The Used
Vulnerable


3.5
great

Review

by EvoHavok USER (3 Reviews)
March 27th, 2012 | 71 replies | 20,769 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Blending new elements with older ones, The Used create once again an enjoyable record.

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

After leaving Warner/Reprise and forming their own label, Anger Music Group (originally Dental Records), and teaming with Hopeless Records, The Used started recording the material for the new album, “Vulnerable”. Produced by John Feldmann, also present on their first three releases, the new album promises the flavor of the earlier records, but using a new approach to the overall music.

The singles, “I Come Alive” and “Hands and Faces”, showcase the use of dubstep/ drum ‘n’ bass elements, combined with the characteristic The Used sound, making them sound pretty unique. While the former only uses them for a few seconds, the latter not only includes them for a larger part of the track, but also uses an effect that distorts Bert’s voice, which could put off some listeners since he’s actually able to sing well, as heard in the chorus. On the other hand “This Fire” adds a violin, keyboards and a bit of electronics in a pleasant manner and earns its title as a highlight of the album. 5th track “Shine” is also based on a rhythm made of electronics, except for the chorus, which is led by the usual instruments, creating an interesting and catchy tune.

Leaving these experimentations aside, there’s no substantial change in the musicianship: although still solid and varied, it doesn’t deliver anything too complex or truly spectacular. The songwriting doesn’t really bring new formulas to the table, aside from the computer-produced sounds and a few intros. However, this is far from being a bad thing, because they’re reminiscent of the style from previous albums. While some songs emphasize on the catchy, melodic or aggressive guitar riffs (“Moving On” almost breaks into a guitar solo around the 3 minute mark, but instead brings back the chorus), “Hurt No One” includes a drum intro and gives the drummer a more prominent role, “Put Me Out” highlights the bass, which could otherwise receive more attention, and the second half of the track “Give Me Love” manages to show more of the bass and drums during the bridge.

Bert McCracken shows his great vocal delivery once again, being able to capture the emotion of the slower tracks or the anger of the heavier ones. His screams are still present, albeit not as often as on the first albums. I like his overall performance on the previously mentioned “This Fire” and on “Now That You’re Dead”. One particular weak moment is the ending of “Kiss It Goodbye “(oh yeah, sounds very familiar, doesn’t it?), which acts as a sort of interlude where he keeps repeating “It’s getting, it’s getting kinda hectic” and finishes it with a scream. By the way, the tracks after that aren’t hectic at all, so this disrupts the flow of the album. In regards to that, the first half of the album is more aggressive and catchy, while the second keeps becoming slower until the first ballad “Getting Over You”, then it returns to the upbeat “Kiss It Goodbye”, followed by the softer “Hurt No One” and ending with another ballad, “Together Burning Bright”.

Lyric-wise, the usual themes seen in The Used’s songs are kept, but the lyrics are sometimes more optimistic, uplifting (check “Shine” and “Moving On”). It’s quite clear that Bert wanted to let go of the self-depreciation and negativity dominating their previous records and bring a ray of hope. Rest assured, you can still find their creepy side on songs like “Now That You’re Dead” and “Put Me Out”.

All in all, “Vulnerable” is a solid, diverse and very enjoyable album that brings experimentation (although slightly overproduced and not efficient every time) and reminiscences from older stuff. As its name, the album makes you vulnerable to nostalgia when hearing again what The Used are capable of, yet also vulnerable to skepticism about the new sound choices. Fans of the band should enjoy this, but people who never liked it definitely won’t change their mind. Those who only appreciated the self-titled debut will still feel let down – “Vulnerable” shows no hint of returning to that raw style, but rather a good blending of “In Love and Death”, “Lies for the Liars” and “Artwork” with some twists.


user ratings (215)
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other reviews of this album
sharksanddanger (2)
The Used appear to have run out of steam....


Comments:Add a Comment 
macadoolahicky
March 26th 2012



1835 Comments


I am beyond skeptical about this album...

SCREAMorphine
March 26th 2012



1751 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I have high hopes for this, I Come Alive is a great song

macadoolahicky
March 26th 2012



1835 Comments


It was pretty good. Artwork was great, but for some reason I don't feel like they match that album, and definitely not their debut.

Acanthus
March 26th 2012



9535 Comments


Had no clue this was coming, off to youtube I go!

Digging: Die Sektor - Applied Structure In A Void

Acanthus
March 26th 2012



9535 Comments


"Hands and Faces" is, very luckily, extremely light on it's electronic influences except for the vocal distortion during the tracks verse. To me "I Come Alive" sounds like The Used through and through as the underlying lower tone bass line just accentuates Berts vocals rather than taking away from the bands cohesion.

jdennis31
March 26th 2012



6511 Comments


i honestly like 'i come alive' even tho my roommate killed that song, but i'm still skeptical about the rest of the album. seems meh

surjoysufi
March 26th 2012



73 Comments


NOW THAT YOU'RE DEAD IT'S KIND OF TURNING ME ON

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLL

jdennis31
March 26th 2012



6511 Comments


^hey could you maybe like, shut the fuck up?

bloc
March 26th 2012



34660 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I just could not get into this. Same thing goes for all of their albums except for that classic debut of theirs.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

bbdmittenz
March 26th 2012



218 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's just alright. 3/5 imo.

HypedMerchant
March 26th 2012



329 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Pretty nice I guess
I like the experimenting they did on this album.

tresm87
March 26th 2012



615 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

no way deserves more than a 3, it's just ok

Digging: PVRIS - Acoustic E.P.

Willie
Moderator
March 26th 2012



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The Used are pretty damn cool (except their second album). I somehow didn't even know this was being released.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2012



49740 Comments


Retire

Digging: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu - Pikapika Fantajin

Willie
Moderator
March 26th 2012



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's about time, I think.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
March 26th 2012



49740 Comments


They still need drug money

Willie
Moderator
March 26th 2012



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Oh, I thought you were talking about me because I didn't know this was coming out... these guys won't retire. They're still better than My Chemical Romance.

paxman
March 26th 2012



4084 Comments


I might check this out because I love the debut and still listen to it every now and again. I've only listened to their following albums like once each.

Tribalist
March 26th 2012



57 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Very good and accurate review! For me this is a clear winner. I don't think I've listened to any album this much (already) in the last year. I'm such a sucker for The Used.

xevman
March 27th 2012



317 Comments


Worth listening to this?



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