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The Used - Imaginary Enemy (Cover Artwork)

The Used

The Used: Imaginary EnemyImaginary Enemy (2014)
Hopeless

Reviewer Rating: 3


Contributed by: RENALDO69RENALDO69
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Used are a polarizing band. Bert McCracken usually finds himself writing about love, drugs and a bunch of things you'd think an adult would be able to sift through a little better. No judgement there, because I always appreciated his spin on things and the fact that it shows how human McCracken .
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The Used are a polarizing band. Bert McCracken usually finds himself writing about love, drugs and a bunch of things you'd think an adult would be able to sift through a little better. No judgement there, because I always appreciated his spin on things and the fact that it shows how human McCracken is. Imaginary Enemy shifts things up a bit as their most political statement to date in a record that's divided into two facets. Firstly, it's about wondering how America's politics shaped the nation for the better and for the youth. Secondly, it's about the cliches that we may have outgrown and the typical angst of Bert. Either way, it's very mid-tempo and the most catchy in their catalog while providing enough fodder for the gents to tell more substantial stories than the earlier days allowed.

Songs like "Evolution" and "Cry" are crafted for radio and Hot Topic teens. The angsty and heartache elements are a bit heavy, even heavier than they usually shoot. "El-Oh-Vee-Ee" sums up how catchy and poppy The Used decide to go and make no mistake, they're pretty cool songs. Cheesy? Yes but again, songs that in measured doses, you wouldn't mind. They lay on this aspect of the album a bit thick at times but their political sounds do well to negate these lighter elements to The Used's music.

Electronic and synth-beats are thrown in amid the democratic anecdotes and it's AFI-influenced at times. These little snippets are very difficult to ignore and admittedly, don't always hit the mark. However, hearing the band's take on the political landscape come "A Song To Stifle Imperial Progress", "Imaginary Enemy" and "Generation Throwaway" play neatly off the band's inexorable poppy sound and brings forth an interesting narrative. Mainly because the band doesn't reinvent the wheel or show major steps of progression but as simple as their musicianship is, they nicely weave their deliberations into catchiness and a sound you'd expect to be hitting the MTV blogs in waves.

Their first two records were gritty enough and anthemic on their own to put a nice edge on pop-punk and were definitely tailored to the era when post-punk mixed with screamo had you jacked at Warped Tour. As emo as they were though, The Used lost the plot in recent years and struggled to grow musically, whether it be experimenting with their sound, or sticking to their basics. This album though bridges the gap a bit with a lot of old elements coming back as well as a hint of songwriting for the future - with more than a personal purpose. It's nothing evolutionary or mindblowing by the band's standards but as a fan of the old days, it's a step up from what they've done in their last couple gigs. Here's to hoping they strike the balance of the 2000s once more seeing that this offers us a glimmer of hope.

 

 
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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.
rsaulomar (April 2, 2014)

Never really liked so much this band, however my girlfriend was excited for their new album.
So... i gave it a try and I liked it.
Well produced and the bass lines are great.
3, 4 good songs.
Dont know what is it against this band from everybody...
They arent that shitty

Russe11 (April 2, 2014)

lol this band

misterspike (April 1, 2014)

I have to admit, I'm amazed these guys are still around.

rabbit (April 1, 2014)

that thing of scrapping the music and then rerecording around the vocals ... that sounds fucking awful. i kinda really want to hear it.

telegraphrocks (March 31, 2014)

Last good Hopeless release was the AAA/CR split in 2005. So... 9 years.

As for The Used.
I used to love their first record, but now I only (embarrassingly) will admit to liking about half of the album. I like the first song on "In Love and Death", and nothing from "Lies For The Liars". It was with that album I totally stopped giving a shit, which (I think) was generous of me. I only clicked on this review out of curiosity.

Oh, wait... Mustard Plug's "In Black & White" was good enough... 2007... 7 years since their last decent release.

greg0rb (March 31, 2014)

I don't think I've listened to, let alone bought, anything on hopeless in 10 years.

davebrave4 (March 31, 2014)

And am I reading correctly that this album is on Hopeless Records? How sad is that?

davebrave4 (March 31, 2014)

To the person below me: that sounds like an awful way to make an album.

blanktapesemptybottles (March 31, 2014)

I'm really interested to hear this album, because they actually scrapped all the music, recorded the vocals and they built the music to the vocals

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