Where You Want To Be
. After the new lineup being together for only a few months, they decided a new album is what was needed. Taking Back Sunday did have quite a bit of success with WYWTB, it debuted 3rd on the charts, and the first single A Decade Under The Influence
had a tremendous run on MTV, FUSE, and radio stations around the country. However, was any of this really deserved? No, not particularly.
Episode II: Where You Want To Be
So, what was good about the album?
The album had plenty going for it. It was following Tell All Your Friends
, and some of the hype was to be believed. A Decade Under The Influence
was a perfect choice for a lead single; the opening riff was smooth and cool, and Lazzara had apparently lost little of his own touch as well. However, new guitarist/vocalist Fred Mascherino was also a nice new compliment to his voice, sounding very similar to Nolan but yet slightly gruffer.
There were some other gems on the album as well. The Union
was very reminiscent of past album standout Head Club, and feels much more in tune with TAYF than any other track here. It transitions flawlessly from chaotic verses, to slow and melodic pre-choruses, and charging choruses. The final two tracks also stood out grandly, as Little Devotional
and …Slowdance On The Inside
were both dynamic songs. Little Devotional felt like a more suave TBS had taken root, while at once keeping some of their old “bite", whilst Slowdance was a power ballad for TBS, and took yet another page from Head Club by ending the album on a repeating note.
Ok…so why the poor score?
This album may have been called Set Phasers to Stun + Bonus tracks
. It is extremely repetitive, with many songs sounding exactly the same, and with the stretch of New America Classic
to Number Five With A Bullet
not doing anything particularly decent, and the latter 3 being extremely difficult to differentiate. It’s case not of mistaken identity, but of every song having very similar identities. When over half of the album is essentially the same song, it just wont be an enjoyable listening experience for more than a few play throughs.
However, this album also marked a down in general musicianship for the band. Now, granted (for the 139709847th time it seems), pop punk isn’t about technicality of any sort, but new rhythm guitarist Mascherino and bassist Matt Rubano pale in comparison to their previous counterparts. Yes, the riffs may have gotten repetitive before (more so than they normally should, at least), they were at least somewhat inventive. Every one on here just seems bland and uninspired, with many of them bleeding together. There are exceptions of course, but in general the guitar work is far below what it once was. The bass is essentially nonexistent on this album, where TAYF had some nifty lines here and there and almost coulda been a solo
moments, Rubano opts to play either extremely boring or just follow whatever the guitars are doing, making for a horribly boring experience altogether.
…that bad, huh?
Oh, there’s worse Johnny. New American Classic
is one of the most boring acoustic songs ever made. Their last stab at a slow song was a flop, so the thinking here had to be “Why not make it acoustic?" Well, because it sounds like every other acoustic songs “trendy" bands these days put out. If I hadn’t heard far better, I would be inclined to enjoy the song, as Lazzara does find his crooning voice here. However, Mascherino weakness is exposed here: He is just a horribly average and mediocre singer. There’s nothing particularly wrong with him, he does what he needs to do fine, but I know at least 11 people who sound specifically like him, and it just bores me whenever he jumps in.
The lyrics will not be touched upon in depth. Why? Because they are just ‘ugh’. There were some interesting moments on TAYF, specifically “There’s No ‘I’ In Team’. Here, the most introspective they get it another stab at friendship, but it feels tired by this point. Yes, your friend betrayed you, you’re dealing, cool. Where’s the songs about self-loathing again?
…so should I get this album?
If you really, really, really, really liked Tell All Your Friends
, no. You’ll be sorely disappointed by this, and may smash the CD in frustration. If you really, really, really, really disliked Tell All Your Friends
and are hoping for a different sound, don’t buy this. You’ll be sorely disappointed, but you probably won’t smash the CD because you probably don’t care enough. I do recommend this if you were interested in TBS from a few listens of Tell All Your Friends
, but want to hear some more material. It does have its strong moments, and despite all the shortcomings becoming far more apparent here, Where You Want To Be
is still a tolerable, if very average and common, album. However, WYWTB is completely eclipsed by…