Taking Back Sunday
Tell All Your Friends


3.5
great

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF
April 24th, 2006 | 106 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


In, oh say, 2002, I listened to some pretty bad music, looking back. Well, I really only listened to one band: Linkin Park. Oh, did I love Linkin Park. I would listen to Hybrid Theory nonstop, with the occasional Eminem or Limp Bizkit CD thrown in to mix it up. Maybe even P.O.D! However, I was exposed to a little album entitled Tell All Your Friends during this time period, and I thought little of it. I mean, it wasn’t nearly as hXc as the music I had been listening too, and the guy was just so whiney.

Enter two years into the future. The year is now 2004, and I’m listening to Taking Back Sunday’s second effort Where You Want To Be. I did ever so love that album when it first came out, but it did cause me to remember that I had, in fact, listened to their first album. Picking up the album, I once again didn’t like it. However, this time I did catch some hint of why I now would like the album.

Enter yet again another year, it’s now 2005. I now think Where You Want To Be is repetitive and unworthy of playing. However, I still continue to get *** from my friends, due to how much TBS is hated amongst the more “musically inclined" crowd I may hang with. In an effort to find a way to defend myself, I popped Tell All Your Friends back into my computer, and much to my surprise (and delight), I found TAYF to be one of the most fun records I had listened too in quite a while.

Episode I: Tell All Your Friends

However, it doesn’t start out at the top of its game. You Know How You Do is a track dominated by drums, and while some may enjoy it, John Nolan just isn’t skilled or interesting enough to catch my attention. Adam Lazzara is also at the top of his annoying-whiney factor, sounding like he is in the middle of one of those overly dramatic breakdown moments in a movie. It really does make the yelps of "We Won’t Stand For Hazy Eyes Anymore" sound even more clichéd and redundant than before. Luckily Bike Scene comes to the rescue, with an infectious opening riff and more whiney, yet more in place, wails from Lazzara. While all that is fine and dandy, the song truly starts at the bridge, with Nolan taking lead vocals for a bit and Michele Nolan of Straylight Run coming in to sing about being on the edge of her seat. The rolling drum line compliments them both perfectly, and the final chorus of “I didn’t want it to mean that much to me" sung by all three of them being one of the most “Hey, I’m not leaving your head for three days" kind of lines on the album.

Next is the in/famous single Cute Without The ‘E’, which starts off with a sweet strummed guitar before moving into more TBS-like territory with a Lazzara and Nolan alternating vocals once again. Along with You’re So Last Summer, it’s the catchiest song on the album, and the repetitive yet fun and bouncy riff is a good summation of the song. Also of note is the bass line during the bridge; it’s an obvious shame that they had to lose Shaun Cooper, as he showed lots of talent on this album. Regardless of what could have been, There’s No ‘I’ In Team is the strongest song on the album. One of the few instances where TBS nails everything head on, the chord-stabbed guitar and the once again alternating vocals give the song a disjointedness that makes the simple chorus extremely effective. In a rather large surprise, the lyrics are good. Not pretty good, not decent, genuinely good, and it’s all helped by the emotion Lazarra and Nolan give to their performance here. The closing line from Nolan of "Best friends means I pull the trigger , Best friends means that you get what you deserve is truly haunting, and who doesn’t like Steinbeck references?

Unfortunately, the next 4 songs are all veritable disappointments after 3 (perhaps 4) strong songs. Great Romances Of The 20th Century is just plain annoying, whether its from the overly high-fret played guitar, or the banshee shrieks with relatively little emotion from Lazarra, its one of the few instances where one could wish for Nolan to completely take over. The slow song of the album is apparent in Ghost Man On Third, and while it juxtaposes nicely with Great Romances…, TBS rarely does slow songs well and it’s mainly because Lazarra is not a crooner in any sense of the word. It’s apparent that he is trying to break free of the slowness, as he stops himself short on many of his lines. While this could obviously be for effect, it detracts from the mood of the song, and it’s the weaker younger sibling of There’s No ‘I’ In Team in that the disjointedness just doesn’t work.

Timberwolves At New Jersey and The Blue Channel fuse into one for me. Not because they sound the same (although that may be slightly true)., but because they follow the TBS formula so strictly without anything truly interesting added into the mix. Take a nifty intro, repetitive and catchy riff, and wails from Lazzara, harsh backing vocals from Nolan, and cliché-ridden lyrics. There, you have both Tiberwolves… and The Blue Channel. There isn’t much you can say about either. The Blue Channel does remind me of a My Chemical Romance song for some odd reason, so if you’re into MCR, that may be a good entry point into liking TBS.

The dumbest song title on the album, You’re So Last Summer, hides one of its gems. it’s the most simplistic song on the album, with a basic verse=chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-anthemic lyric repeat-out way of doing things, but its just so damn catchy. By this point, it’s hard to say something new about a song; as there is admittedly a lack of variety on the album, but whether it’s the basic yet (once again) catchy riff, or the “so horribly clichéd and cheesy they’re hilarious" lyrics such as "The truth is you could slit my throat and with my one last gasping breath I’d apologize for bleeding on your shirt.", you can’t help but smile along with the song. The closing touch attempted with Head Club is fairly successful. The initial drum roll sets the chaotic nature of the song into place right off the bat, and the Lazzara/Nolan combo is once again present in force, harkening back to There’s No ‘I’ In Team in emotion and punch. The final repeated chorus is once again haunting yet cliché; "Don’t Call me name out your window I’m leaving" is silly yet moving and in a sense “frightening". I’m probably going a tad overboard with that sentiment, however.

So where does all of that leave us? Taking Back Sunday is cliché, repetitive, and at times overly whiney and simplistic. Yet, it all works. Those weaknesses are supplanted by the utter catchiness, fun & bounce, and occasional relatable and powerfully delivered lyrics. This was an inspired, if not polished and consistent, debut by a band that had an incredible amount of promise. Yes, they were purveyors of the “faux-emo" trend, but damn were they infectious nonetheless. It’s an unfortunate thing that they had to have a falling out, and replace bassist Cooper and guitarist/singer Nolan, and make…



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user ratings (1647)
Chart.
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excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Part 1 of 3 over and out. Next up, Where You Want To Be.
Criticisms wanted, as very little new discussion will probably come of this review.

The Jungler
April 24th 2006


4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agree with you totally about Theres No I in Team.
I assuming if it's part 1 of 3, your calling the new one out? I really gotta read a good review of that, it seems a little sketchy and I can never trust Entertainment Weekly on music.
Good review, have a pos.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yes, I have it called out, although I think beyondtheblueprint did as well.. And, pssst...it may or may not be better than this...

I also think it's pretty obvious that anyone can review the new album though. I'm just saying I'll have on out..maybe by 12:05 central time...I'm a fast listener & writer.This Message Edited On 04.24.06

beachbum18
April 24th 2006


40 Comments


This cd is pretty good compared to all the other emo crap out there these days. Good review man. try not to use words like sweet though, people really dont like that. good job though

altrockdude
April 24th 2006


150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dammit i wanted to do the new one. FUCK!

t_truax44
April 24th 2006


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. This is by far TBS's better album and I don't see the next one topping this.

Pink Alex
April 24th 2006


9 Comments


tbs is the easiest band to hate yet you can still love them, like i do though i prefer where you want to be.
good review

pattern_recognition
April 24th 2006


950 Comments


Yeah, once again, I agree, totally. There's No I is the best song on here. I didn't mind The Blue Channel or You Know How I Do, though.
Those two chords at the beginning of Cute Without The E are so horribly overrused today though. They're also the opening chords of Pardon Me, by Incubus, and Best Of You, by Foo Fighters, as well as several other songs I can't quitethink of right now.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 24th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I don't really mind You Know How I Do, it gets on my nerves. One of the songs where the more you listen to it, the more its flaws become apparent. And seeing as how this is in my top 15 played albums of all time, I've listened to it quite a bit.

And yeah, but it does fit the song quite nicely. (Cute Without the E)

I just noticed I messed up You Know How I Do. Meh, it made me chuckle, so it stays.This Message Edited On 04.24.06

The Sludge
April 25th 2006


2169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you for pointing all the parts that was good and bad on the album. I loved this album, but it wasnt perfect.

Anybody ever knew of the Brand New/TBS fued from the time period between "Your Favorite Weopen (BR)" and this one? Seventy Times 7 was suposed to be an attack on John Nolan.

xemox
April 25th 2006


1 Comments


I agree the album wasnt perfect but it is a gem compared to where you want to be, and w.e the new one is(not even going to listen to it). Tbs just changed everything and went with a wayyyy more pop sound...i prefer the old singers

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

xemox, Louder Now is a return to form. Its actually slightly better than this, in fact. Thats off of either a week or -25 mintues of listening, but meh.

The Sludge
April 25th 2006


2169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I heard the new song, I like it, but........... I think Adam either took vocal lessons or something really happened to it. Because his voice sounds quite a bit whiney then what I'm used to.

Pyramidman
April 25th 2006


1340 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The feud was that Jesse Lacey's (singer from BN) gf cheated on him with John, TBS wrote Theres no I in team, and brand new wrote seventy times 7

good reveiw, its a good idea doing the part 1-3 thing
but i really like you know how i do

Babby
December 5th 2007


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album, only Taking Back Sunday album I like actually, ill never grow out of this, because well, I grew up on this crap.

powerpop
December 5th 2007


29 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

All of their albums are pretty good but this one is by far their bestThis Message Edited On 12.05.07

foreverendeared
December 15th 2007


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you use the word "too" improperly on several occasions where it is only correct to use the word "to." sorry to point it out it's just a HUGE pet peeve of mine. especially when supposed "writers" make this grade school error.

other than that, great review, although, i think you take into account too much personal opinions. (see my proper use of the word "too")This Message Edited On 12.15.07

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This was written before I became staff and before I cared at all haha.

LocoLopez
May 7th 2008


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Based on this review I feel this album is highly underated. TBS's debut album absolutely blew me out of the water, but only after warming up to a sound that was very fresh and unfamiliar for me at the time. I believe You Know How I do doesn't recieve the accolaids it deserves in this review because to me it's an absolute adrenaline rush of simple but incredibly clever lyrics. This reviewer criticizes what a typical critic listening to stereotypes on this genre would call "whines", when I feel they are used throughout the album to add emphasize and power to their message. This album has undoubtedly stood the test of time and I think you need to be less critical of this highly innovative masterpiece.

natey
May 7th 2008


4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I used to listen to "Great Romances..." atleast once a day. Major energy in that song.



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