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Taking Back Sunday - Taking Back Sunday (Cover Artwork)

Taking Back Sunday

Taking Back Sunday: Taking Back SundayTaking Back Sunday (2011)
Warner Bros.

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: thepopeofchili-townthepopeofchili-town
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Taking Back Sunday marks the return of guitarist/vocalist John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper to the band of the same name. Self-titling the album was a bold move, and feels like a symbolic gesture on their part. It is the first album in nine years from what many consider the band's "classic" lineup.
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Taking Back Sunday marks the return of guitarist/vocalist John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper to the band of the same name. Self-titling the album was a bold move, and feels like a symbolic gesture on their part. It is the first album in nine years from what many consider the band's "classic" lineup (although this reviewer personally feels the band has only gotten better since then). Even though this particular group of musicians hasn't recorded an album together in quite some time, they sound like a well-oiled machine here, and have created arguably the best album of their career thus far.

Things kick off with a bang in "El Paso", bar none the heaviest song the band has ever recorded. With chugging guitars, a Nirvana-esque bassline, and throat-shredding screams from both Nolan and lead vocalist Adam Lazzara, it feels akin to what the group's friends/rivals/contemporaries in Brand New did with 2009's "Vices". Indeed, many of the album's tracks, such as "Faith (When I Let You Down)" and "It Doesn't Feel a Thing Like Falling" have a more muscular rock sound than we've heard from the band before. The band has been headed in this direction since 2006's Louder Now, but this is the best they've ever been at it.

Album centerpiece "This Is All Now" is a huge highlight, with a reggae-esque drumbeat and some busy guitar work from Nolan, that features perhaps the catchiest chorus the band has written. If released as a single, it should sit quite comfortably on rock radio next to Weezer and Foo Fighters.

"Who Are You Anyway" doesn't fare quite as well. It feels like two entirely different songs spliced together. Two pretty decent songs at least, but the transitions are a little shaky.

Somewhat surprisingly, Adam Lazzara's lyrics are one of the album's strongest suits, with couplets like "I know you mean well with your ancient code of ethics. / Lead by example, could you imagine Christ hitting a child?" from the aforementioned "This Is All Now", and "Skin against skin, covering bone. / The body you're in is aggressively slim. / You earned the clothes you put on it / to cover up where you've been" from "Sad Savior". It's clear he's come a long way since the days of "I got the mic and you got the moshpit."

With the buzz of this lineup's reunion still lingering, it would have been easy to make Tell All Your Friends Part 2. The fact remains that these men are in their 30s now. Trying to rehash the high school melodrama of Tell All Your Friends would have been embarrassing. Kudos to Taking Back Sunday for not taking the easy way out. They've created an exciting, challenging album that feels like a new beginning and a culmination of prior work all at once.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
keithybobeefy (July 30, 2011)

I really really like 'Who Are You Anyway'. It's my favorite on the album.

flowerfeeder (June 30, 2011)

Great post, Paul. Couldn't have said it better myself.

overdefined (June 30, 2011)

Brian has spoken.

inagreendase (June 30, 2011)

'Tell All Your Friends' still rules. If you lack overall fondness for early 2000s emo then of course you won't like it.

overdefined (June 30, 2011)

"but it meant a lot to me back then"

thepopeofchili-town (June 30, 2011)

TAYF meant a lot to me in high school too, and I'll still throw it on once in a while, but I can admit it's not very good musically. Same story with Your Favorite Weapon. Both bands got way better afterwords.

paulrulzdood (June 30, 2011)

TAYF is a classic, whether you want to admit it or not. In the Summer of 2002, there were few bands doing the sing/scream "emocore" for lack of a better label sound. By the Summer of 2004, there were countless TBS clones like Hawthorne Heights, Matchbook Romance, Senses Fail, etc. Bands mixing emotional pop and heavier music. But in 2002, you had like, Finch, Thrice, Thursday and these guys.

TAYF was far more clever than All Time Low and bands like that. The interweaving vocal lines by Adam and John were cool and something few bands were doing. The lyrics were trite at times, but songs like "Cute without the E", despite the dumb title, has much more depth to them than what most poppy bands do today.

They took the dynamics and complexity of Thursday and mashed it up with the pop-punk sound of Saves the Day. It worked. That's why they're still popular a decade later, despite constant lineup changes. It's all because of that album. Hate on it all you want, but like Blink 182 before them, it doesn't matter what the detractors think or say, history was written, the proof is there. TAYF is a classic. Not one of my favorite albums, but it meant a lot to me back then and I still defend it obviously, for what it was and still is.

Paul

Mystereohasmono (June 29, 2011)

Again, I remember getting Tell All Your Friends for free. Put it on while driving, and as soon as that chode said "I've got the mic and you've got the mosh pit", I immediately ejected it from my cd player and whipped that shit out the window. Awful, just awful.

jeffrocentric (June 29, 2011)

i have to say, more of the same..., this record is the best thing they've done since TAYF. i really like this album, front to back.

www.shinyglasshouses.wordpress.com

AK3punk (June 29, 2011)

I really enjoyed the last album, this one doesn't do much for me. Maybe it will grow on me. "Everything Must Go" was probably one of the best songs they've ever done. I just don't hear anything that powerful on this yet.

thismikeisapipebomb (June 28, 2011)

The "more mature lyrics" are most likely written by John Nolan not Adam Lazarra, hence the noticeable difference. John Nolan was always the primary song writer when they were together and imo was always much more talented in that aspect.

flowerfeeder (June 28, 2011)

I was a fan of TAYF and thought everything they released after sucked. Every album sounded like it was written by a T.B.S. tribute band.

BUT I really like this new record. Very different than TAYF, but stilll solid...dare I say...mature album. Good lyrics.

moistphily (June 28, 2011)

"I think what you guys are failing to realize is that Tell All Your Friends isn't actually any good. It was "right time/right place" situation and you were a certain age and susceptible to being super into it. It's like All Time Low or Fall Out Boy or any of those bands you probably look down on."

I disagree. I listened to that album for the first time only a few months ago and I really like it.

wearestillalive (June 28, 2011)

I actually hated Tell All Your Friends when it came out and really only like it with some hindsight.

colin (June 28, 2011)

"I think what you guys are failing to realize is that Tell All Your Friends isn't actually any good. It was "right time/right place" situation and you were a certain age and susceptible to being super into it. It's like All Time Low or Fall Out Boy or any of those bands you probably look down on."

there's a small truth to that - but it's not that TAYF isn't any good. right time and place albums are and will remain right time and right place albums - give a kid today "dookie," "nevermind" or "dude ranch" (providing they haven't heard any of those bands), and i'd imagine you'd get quite a response. i think TAYF is exactly that.

i'd just say that since TAYF, this band has been pretty abysmal. if you've been paying attention at all to them, you're probably missing out.

Bryne (June 28, 2011)

"I think what you guys are failing to realize is that Tell All Your Friends isn't actually any good. It was "right time/right place" situation and you were a certain age and susceptible to being super into it. It's like All Time Low or Fall Out Boy or any of those bands you probably look down on."

QFT

DaddysLittleGrandpa (June 28, 2011)

I think this album was a pretty big disappointment for fans of TAYF or just fans of their entire catalog in general. It doesn't matter if they're more mature now than they were on their debut - it shouldn't excuse them from putting out mediocre radio singles like they did here. This album lacks consistency and depth aside from the lyrics (even though the choruses are pretty redundant). "Best Places to Be a Mom" and "Sad Savior" were the only ones that I feel stood out. The back and forth vocals between Adam and John were really lacking too, which is strange for any TBS record. The band is deviating into the same trend as "New Again"; write one or two good songs in the midst of musically oblique filler.

overdefined (June 28, 2011)

I think what you guys are failing to realize is that Tell All Your Friends isn't actually any good. It was "right time/right place" situation and you were a certain age and susceptible to being super into it. It's like All Time Low or Fall Out Boy or any of those bands you probably look down on.

NewKid (June 28, 2011)

This is one of those times where I don't think people wanted progression in the band. It fits right in worth the latest output and just seems like the next evolution of Taking Back Sunday. As someone who grew up on Tell All Your Friends, all I really wanted was that part 2 to keep my interest. It's unfortunate they felt the need to push away from that because that sound was unique, this on the other hand isn't.

Eric

alpod4 (June 28, 2011)

it's like reading a review of 'Star Wars Episode III' that says the franchise has only gotten better since 1999.

bulltrail (June 28, 2011)

I was incredibly disappointed by this one, to answer wearestillalive. TBS fares much better as a sloppy emo band than a alt. radio rock band. This is actually probably my least favorite thing they've done. There aren't even really any single songs I would want to keep listening to, like "Liar" or "Bonus Mosh Pt. 2" off earlier stuff. "El Paso" is the only one that comes close, and that's basically a second-rate Brand New rip. It's not terrible, it's just boring as fuck, and that shouldn't be the case when Adam and John are both in the band. They also have some of that 30 Seconds To Mars "whoa" syndrome that seems to be going around. I think they could make TAYF-sounding music in a fresh and "mature" way, but now I know they're not going to.

Good review pope, but I respectfully disagree.

timorous_me (June 28, 2011)

I wanted to like this because I LOVE Tell All Your Friends, but it really didn't do anything for me.

thepopeofchili-town (June 28, 2011)

It's almost nothing like Tell All Your Friends. If that's all you like from them I don't think you'd be into this one.

wearestillalive (June 28, 2011)

I want to read a review of this album by someone who, like me, only really likes Tell All Your Friends before I decide whether or not to bother listening to it.

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