In 2003, four Towson teenagers formed All Time Low — first to play Blink-182 covers, and then their own original songs. And while the quartet has never quite made it to household name status like Blink or Fall Out Boy, they took a similar route to pop-punk fame: summers on the Warped Tour (All Time Low headlined twice) and eventually mainstream acceptance on MTV’s “Total Request Live” (the band’s 2008 breakthrough “Dear Maria, Count Me In” was voted onto the TRL countdown).

This week, All Time Low’s ninth album “Tell Me I’m Alive” missed the Billboard 200, the first album by the band to do so since their 2005 debut “The Party Scene.” Five of the band’s previous albums made it to the chart’s top 10, with 2015′s “Future Hearts” reaching their highest peak at No. 2. “Tell Me I’m Alive” did, however, debut at No. 37 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart, which measures digital, CD and vinyl sales, without taking streaming into account. Still, All Time Low is arguably more visible than ever after 20 years together. And in Baltimore’s celebrated rock scene, Beach House is the only other contemporary band with a couple of top 10 albums to its name.

The three years since All Time Low’s last album have been eventful, to put it mildly. After being ignored by rock radio for a decade, the band finally broke through with 2020′s “Monsters,” which was No. 1 on Billboard’s Alternative Airplay chart for 18 weeks and stayed on the chart for a record-breaking 88 weeks. In 2021, however, allegations began circulating on Twitter and TikTok that the band had behaved inappropriately with underage female fans, and guitarist Jack Barakat was accused of sexually abusing a fan when she was a minor.

All Time Low have categorically denied all accusations against its members and filed a libel lawsuit in 2022. But multiple bands dropped out of a tour with them amid the scandal. And over the past decade, serious allegations against acts like Blood On The Dance Floor and Front Porch Step have raised questions about dangerous patterns of behavior between performers and their much younger fans within the Warped Tour culture.

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During the recent tumult and controversy surrounding the band, All Time Low released a couple of underperforming singles that were left off “Tell Me I’m Alive.” But the album’s lead single “Sleepwalking” — a slick synthesizer-heavy variation on frontman Alex Gaskarth’s familiar formula of bittersweet breakup songs — recently became the band’s second No. 1 hit on alternative radio.

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All Time Low never lost themselves in synths and trap drums entirely like Panic! At The Disco, but their music now is a lot glossier than anything on 2008′s “Nothing Personal.” And a couple of the writing credits on the album give hints to the band’s commercial ambitions now that they’ve gotten some Top 40 airplay. The propulsive “The Other Side” was co-written with Bonnie McKee, who wrote several chart-toppers for Katy Perry and Britney Spears, and the power ballad “Calm Down” was co-written with Maroon 5 bassist Sam Farrar.

The opening title track on “Tell Me I’m Alive” is a bubbly midtempo track with a plinking piano riff and autotuned vocals that swerves abruptly into blisteringly fast hardcore riffs in its last 30 seconds, as if the band wanted to pack the album’s entire spectrum of sounds into one song. But “English Blood // American Heartache” and “Kill Ur Vibe” are the only numbers on the album that sound like they would excite anyone who started listening to All Time Low because of early singles like “Dear Maria” or “Weightless.” And with some pretty alarming stories still hanging over the band, All Time Low will probably need to do a lot more than write a good chorus to win back some of their fans now.

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