is about to arrive in the form of All Time Low’s latest, Wake Up, Sunshine. Fueled By Ramen delivers the melodies on Friday, April 3rd, 2020.

Formed in Towson, Maryland, in 2003, the much beloved All Time Low made their full-length debut in 2005 with The Party Scene, and the rest has been a steadily-evolving collection of Billboard-charting albums, popular singles, and sold-out headliners. Buoyed by additional albums such as 2007’s So Wrong, It’s Right, 2011’s Dirty Work, and 2017’s Last Young Renegade, the band have toured the globe with Pop-Punk heavy-hitters such as Green Day, Good Charlotte, and Fall Out Boy, to name but a few.

Seasoned veterans of their scene, the band—Vocalist/Guitarist Alex Gaskarth, Guitarist Jack Barakat, Bassist Zack Merrick, Drummer Rian Dawson—are preparing to unleash their eighth full-length studio offering, Wake Up, Sunshine. Produced by Zakk Cervini (Good Charlotte, YUNGBLUD), and with collaborations from Dan Swank (Maggie Schneider, Katie Joy) and Phil Gornell (Deaf Havana, Hot Milk), the 15-song collection seems All Time Low trying to find a place to finally be comfortable in their own skin. An endless mental battle for many, the title and the tracks come together to form a mantra, one that invites fans to embrace their individuality, step out from under the gray clouds, and find their personal nirvana.

They open Wake Up, Sunshine with “Some Kind of Disaster” and the confession that Gaskarth is both a “liar and a cynic,” but also, thankfully, a saint. Proud to be a walking contradiction, he offers the insightful admission that “you have to hurt sometimes to learn to heal.” Upbeat sonics contrast the track’s deeper, more self-reflective and candid lyrics, all as we get our very first glimpse at an evolved and matured All Time Low.

Catchy, fast-paced “Sleeping In” utilizes a sexy pick-up line in a witty way that’s infectiously memorable, much like the music of Britney (who they name-check in the song). Then, they get even more bubblegum on the summery, windows down “Getaway Green.” That all turns upside down, however, as they drive into the eerily Green Day-esque “Melancholy Kaleidoscope,” melody and melancholia all in one lovely little package that feels immediately familiar and comforting.

Continuing to flash their influences for the hungry gawkers, “Trouble Is” sports a Good Charlotte influence that bops and rolls straight into the titular “Wake Up, Sunshine.” Delving into some gritty Rock-n-Roll guitars that meander across the landscape, here the band celebrates that, despite the living hell of life, someone can love you for exactly who you are. Yes, it is possible to find someone who appreciates you for you! (And that’s the story, morning glory.)

“Monster” goes deep into a darker groove, crafting an ominous earworm that features guest artist blackbear. Meanwhile, at three minutes, the deadly sweet acoustic “Pretty Venom” is much more than a traditional interlude. A poisonous little palate cleanser of carefully plucked strings and the most delicious emo melancholia, it bridges the gap between “Monster” and “Favorite Place.” A melodic rocker that features The Band CAMINO, the latter is an upbeat toe-tapper full of lush harmonies.

Gaskarth’s vocals continue to soar to new heights on “Safe,” and then lead his bandmates into the funky “January Gloom (Seasons pt. 1).” Next, embracing their inner Icarus, the radio-ready “Clumsy” is the story of a love that flew too close to the sun and fell apart. All this before Dawson gets his chance to truly shine on the percussion of the (mostly) acoustic “Glitter & Crimson.”

In the end, they are especially reflective on “Summer Daze (Seasons pt. 2)”, a sultry stomp through the sands of time, before they reach the album’s closer, “Basement Noise.” Looking back at being “stupid boys,” the nostalgic track is a sweet note to end on, an autobiographical tale of a group of boys who gave it all for their music—and it all started in a Maryland basement. While that is certainly their past, All Time Low continue to travel forward from their humble beginnings as they conclude an album that is a gentle blend of Melodic Rock and Pop-Punk, one that is easily-digestible but also candid.

Sure, there are bubblegum fluff tracks (“Getaway Green,” “Trouble Is”), songs heavily reminiscent of Green Day (“Melancholy Kaleidoscope,” “Wake Up, Sunshine”), and pretty much everything in between, but Wake Up, Sunshine keeps its tracklist flowing, utilizing its odd little quirks to expand its sound profile. Die-hards, no doubt, will be happy with the 15-song tracklist, though for the casual All Time Low fan this might seem a bit daunting. Either way, even if you simply pick and choose, there’s plenty of excellent material on the disc to uplift and inspire. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Wake Up, Sunshine 4 of 5 stars.

author: Jeannie Blue