Throughout DAY6’s prolific career, they’ve fused their core rock band sound with various genre influences. I tend to prefer when they aim for the pop jugular — even better if it involves 80’s synths and anthemic choruses. With this in mind, there’s a lot to love on their newest album. The group has taken a more electronic approach this time around, which feels like an exciting evolution for them. But even framed within these new stylistic diversions, title track Sweet Chaos is something of a red herring.
The song is as (mainstream) punk as the guys have ever gone. I love a good punk attitude, especially if it’s accompanied by a loud, messy, cathartic song. But, I never enjoyed the Fall Out Boy / Panic! At The Disco craze of emo punk that swept the States back in the mid-00’s. I found too much of the music to be whiny, affected and — quite frankly — obnoxious. As polished as Sweet Chaos is, it verges a little too close to that particular sound for my liking.
Chaos’ highlight is definitely its percussion. Drummer Dowoon gets a lot of fan love, but casual listeners might not always have the opportunity to appreciate his skills. That won’t be the case here, as the instrumental is forged almost entirely on stomping percussion that borrows from swing rhythm. In this way, the sound instantly reminded me of Green Day’s 1997 hit Hitchin’ A Ride. Thankfully, DAY6’s cavalcade of skilled vocalists are much closer to Billie Joe Armstrong’s charismatic sneer than the dime-a-dozen emo wails of days gone by. Still, I’m not a huge fan of Chaos’ circular chorus. It’s catchy and performed with verve, but its heavy repetition comes close to cloying. With that said, I love the track’s unrelenting energy and willingness to tackle new sounds within idol pop.
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I have to apologize, because the drum line that starts the song is a half kick drum away from Adam Ant Dog Eat Dog and Goody Two Shoes era, and now I can’t hear this song as anything other than a tepid cover of some kind of unreleased Adam Ant song.
That said, it’s ok. Not quite as good in a retro way as “days gone by” or “time of our lives”, but it will do.
OT: here’s a thought. What if Adam Ant had recorded “Zimzalabim”?
Yes, punk sultan fabulousness. You’re welcome.
Yes! I predicted your final rating correctly! I guessed that something about the heavy pop-punk style wouldn’t vibe with you!
As for me, well, I’m an absolute sucker for Day6… and the very emo punk craze you’re not a fan of. I was never a big fan of the emo fashion itself, but I unabashedly loved the angsty affected edge in the music of the day. What can I say? Difference between generations, no doubt.
This song has the most seamlessly weird prechorus modulation that I’ve heard from Day6 yet – and they really enjoy modulation their prechoruses! It pivots from B minor to F major by using a Bb major chord in place of the first inversion F# major chord that they already used as a passing tone in the verses (they’ve only got one note of a difference, after all). Then this new key lasts for about five seconds before going back to the familiar A major chord, spending a brief half-second on F# maj second inversion, and jumping back to B minor for the chorus. The whole prechorus is tiny, but it acts as a nice sonic detour that instantly arrested my attention on my first listen.
I feel like the chorus is repeated in the same way too much, and it could have done with some variation at the final repeat. I also wish there was something more going on with the bridge – maybe some more interesting harmonic shenanigans would have been nice? This song has a little too much chorus, but I really enjoy it regardless. I fully admit, I am biased. I love the pop punk vibe in the verses. I also really enjoy the chorus, despite my gripes with it. And of course, I’ve gone at length about the prechorus already. I’d probably give this an 8.75 – I’m hesitant to call it a 9 yet, but there’s always the possibility.
I’m interested to see what song will be your Buried Treasure. Entropy has them fooling around with a lot of new sounds and chords from what they’re used to. (Also, I feel a motherly sort of pride in your praise of their vocals. Yes, Day6 is one of the few groups I still actively stan!)
As someone who likes the punk vibe I am really enjoying the song. It’s like getting to live the music that I mostly missed out on cause I was a kid when it happened~ like, being overly dramatic about shit? Yes please thank you very much
But these days you have YouTube. We only had a VCR recorder if we were lucky.