Review Summary: Taking Back Sunday are on a slippery slope of aural devolution. I hope this is not their legacy.
I must recall the days of My Chemical Romance-the pop-punk band on a rather steep decline-when I listen to Taking Back Sunday's fourth LP, New Again. Both bands have something in common besides being derivatives of rock; that is the fact that they have seemed to reach the apex of their musical career with their debut LP. Let's face it, very few of the listeners whom had listened to My Chemical Romance's debut were impressed with their arguable sophomore slump. In spite of this album's cliché lyrical content and rather generic, mediocre pop-punk stylings, this sonic cry for help was the band's breakthrough into the mainstream. Subsequent releases from this band showed their tumultuous devolution into stagnancy, thus leading to abhorrent aural exploits. This fate, however unfortunate it may be, seems to be the same for Taking Back Sunday, as their fourth album shows them taking back nothing but the charts.
I'll admit, there are the evident pop sensibilities that are showcased here; that is expected of the genre though, and frankly, Taking Back Sunday have executed these pop sensibilities far more adeptly than they have on this experience. No longer are there the ineffably perceptible refrains that are found on “Cute Without The E.” No; the polar of progress has occurred here. Unfortunately, the song structures here just scream conventionalism. On earlier works, Taking Back Sunday were able to surprise listeners by piquing the listener's interest often. Whether the mode of effecting said interest was by adding their signature dual-vocal stylings to liven up particular sects of the songs or by ending the song on a rather discordant note, the listener, no matter how jaded, was interested at least for a little while. Here, on this album, the dual-vocal stylings are hardly present, and these sects being effective is a bigger rarity. The fact of the matter is, no matter how much “emotion” (aka: vapid lyrics relating to failed romances of the past two decades) is present on this album, the vocals can either make these emotional words into diamonds or busted pipes. Unfortunately, the album accomplishes the latter in the vocal department.
Whether the vocalists add their rather diaphanous contributions in the form of rather bland vocals that seem to be for accessibility purposes only, or to accent otherwise shaky sections in the song, the contributions are rarely successful. This can be seen on “Sink Into Me”. This track rarely features the aforementioned dual-vocal approach that the vocalists once executed so well; in exchange, they add in rather cliché hand claps and cringe-worthy “Hey! Hey!”'s. This song begins to show that whilst the band proves they can still craft a fun chorus, they can no longer make the verses worthwhile at all. They just have no direction, like a nomad without a map. “Catholic Knees” and “Capital M-E” take this fault and exemplify it to the Nth degree. None of what is done here is effective, groundbreaking, or all that interesting in the least. Although it seems obvious that if being an interesting outfit is not your forte, originality had better be, it seems that this obvious epiphany has left the minds of Taking Back Sunday's creative force.
Tracks like “Carpathia” are contrived efforts at recreating the magic that was showcased on their back catalog. This track never encompasses all that the band once represented, and the track seems to be a half-hearted effort. “Lonely, Lonely,” seems to be a rather simplistic and hollow attempt at achieving the same fate that the aforementioned track fails to do. Others like “Cut Me Up Jenny” are meandering, upsetting tracks of no real importance to the album. Filler on a pop-punk album is a major detriment as it is. One does not need said detriment to an album of such quality. By now, it seems that the listener is to forever be entirely disappointed with this record. With conventionalism playing as much a part in this album as the disappointing vocals, this album is overall a lackluster effort on the part of this notorious pop-punk outfit. However, the epic last track offers more hope than all the highlights of the rest of the album combined. “Everything Must Go” shows that maybe all of this mediocrity will go far, far away in future releases by the band, as the lack of intrigue the other songs possess have not reached this track. For once, the lyrics are not jocular. They are transformed from sheer words in the hand of fools to adequate poetry in the hands of musicians who have devolved as songwriters. In spite of this adept closing track, the album is by no means a success; it is a sad fate that Taking Back Sunday has come to this.
To close, it saddens me to see such an album come out of the hands of a musical group who have shown time and time again that they are indeed competent. Armed with vapid lyrics, predictable song structures, boring and uneventful tracks that serve no purpose, New Again shows that Taking Back Sunday have lost their punch. Their flavor has subsided like bubble gum, and perhaps it is time to throw this flavorless piece away.
FINAL RATING:2.1/5-Taking Back Sunday are on a slippery slope of aural devolution. I hope this is not their legacy.
Please do not neg because you disagree with me. I find this album to be immensely boring and bland, and I hope you can see my standpoint, rather than write this off as, "OmGGGZzzzZZ!! You H4Te This B4ND!!!1!!! because they is poppy". Also, this needed a negative review badly.
So now you're done with the pointless comparison (I'm going to compare The Specials to Matchbox Twenty in my next review, watch out!), you actually try to review the album.
I'll admit, there are the evident pop-sensibilities that are showcased here; that is expected of the genre though, and frankly, Taking Back Sunday have executed these pop-sensibilities far more adeptly than they have on this experience.
Sorry, what was that about pop-sensibilities? And why did that need-a-hypen?
Whether the mode of effecting said interest was by adding their signature dual-vocal stylings to liven up particular sects of the songs or by ending the song on a rather discordant note, the listener, no matter how jaded, was interested at least for a little while.
That's right, kids, absolutely every single person that has ever listened to Taking Back Sunday have been interested at least for a little while. Rationalist has taken the time out to get to know each and every one of them, and I really want to thank him for that.
“emotion” (aka: vapid lyrics relating to failed romances of the past two decades)
Oh you cynical rock fan you! THAT'll hit him where it hurts!
the vocalists add their rather diaphanous contributions
rather bland vocals that seem to be for accessibility purposes only
You're right, they exist purely for that reason. This was actually supposed to be an instrumental album - aren't you keen with your eye!
They just have no direction, like a nomad without a map.
WHAT A STUNNING ANALOGY! Except a lot of nomads don't really have maps. I'm not sure if nomadic people can set aside enough dosh for a GPS, but we should totally help with that! Fuck Haiti, let's get THIS shit happening.
None of what is done here is effective, groundbreaking, or all that interesting in the least.
Then why the fuck would you waste time talking about it? We don't care.
Although it seems obvious that if being an interesting outfit is not your forte, originality had better be, it seems that this obvious epiphany has left the minds of Taking Back Sunday's creative force.
Hey, have you met my good friend What-The-Fuck-Are-You-Talking-About? I reckon you two would get on like a house on fire.
Filler on a pop-punk album is a major detriment as it is.
And it's definitely not detrimental to any other kind of album, bang on the money.
By now, it seems that the listener is to forever be entirely disappointed with this record.
Considering that the lowest review rating this has recieved has been "good", you should probably speak for yourself on that one.
To close, it saddens me to see such a review come out of the hands of a...sorry, I've actually forgotten who you are/if we've had warz before. I'm seriously just doing this for shits and giggles.
If you read the first paragraph and didn't attempt to knock off every word that I used, you would relaize that I was saying that both of these bands had, imo (because a review, no matter how many facts you put into it, is based off a viewpoint; stop treating it as if it was a fact), crafted pehnomenal debuts, and then fell short on THREE CHEERS FOR SWEET REVENGE and Where You Want To Be. In my opinion, those albums are horrid, and they are sophomore efforts! Holy shit!*
Okay, so pop-punk can't be popular? Okay, let me reference a band you know called Fall Out Boy, who began as what, a pop-punk band. From Under The Cork Tree isn't you know, popular at all now is it?
An opinion cannot be incorrect.
I have listened to the Black Parade several times, and I cannot stand it. It's so cliche-ridden and pathetic. It's a horrendous aural turd. It's also my opinion, if I need to keep repeating it as if this all wasn't implied.
And I did not have sexual relations with any thesaurus. This is very limited vocabulary for a rationalist review.
*I can see how that could be misconstrued, but a simple look at even wikipedia could tell you that I was saying tcfsr is a sophomore effort. Just realizxed all that now.
One, diaphnous is not a big word. Two, there are such things as generalizations you ignorant urethra. Three, lyrics are important. If Kayo Dot or Bright Eyes wrote songs about purple iPods, would you be impressed with the emotion that exuded from the lyrical content of the album. Of course you would! Four, I admit my fault on the spelling mistakes, and will fix that immediately.
Look at the words, "in my opinion" and "seems to be". You aren't supposed to put a disclaimer before every opinion that you state in a reivew, as ENJOYABILITY IS SUBJECTIVE.
Non-war speak here: would it be better if I removed that map part? I like the nomad thing, but I guess that meandering thing is implied.
Forte is not a big word. I think that if you are really generic, you should even things out via entertainment/vice versa.
IF YOU DIDN'T CARE YOU WOULDN'T READ REVIEWS NOW WOULD YOU? You'reone of the biggest hypocrites I have ever seen enter a website.
You know what, yeah, filler isn't totally against the morals of pop-punk at all. You know, pop-punk bands shant be catchy any more, they shall begin to play minimalist Polish folk music and accent every other note via electric lamellophone.
For the most part, this was a bad argument that references what chan said.