All Time Low - Dirty Work

Album cover
Pop, Rock
Geffen Records
All Time Low
Dirty Work
All Time Low - Dirty Work Review rating:
2
User rating:
Average: 3.7 (76 votes)

After the all-or-nothing attitude behind their last full-length Nothing Personal, Alex Gaskarth and company seemed to have the world in their hands when it came to following up their commercially and critically successful album when they sat down to write the follow-up. Where Nothing Personal still had a great deal of the band’s glossy pop-punk still at the heart of their sound, you could hear they were starting to stray into something a bit more shined up and poppy. Enter Dirty Work. After the splash they made with the first single to surface, the rather out-of-character “I Feel Like Dancin’”, opinions were mixed on whether or not the band could keep the popularity freight train rolling with their fourth full-length record. Sadly, Dirty Work is a huge step backward for a band that has the chops and swagger to pump out catchy tunes with a whole lot of heart. All Time Low may have just lived up to their name with this album, as they water down their sound even further and lose most of what made them popular and ahead of their peers in the first place.

Even if you weren’t on board with Nothing Personal, the band’s pre-NP work stands on its own as solid, if not great pop-punk, with Gaskarth’s voice shining on top of well-written songs driven by buzzing guitars and fun, yet strong drumming. But even a few songs into Dirty Work, you can tell something is off. Overproduced and emotionally flat, there just isn’t much good to say about this album. Aside from the seemingly FTSK-influenced “I Feel Like Dancin’”, a track that even Rivers Cuomo can’t save, we get the slow and sullen “Time-Bomb”, which fails at even creating an interesting chorus to balance out the poor excuse of a verse. Aiming straight for arenas and selling records, “Just the Way I’m Not” features hair-metal-like drum production and a gang-vocal-led chorus that dulls Gaskarth’s usually impressive vocals.

Strange enough, All Time Low seem to be in a completely different world this time around, as tracks like “Forget About It”, “Under a Paper Moon” and “I Feel Like Dancin’” show with unneeded slickness, out-of-body songwriting (not in a good way) and underachieving vocals. It’s been heard before that they can write catchy, strong tunes without sacrificing themselves in the process. Even album opener “Do You Want Me (Dead?)” lacks the punch that their previous openers have harnessed. The question is, what happened this time?

There are a few saving moments on Dirty Work, if you could call them that. “A Daydream Away” is a solid acoustic number with a somber, yet memorable chorus and simple melodies. “Return the Favor” channels a bit of old Panic! At the Disco with epic passages of strings and smooth guitar melodies, though it just might not rock as hard. “Heroes” closes the album in the way we would have hoped the band could have written a little bit more of this album – with crunching pop-punk and huge choruses. Why did they stray so far from this throughout most of this album? This track is more than enough proof that they still have it in them to write these types of tracks, not to mention that they can still do it well.

As far as pop goes, Dirty Work isn’t quite on par with what usually kicks the door down in terms of hook-laden, melody bursting pop that much younger bands are writing with much more success. It almost seems like they did what they wanted to do just because they know they are All Time Low and people would give it a chance. Well, we are, and it just doesn’t stack up, regardless if we take into account what they’ve done in the past. To put it simply, this is a disappointment whether you’re an All Time Low fan or not.

1. Do You Want Me (Dead?)
2. I Feel Like Dancin'
3. Forget About It
4. Guts
5. Time-Bomb
6. Just the Way I'm Not
7. Under a Paper Moon
8. Return the Favor
9. No Idea
10. Daydream Away
11. That Girl
12. Heroes

All Time Low is an American pop punk band from Baltimore, Maryland, formed in 2003. The band consists of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Alexander Gaskarth, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Jack Barakat, bassist and back vocalist Zachary Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson. The band's name is taken from lyrics in the song "Head on Collision" by New Found Glory.

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Comments

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

I enjoy the album for what it is. However, I disagree. They have some quality pop songs here. I think what everyone needs to let go is that they aren't pop-punk anymore. Sure, they are radio fodder, but I would listen to Dirty Work before a Ke$ha song any day.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

See, I wasn't a massive fan of Nothing Personal, but it was at least good. Most of the pop songs here are cheesy or just bad. I don't expect any band (especially one as popular as ATL) to stay 100% true to their roots through 4 records, but we all know they can do better than this.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

The songs here are without a doubt the worst they've put together (minus Heroes), but I think people are giving it too much shit. It's fun. That's all. What I don't understand is how All Time Low gets shit for being cheesy when revered bands like Man Overboard are equally as cheesy.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

Cheesy lyricism can be overcome by good music... cheesy music cannot be overcome by anything.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

Honestly, their best album is So Wrong It's Right, but All Time Low never disappoints with their music. They're an amazing band live and in the studio. They care about their fans unlike most of these artists today and they may have started sounding a bit "poppy," but does that matter when they continue to deliver on every album they put out?

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

There is such a thing as bad pop. I stand by what I have said. They could have done MUCH better with this album and still been poppy.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

You're stupid. You obviously have no idea in this bands history. They started off being a punk-pop band, and now are just changing their sound. So what? Their still amazing. Their not "too poppy", their amazing. You cant compare the past albums they made, to the future ones. Just like everyone else in the world, their musical taste has changed from when they released Put up, Or Shut up. They were barely even adults then. Stop talking bad about Dirty Work. I want you to go through everything they did to make this album as amazing as it is. They had to push back their release date TWO MONTHS, and take songs off of the album. Then after all of that, some idiot LEAKED it. That is just unfair to them. They worked so hard and put so much dedication into it. And for you, some random music idiot, to talk bad about all of that, is ridiculous. It's apparent that you were never an original All Time Low fan.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

I don't need to be an 'original' ATL fan to listen to their older records. I realize they changed their sound, even from the last record. But to say I am stupid because I believe they could have done better job at doing what they are now doing is kind of insane. I mean, seriously, some of my favorite bands have gone completely away from what I loved them for doing and they still sound amazing.

You are more than welcome to disagree with me, because really I know that this band could have done way better than this. I am not asking them to play pop-punk forever, as I know they just don't want to go that way for ten, eleven, twelve, however many tracks. They can still write good pop songs and be a pop band. I don't have a problem with this.

As for it leaking, having to push back releasing it, taking songs off... you can't tell me I should sympathize with them just because they went through some of the hardships of the music business, because then I'd just be pushing something I don't believe is quality material.

In any case, I appreciate you taking the time to criticize my work and opinion, it makes what I take some time out of my life to do worth it.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

OMG THANK YOU!! i think this album is amazing and their best by far. Am in love with Time bomb which is to be their next official record and im so excited!! Love the album and havent got any criticisms. If you dont like it, thats your opinion but dont hate on those that do like it.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

Honestly I can not wait to hear dirty work it is going to be an epic album. The lead single 'I feel like dancing' is not meant to be taken seriously neither are the lyrics its a joke, taking the mick out of modern pop culture. They are going in a new direction they have grown up their not the same people they were when the made put up or shut up or even so wrong it's right. When they made so wrong it's right they were 19-20 now they are 23 they have grown up and changed and their music taste as evolved and grown up with them. Why compare dirty work to previous albums it's a whole new chapter in their life and musical journey. And if you expect them to carry on doing what they were doing when they were teenagers then you reallly need to grow up yourself. All time low are and amazing band whos music has inspired and changed people's lives and their new album deserves to be given a fair shot because i'm sure this album will change and inspire people.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

I don't think this is a fair review. You can not expect them to stay the same throughout four albums over the course of five years. They have grown up and are playing what they want to play, and making it sound as they want it to. They are making the music that they believe and the fans are behind them every step of the way. All Time Low will not make another song that sounds like Circles or Running From Lions, because they have already done that. By comparing little minute and a half clips of songs to previous songs isn't fair to the band. You have not heard the whole album and I think maybe you should slow down and wait to hear it. Alex seems to have put a lot of thought into these lyrics and I think that's commendable. There is no doubt in my mind that the new songs will make an impact on many people's lives and give them hope such as other songs have. No it may not be the punk rock we started listening to, but it's still Alex, Jack, Rian and Zack and that's the best part. They don't change for anyone, and they play from the heart.

I'm sorry that you feel this way, but I for one am stoked for Dirty Work, and could not be happier that All Time Low is continuing on doing what they love.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

We have the ENTIRE ALBUM, the lyrics suck and musically it's a progression backwards that suggests they changed to be a mainstream band. And this criticism is coming from the guy who accepts the album for what it is.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

I have the whole album. Thanks.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

can you post a download link on mediafire?

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

Nope.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

Really?...

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

oh wow.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

LMFAO asking to post a link on mediafire. I agree 100% that this album is far too polished and obviously aimed toward mainstream. But whats to expect their signed to a major label now, they are trying to push for more fans. But honestly i seem to like everything they put out from the original stuff to this. I do think the review was a little harsh though, but really depends on the listener i guess, im probably a little bias anyways so i couldnt give it a fair review either, mine would probably be too high.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

I've listened to the whole album, for starters. For me, this album,when written, was not intended to be any type of sound what so ever, including pop-punk. All Time Low just wanted to make better music than the forgettable tunes of pop-punk (I'm a huge pop-punk fan, but let's be real, besides some shining stars, it can sound the same, and does so quite often). As for the lyrical content, for All Time Low, it is not far off from where they started. If this album was obviously aimed towards mainstream, then the lyrics would have been something along the lines of Ke$ha's "Blow, this place is about to blow-w-w" instead of "Old enough to fall flat on my face,But I walk as they crawl,Slowing down is just a waste of time to let go,Tapping my fingers to the rhythm of a metronome, Counting opportunities" If they were so dead-set on getting fans,(like it seems they were on NP) then yeah, they would've written extremely catchy songs with absolutely no meaning behind them. But they didn't. The song "Guts" alone packs more punch, in my opinion, than all of Nothing Personal. As for the music, pop-punk is known for having songs that sound exactly the same, that do not differ from band to band. But here we are with songs that do not sound the same. I agree that some songs do sound a little over-processed- (like, why is there a kazoo in Do you want me dead?) but the strong guitar, drums, and bass, make up for the slight synth you hear in the background. You never know what's going to happen next in a song, and that's why I love Dirty Work. Nothing Personal was commercially pleasing, and in today's world, commercial has no passion whatsoever behind it. The majority of fans hated it. But Dirty Work has something more that the band regained after losing it on Nothing Personal. And that's passion for music.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

the reveiwer is intitled to his opions but he clearly dosent pay attention too what "meaningful lyrics are" the lyrics in most of dirty work are deeper and have more relation then other songs from ATL in myopion at least Dirty Work is Ground Breaking i hear alot of similar sound to what was in The Party Scene and Put up Or Shut Up the song "I Feel Like Dancin'" is them making a joke about pop music these days Time Bomb even Alex knew it wasent a very strong track hense why he leaked it but once fans got a taste of it they over played it those are my two neagitive comments on Dirty Work but this Record is solid ground breaking Pop Punk and it is the return of Pop Punk too Mainstreme

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

This review was unnecessarily tough. I listened to the whole record, and I really don't hear the vapid lyrics and dead music that this reviewer seems to be hearing. Sure, there are some over-produced duds on the record. I'm not so ignorant as to not admit that. However, questioning the integrity of the band is just uncalled for. All Time Low does not "aim for record sales." They've said numerous times that they don't cared about the number of records the sell. For them, it's really about the live show and the kids who come to those shows.
Overall, I think the record is a huge departure from what they've done before, but I still hear a little some of the qualities that has made thousands of fans fall in love with their music. Gaskarth's lyrics on this record are some of the most vulnerable he's ever written. The strong guitars in "Return the Favor" and "Paper Moon" and "Heroes" are a step in a new direction for this band.
It's not the best record All Time Low has ever made, but this review was too harsh.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

I agree 100%

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

I don't like the album as much as I liked their previous stuff, but its a fun listen. I've been listening to "Time Bomb" on repeat for ages.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

While I can definitely see where you're coming from here, I have to disagree with a lot of this review. I will admit that this is definitely not their best album, but I don't think it's as bad as you made it out to be. Personally I think there's a fair number of pretty catchy songs on here, as well as some good lyrics. While some tracks absolutely are overproduced, I don't find the album "emotionally flat". Even comparing it to So Wrong It's Right and Nothing Personal (which I think you did a little too much of here), it's not a bad album. A different sound, but not bad. If nothing else, most of the songs sound pretty different from one another--something that ATL's not been very good at in the past (there are still songs on SWIR that I can't tell apart until halfway through them. NP was somewhat better about that, but still not great). You also probably didn't need to accuse them of just trying to sell records, because I think if there's one band that doesn't care very much about that, it's All Time Low. But that's beside the point.
Overall, I think it's a fairly solid album, and I like a good number of the songs on it. Again, it's not their best, but I commend them for experimenting and trying out some new sounds, and I think that now that they've got that experience to work from, whatever they put out next will be better. But in the meantime, I think your review was a little harsh, and that Dirty Work's a decent record.

Just my opinion, though.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

Seriously, they can never seem to win, they get ripped on for changing their sound, I bet if they had made 4 albums that all sounded the same they would still be doing the wrong thing by these optimisticly named reviews that better resemble a 13 year old girl bitching more than a review. They can never seem to make everyone happy, haters will hate, so they may aswell write music that they like.

And selling out?, this is their career, the goal is to make money so that they can live comfortably, now that they are on a major label, they have to sell records in order to make a living, as much as people deny it, music is as much a business as it is anything else these days, and it's all about results. The bottom line is that not everyone will be happy, so if you dont like it, dont listen to it. Everybody has to grow up sometime and they did, so if you're waiting for The party scene part 2 or so wrong it's right...again, don't hold your breath.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

Clearly, you missed the memo: good music is never made for solely commercial purposes. Don't believe me? Look at the history of music. Those who did new things that inspired people not only made music, but made the most lasting music. Ironically, I bet they made more in the end than those commercial artists.

And your argument contradicts itself. If they have to make it a career, they are at the will of the consumers, forcing themselves to make music the consumers like, not what they like.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

Seriously, they can never seem to win, they get ripped on for changing their sound, I bet if they had made 4 albums that all sounded the same they would still be doing the wrong thing by these optimisticly named reviews that better resemble a 13 year old girl bitching more than a review. They can never seem to make everyone happy, haters will hate, so they may aswell write music that they like.

And selling out?, this is their career, the goal is to make money so that they can live comfortably, now that they are on a major label, they have to sell records in order to make a living, as much as people deny it, music is as much a business as it is anything else these days, and it's all about results. The bottom line is that not everyone will be happy, so if you dont like it, dont listen to it. Everybody has to grow up sometime and they did, so if you're waiting for The party scene part 2 or so wrong it's right...again, don't hold your breath.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

Can't understand the criticism of this review...it is 100% spot on. As an 'original' atl fan and a pop punk fan I am extremely disappointed as to what the band as become - almost a joke. It is playing perfectly to it's fan base which is now predominantly teen girls. Gone of the days of a fast and fiery pop punk band and now all we have are pop rockers seeking mainstream success. If anyone claims this is a progression/'they cant keep making the same records" you are kidding yourself. This is in now way a progression of their earlier work, rather a change and alteration to seek the dollar sign. The remains of the band I love/d can still be heard in parts through the album but all in all it just further solidified what Nothing Personal begun and has cast them as a teeny bopper mainstream band. I am lucky that I saw them play a gig just before the release of nothing personal and could fully enjoy every single song they played but when I see them at soundwave revolution later in the year I know that I will be watching a completely different band. Amazing band, amazing bunch of guys but terrible musical transformation.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

What happend all time low? I heard the songs and i was surprised i was like so excited to hear it i have to say not the best, i didnt even think i was ATL... Personaly i think The party scene and the Put up and shut up ep where the best ones, so wrong its right was awesome too. Nothing personal was great also. I mean those albums where what made me love there music! But this album... i don't know what's going on this time. But there still a good band anyway. I loved them when they where pop-punk not this... I'm not even sure what this is. Hope they find there way back soon.

Re: All Time Low - Dirty Work

I'm sorry, I don't want to seem like a "butthurt fangirl", but this review is extremely unfair. They can never win, can they? They're either ripped on for being "too poppy in a rock genre", vice versa, or "selling out". All Time Low have never and will never sell out, they will always try their hardest to meet fans after every show even if it means they're threatened with being arrested. They will always write music for the fans, not for the radio or anything else. (I've met ATL and they are as genuine as you can get. They don't care who has been there from Three Words, from Nothing Personal, they don't care how long you've been a fan, they are humbled just to have you there.)

Plus, an awful lot of fans judged the album on I Feel Like Dancin' and abandonded all hope of Dirty Work being a good record. It seems that reviewers are also using IFLD as an excuse for bashing on Gaskarth's songwriting skills. IFLD was written to mock everything that's been put on the radio and dared to be called music -- rather ironically, IFLD has been put on radio for sounding mainstream. Dirty Work has been in progress for over a year, and now that it's a day away from official release, petty reviewers taking out pent-up anger on their paragraphs. You are, indeed, entitled to an opinion, however as a reviewer you are not expected to take the review so personally.

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