Review Summary: Dull and uninspired follow up to a masterpiece
Post-hardcore outfit The Used are yet another case of a band doomed by their own debut album. Their eponymous first album was such a hard hitting work full of emotion, life and energy that it was impossible they could ever live up to it. Few could have predicted how bad the follow up would be however.
In Love And Death is the sophomore album from The Used and follows much the same formula of their debut. It also contains many of their staple songs, including the My Chemical Romance sounding All That I've Got and the heavy opener and closer that the rest of the album is sandwiched in between. The main problem with this album is that it lacks any of the originality that their first album contained and as such it feels forced and watered down to a more commercial audience. The best example of this would be on the stadium rock song I Caught Fire, which recycles a generic set of riffs and some pathetic lyrics delivered by their vocalist in an overly whiny voice. Whereas Bert sounded at home using this style on their debut, here he just sounds ridiculous.
Scanning down the track titles, it is not hard to notice how cliche these songs are, clearly geared toward the angst filled teenage audience that their primary audience is comprised of. Each of these songs is dimness incarnate, lacking the fire that they used before. One noteworthy example would be I'm A Fake. This song opens with an over the top poem about self injury before trudging along through musical mud with some dull lyrics and generic instrumentation. This track should have ended the album on a high note and has a little potential with some of the only decent vocals on the album but it is too simplified and comercialized. The one song where everything comes together properly on and is worthy of the name of the band that put our such an awesome first release is the third track.
This song is entitled Let It Bleed and opens with a sample before a catchy and ear friendly guitar riff comes in. After a few cycles of this riff the rest of the band enters, and after a full listen it will become apparent how the song gradually builds up. The hook in the chorus is one you will be repeating, whilst the shrieks are absolutely maniacal toward the end of the song.
Overall, The Used failed to do anything aside from expand their listener base with their second album and dragged their name through the dirt.