Editors' Notes On their eighth studio album, Wake Up, Sunshine, All Time Low have perfected their hook-heavy pop-punk formula—and they’ve done so without falling into the seductive trappings of nostalgia. “There’s a big distinction,” frontman Alex Gaskarth told Apple Music. “We weren’t trying to sound like we sounded 12 years ago. But some of that energy shines through. It’s a really cool amalgamation of everything that’s come before it.” Just don’t for a second think they’ve run out of tricks. The band’s new album runs the gamut of their career, centring on optimistic songs as luminous and unclouded as the title suggests. There’s the self-referential fan service of “Some Kind of Disaster”, the Y2K-era blink-182-channelling “Sleeping In” and the pulsating palm-muted power chords of “Safe”. Then there are moments of unexpected innovation: the rhythmic structure of “Trouble Is”, the country influence of “Favorite Place” and All Time Low’s first foray into hip-hop on “Monsters”. “I hope that when people listen to the album, it’s a reminder of why they fell in love with the band in the first place,” guitarist Jack Bakarat says. “The focus all along has been to get back to the basics—capturing that magic again.” Below, Gaskarth breaks down each song on Wake Up, Sunshine, track by track. “There’s a lot of hope on the album,” he says. “There's a lot of looking forward to a brighter future. And I think that shines through.”

Some Kind of Disaster
“This was one of the first songs we wrote for the record. When we finished it, we all paused for a second and said, ‘Hey, that seems like it would be an amazing way to open a show.’ That conversation evolved into, ‘Well, if we'd open a show with it, why not open a record with it?’ It feels like it's this declaration of our return and an anthemic call-to-arms song. I'd say that it's autobiographical about the band in the chorus: ‘It's all my fault that I'm still the one you want/So what are you after?/Some kind of disaster.’ I ask the fans if they're ready to do this all over again and take this ride again.”

Sleeping In
“When you're with the person you like, you just never want to go to sleep, because it's just too good of a time. You’re still up at 7 am and the next good idea is to put on Britney Spears and have a dance party. I’ve certainly done that many times. I think we’ve all been there. And I love a good pop reference.”

Getaway Green
“I wanted there to be a lot of colour throughout this record. I wanted this to feel very vivid and bright. ‘Getaway Green’ is really about a sense of escapism, but also a SoCal Romeo and Juliet situation, where it's not meant to be but they want it to be, and eventually it's going to be.”

Melancholy Kaleidoscope
“It was a weird day in the studio. Nothing really seemed to be clicking and I was in a weather-induced funk. I was feeling some crazy seasonal depression. I wasn't in the mood to write uplifting music. And Zakk Cervini, our producer, came in with this idea for a fast, uptempo, Warped Tour-esque song. It's just not where my head was, so I made it a challenge for myself to make it work. In doing so, I started to take steps towards getting my head in a better place. ‘Melancholy Kaleidoscope’ was maybe the second [song] we wrote. It shaped the tone of the album, once I got over that hurdle.”

Trouble Is
“This was a fun one from beginning to end, because we challenged ourselves to do something with a weird, rhythmic cadence. It's these intervals of six and then seven, which is not an easy time signature to write a pop melody around. It actually ended up working really, really well. And then the song settles into 6/8 for the chorus, which just always feels big. It became this fun little math project. It's not like we're a sophisticated, techy math rock band, anyway. We're playing pop rock here at the end of the day.”

Wake Up, Sunshine
“It is the overall idea that in a world that feels like it's falling apart, and in a situation where it's very easy to self-doubt and become your own worst enemy, hanging on to the idea that someone out there is all about you is something that can really help pull you through. Knowing that all it really takes is just a connection with one other person out there can sometimes be the thing that gets you moving in the right direction again. And I think that sentiment echoes throughout the entire album.”

Monsters (feat. blackbear)
“We've never really gone there before as a band, we've never really featured a rapper on anything. And so it’s like, 15 years into a career, there's still some new things to try, and that happened to be the right one in the moment. It was really cool and special.”

Pretty Venom (Interlude)
“[This is a] 3 am-er. We write our dark songs late at night. The song's very reflective. I think it hearkens back to some of the woes throughout our career where we felt resentful towards people who didn't have the band's best interest in mind, and I got to speak to some of those things—just about how someone else's poison can poison you and it changes you as a person, and suddenly their toxicity is making you toxic.”

Favorite Place (feat. The Band CAMINO)
“When we wrote ‘Favorite Place’, we all recognised that we were pulling some of [The Band CAMINO’s] influence. And so it only felt right to reach out to them and see if they wanted to be a part of it. Because it felt like, in some way, they had contributed to the writing of the song. They ended up enjoying the song and wanted to be a part of it. It was really fun. I love when you see some camaraderie between labelmates.”

Safe
“We all jokingly said that the songs we wrote in Nashville have a bit of a Nashville [sound] playing throughout them in some way, like ‘Safe’, ‘Favorite Place’ and ‘Getaway Green’. They could all easily translate to what I think would be pretty rad country songs. So eventually we're going to have to make a Y'all Time Low record.”

January Gloom (Seasons, Pt. 1)
“This was written during the session in Nashville in January [2019]. It was cold, rainy, miserable. It was just a difficult time. I felt myself really weighed down by it all. I felt a little bit aimless and I didn't have a ton of direction. Similar to ‘Melancholy Kaleidoscope’, my lack of inspiration served as inspiration. And so, in this song, I'm talking about sitting alone with the voice in my head, saying, ‘Give me something.’”

Clumsy
“‘Clumsy’ feels like a really staple All Time Low song that speaks to the legacy of the band. You could put it on almost any All Time Low record at any time in All Time's history and it would make sense, even though it sounds like the 2020 version of All Time Low. The lyrics of this song are all about loneliness and why you end up lonely.”

Glitter & Crimson
“To me, this song is about two characters who are deeply in love, whose love is not allowed to be that by [a certain] society. They're gay, and they don't feel like they're accepted in their own skin for who they are, or for who they want to love. It’s a cry out to seize that power back and saying, ‘No. You don't get to dictate how we live our lives.’ Obviously, I can't speak to that, being a straight guy, but I know a lot of people who live that experience every day. And it was something that felt very meaningful that I wanted to address for them because they can’t [in this way]. They aren't songwriters.”

Summer Daze (Seasons, Pt. 2)
“‘Summer Daze’ is a song about that celebratory feeling of elation that you get from, like, a summer camp romance. It’s that honeymoon phase where you know it's probably going to come to an end because it has to, but at the time, it was just everything.”

Basement Noise
“That’s how it all wraps up—an ode and a tribute to our humble beginnings, having this big dream of hopefully getting out on the road someday and making a go of it. If you'd told us back then that we would be doing this 15 years later, record number eight, I don't think we would have ever believed you.”

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