Posted by Ryan Kappy on 10/13 at 02:35 PM
There are times when I am walking to class and I want to listen to a band that will make me feel like I’m in eighth grade again - a time when I used to listen to mostly pop punk bands like Yellowcard or Sum 41. That’s exactly what I did when I put on This Time Next Year‘s newest album, Drop Out Of Life. This album took me back to my earlier youth bringing out all the excitement of discovering new music. From Walnut Creek, CA, and with a roster that includes Peter Dowdalls (lead vocals), Brad Wiseman (guitar, backing vocals), Denis Cohen (guitar), Travis Pacheco (bass), and James Jalili (drums), the band has released an album that is easy going for the listener. The album is filled with pop punk tunes and sing along choruses that will have you yelling the lyrics out right back to your listening device.
The first track is the album title track and it kicks things off right with a chorus that explains a typical teen’s life in escaping reality. Dowdalls sings: “I want to drop out of life and get on with my days. Drop out of life and have something to say when I’m dead. Well its you, no not me, that’s gonna hurt like hell.” This track is followed by the song, ‘Better Half’ that is more of a catchy tune where its introduction and bridge parts draw you in.
‘Living Hell’ is my favorite track of the record. It starts with a fast intro lick before exploding into the full band that has you bobbing your head. The chorus has me singing along with the lyrics: “I’m not working anymore, I never wanted to see this through cuz I despise everything that I do, everything that I do, let it be my fate.” This song is followed by ‘Last Call’ which is a light-hearted number. It reminds me of 90s pop, but in pop punk fashion. The song, however, has a tendency to have chord progression that are too repetitive, and I was looking for some more dynamic changes. ‘Modern Day Love Story’ has a sing-along chorus, again, with the whole band. It should be a fan favorite. The bridge consists of a solo that is very clean and that might inspire some air guitar.
The track ‘Spoontonic’ gives a groovy riff that starts the song off with another 90s pop feel in the chorus. The guitarists utilize their harmonic side by playing different riffs that overlap each other in the bridge and making nice transitions in the song. ‘Matchbook’ goes back to the old school pop punk style with jumpy guitar progressions and love lyrics that have Dowdalls screaming out to a significant other. The only flaw of this song is that there are too many vocal duties with “Oh!” and I thought the band could add more lyrics instead of using the same vocal line. ‘My Side Of Town’ is another example, like the previous track, in which it continues the transition of the old pop punk style, but with gang vocals incorporated into the chorus.
‘Get It, Got it, Good’ is the song that automatically excites your ears with its overall performance as the band picks it up considerably in their sound. The main riff has the bouncy feel that is heard in previous punk records followed by a catchy chorus and bridge that features a great bass line by the talented Pacheco. The next track, ‘Note,’ shows technical musicianship in the verses and a bridge that has a slow measure. Dowdalls sings to these lyrics: “Don’t say it’s over, don’t say it’s done, don’t speak, you just keep bringing me and beating me black and blue.” The last track, ‘This is an Airport Train,’ begins with a soft intro with both guitars playing arpeggios to accompany the verses. The last chorus features the most gang vocals used in the album in order to close it out with a bang.
The main thing about the album that keeps it from being in the ‘A’ range, is that it could have had more originality in how the songs were composed. All the tracks have a common sound that could very well integrate into one big pop punk song. Nevertheless, it’s a fun album and serves as a breakthrough for the band in terms of maturing their sound. It has been said that the album can be compared to New Found Glory’s critically acclaimed self titled album. Chad Gilbert (who had guitar and vocal duties in New Found Glory) produced the record so there is a huge influence on his part on Drop Out Of Life. I recommend the album to any listeners who have an ear for catchy tunes. You can buy the album on amazon.com:
Author: Ryan Kappy
Bio: Ryan Kappy is currently a senior majoring in Telecommunications and Economics. He enjoys listening to all types of music, playing guitar, watching and playing different sports, playing video games, and eating different types of food. His ideal type of music is alternative rock, pop punk, metalcore, and both hardcore and post-hardcore genres. His favorite bands include Blink-182, New Found Glory, Rise Against, Brand New, Thrice, and Bayside.
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