Review Summary: The album that would define The Used and disappoint fans when they couldn't top it
The Used’s career so far has had plenty of ups and downs – okay, mostly downs – but it’s fairly indisputable that their self-titled debut was the high point of their career and kickstarted everything for them. It’s a fairly simple album; all the songs are fairly predictable and basically structured, but all the emotions conveyed - which range from bleak depression in Poetic Tragedy
to the optimism of The Taste of Ink
to the frantic rage of A Box Full Of Sharp Objects
- bring out the most of the music and make it an enjoyable listen.
Like I just mentioned, the album contains all sorts of different emotions, which results in a real variety of songs. The album switches back and forth between heavy rockers like Maybe Memories
to soft ballads such as On My Own
with no warning, and the assortment of different sounds is one of the two main factors that keeps the album interesting and catchy.
The other factor is that all the songs are kept short and sweet – the longest song on the album (Buried Myself Alive
) clocks it in at 4:02. Nothing here is overly drawn out, so you can listen to any song and finish eager to come back to it, since the combination of length and quality leaves the listener wanting more.
Maybe Memories: 5/5
The first song that the Used ever wrote, and it’s a definite winner. A sluggish riff hooks you before Bert kicks things off with some crazy screaming (this is one of the best songs vocally). The chorus is catchy, and the song never loses its appeal, as it changes direction at least three times; a perfect opener and a good example of the sound of the album as a whole.
Say Days Ago: 4.5/5
This is one of the heavier songs, and it has a frantic, crazy feel throughout. The driving force behind this song is Quinn Allman’s riff in the chorus, which is a superb hook, although the bass is strong throughout as well. However, I feel that the bridge lets the song down a bit, since the drum/guitar fill seems a bit out of place and slows the pace down too much.
Buried Myself Alive: 4.5/5
The chords that start this song off summarize it; it’s a simple, emotional and energetic mid-paced track that has a fairly optimistic vibe to it. The harmonics in the verse match Bert’s vocals perfectly. The chorus is extremely catchy, making it a great choice of single. However, the bridge doesn’t quite match to the rest of the song.
Blue and Yellow: 5/5
This is a soft ballad and a bloody good one. Bert’s vocals took me by surprise, since this is the highlight of his whole career and I had no idea that he could sing this well. The chorus is catchy to the extreme, but you don’t notice it because the rest of the song is equally hooky. My only complaint with this song is that it’s quite sad, which really gets to you when you’re listening to it on repeat.
Choke Me(hidden bonus track): 4.5/5
The heaviest song The Used ever made. It’s about as crazy, angry and chaotic as you can get. Nuff said.
Not a bad song, but far too repetitive to be good. Stylistically, it’s like a worse version of Buried Myself Alive
, but with far less appeal due to the fact that the chorus is just the lyrics
“Goodbye to you, goodbye to you,
You’re taking up my time”, repeated over and over again, and the main riff is a little annoying. On a brighter note, I love the “**** you” at the end of the bridge, fits in perfectly.
A Box Full Of Sharp Objects: 2.5/5
Controversial, huh? This is a fan favourite and probably the favourite song of many fans, but in my humble opinion it’s the most overrated song in the band’s discography and a bit of a disappointment. I think that the most effective description for this would be “a chaotic mess”; the opening “riff” is just noise, and the whole song sounds kinda strained and forced. Low point of the album
Greener With The Scenery: 3/5
This is one of the most emotional songs on the album, and conveys the message of heartbreak perfectly. Unfortunately, it does little else worthy of note, and is very easy to skip, not because it’s a bad song – it’s not – but because it’s unremarkable.
Overall, I recommend this album to any fan of hard rock, post hardcore or “emo”, if you still think that’s a genre, due to its accessibility, energy and emotion.