Taking Back Sunday
Louder Now


3.5
great

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF
April 25th, 2006 | 202 replies | 33,320 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


Louder Now (honestly though, it can’t be too hard, can it?). Taking Back Sunday had something to prove; although their last album was generally well received, the criticism still piled up. Enter 2006, and a want to make a studio album that reflected their live energy more than the previous albums had. Louder Now is a much, much bigger rush than the previous two albums, with lots of unrestrained energy being showed. It is also by far their most varied album, with their first song that can be considered “epic" by pop punk standards, not one, but two slow songs that work, and plenty of the lighthearted catchiness TBS is known for. Here it is, folks…

Episode III: Louder Now

One the biggest weaknesses I saw in my marathon TBS listening was that the previous two albums lacked strong openers. Sure, they were decent and were good indications of what the album was to be, they still fell flat. What It Feels Like To Be A Ghost remedies this curse by being not only a good summation of Louder Now, but by being an excellent song in and of itself. The main riff is more interesting than nearly anything on Where You Want To Be, and is perhaps the best they’ve yet to use. However, the welcomest change is the addition of a clearly audible bass, and while it may be nothing truly special, it’s a noted improvement.

Lazzara also has improved in nearly every way for this album, he no longer sounds needless whiney, and in general sounds more comfortable. He no longer forces lyrics out to make them fit, and has also learned how to get his voice up an down without going from one high to another low. Previously, he would get uncomfortable during his more eclectic moments, and it got to be part of the “annoying trait" that plagued him. While he is still whiney, he has toned it down to more of a “He’s complaining again" than “Dude, just shut up". However, Mascherino had made the more vast improvement of the two. While he still isn’t anything out of the ordinary, he is more in tune with what the band is doing here, and while the harmonies may still not be as strong as Lazzara and Nolan may have once had, it’s a vast improvement.

Arguably the biggest strength of the previous two albums was their endings. Whether it was the pop-power combo of “You’re So Last Summer" and “Head Club" or the ballady closing of Where You Want To Be with “Little Devotional" and “…Slowdance on the Inside", TBS knew how to close out their album in high fashion. By the grace of some higher power, they continue that trend with Error Operator and I’ll Let You Live. Error Operator was in a way the first single off of the album, and it was a good choice to showcase the energetic feel of the album. After a rare bass intro, we go back into a song once again reminiscent of “Head Club" or “The Union". The schizophrenic vocals compliment the very Morello-like guitar very well. I’ll Let You Live, on the other hand, is possibly the best song TBS have recorded to date. The quiet verse is mainly supported by cymbal tapping, and creates a tranquil effect not present in any of TBS’s previous releases. The chorus is the regular bombastics you’ve come to expect, but the song once again picks up at the instrumental bridge, on of the few times TBS actually jams out, and the solo Eddie Reyes pulls off is surprisingly good. All in all, a spectacular way to end the album.

However, would it be a pop punk album without some repetition? Of course it wouldn’t. It actually suffers at the same point the previous two albums did, the songs directly preceding the final two tracks. Miami starts off interesting enough, with a bounce, suave, and beachy feeling they don’t often achieve. But the lyrics are pretty bad, while its just gets to be tiring. Yes, you pretty much like Miami. That’s cool. The solo is a welcome change, and is honestly pretty good, but after 2 minutes of dreck, its hard to regain your bearings. Divine Interpretation is the failed slow song of the album it attempts to be a slower version of My Blue Heaven (wait for it…), but feels rather useless in comparison. The chimes make it an interesting listen, and save it from being a bad song altogether, but the basic strummed acoustic gets too be bland. I don’t know, I could just not be a fan of most acoustic tracks, but this is at least better than “New American Classic" and “Ghost Man On Third", and Lazzara’s overproduced vocals work here.

MakeDamnSure is the first official single from the album, and it’s actually one of the weaker songs on the album. The main riff is repetitive, and not even Reyes lead is all that special. The pre-chorus makes up for it with a very high guitar tone that duels with Lazzara wailing at his faux-emotional best quite well. It’s just not an interesting song, especially when compared with My Blue Heaven. Lazzara opts for a smoky mix on his vocals here, and with the bell one for Reyes lead, makes for one of the weirdest listening experiences in the entire catalogue. However, the chorus is TBS at their best (yet, once again, its pretty much everywhere here) in catchy, melodic, and cliché-ridden lyrics. The frantic closing to the song also has a gravitas of its own, as the urgent guitar & vocals bring suck you in in a way TBS rarely accomplishes: musically.


Louder Now could possibly be Taking Back Sunday’s best album. It’s a very tough runoff with Tell All Your Friends, and it was extremely nice to see them return to that style as compared to the more bland stylings of Where You Want To Be. My recommendation? Pick Tell All Your Friends up first. They are very similar albums, but TAYF is more accessible than this, and also will allow you to have a broader sense of what TBS does.

However, I can tell my feelings will change. They always do; it’s the nature of pop punk (and music in general) to change in ones eyes. I went through my love/hate periods with TAYF and Where You Want To Be, as I did with many albums. This doesn’t look like its going to be much different, frankly. While TBS do show signs of progress, specifically in the vocal and guitar departments, they are still mediocre songwriters. Their structures are still mostly generic, and the lyrics fall into the same trap WYWTB fell into. They just feel tired. However, this is still a great record, with some of their catchiest and most technically competent music. It gets a healthy 3.75 from me, but I also can’t give it the benefit of the doubt. Louder Now gets a 3.5 from me; a great album marred not by a lack of variety, but frankly by laziness.

Recommended tracks from each TBS album:

Tell All Your Friends: There’s No ‘I’ In Team, You’re So Last Summer, Head Club
Where You Want To Be:The Union, Little Devotional
Louder Now:What It Feels Like To Be A Ghost, My Blue Heaven, Error Operator, I’ll Let You Live



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user ratings (1301)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2006



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

*Patiently awaits flames.*
This is more meant to be read after my previous two TBS reviews, but I do feel it stands on its own.

The Sludge
April 25th 2006



2169 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Well, it was definatly worth it. I applaud all three of your reviews. I might end up looking into this album all becasue you hit just about every point on the feelings of what i have about TBS.

PropsThis Message Edited On 05.26.06

(>dragon~guitarist<)
April 25th 2006



243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I listened to Louder Now a couple of times on the MTV Leak and well to tell you the truth, I don't have a solid opinion on their new CD, but it is still Taking Back Sunday. It isn't as fast as their last 2 but it is much more melodic than their other cds. It still holds it own in terms of being TBS, but still a far cry from a masterpiece.

EDIT: Oh and as for strong openers for Taking Back Sunday? You Know How I Do is the best, the reversing lyrics (so sick so sick of being tired and oh so tired of being sick) and dual lyrics of Adam and John were unmatched in that song and executed flawlessly. All in all a very catchy song, but I must say I have found myself humming Whats it feel like to be a ghost a couple times .This Message Edited On 04.25.06

Jacob6293
April 25th 2006



125 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

their new single is good, but they're gonna have to "make damn sure" they sell this out. I actually thought they broke up for a while, now this.

The Jungler
April 25th 2006



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Once again, good review Iluvatar. All I've heard is Error Operator and MakeDamnSure both were good songs although the video for MakeDamnSure blows. This is one of thos albums I will test out before buying.

Good Job.

Pyramidman
April 25th 2006



1340 Comments


good review man
i cant wait to buy this, MakeDamnSure is a crazy good song though


Concubine
April 25th 2006



333 Comments


[QUOTE=VagueDan]the video for MakeDamnSure blows.[/QUOTE]

Truth, It's like one of those videos that made for TRL chart or something.. the song is sooo cathy though..
Good review, btw...

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2006



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

kthxbai lolz

Reactor158
April 25th 2006



9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. I was planning on buying this album anyway, but your review even further convinced me. Hopefully I'll be able to see them in concert with Angels & Airwaves when they come to Michigan.

tellallyourfriends
April 25th 2006



12 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This album is completely different to anything they've done, but still think it's kickass. i prefer old taking back sunday, but still love the new TBS. although don't agree with your standout tracks, the reviews good.

standout tracks: what it feels like to be a ghost, Liar, makedamnsure and spin (error: operator is pretty awesome but not as good as original)

The Sludge
April 25th 2006



2169 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wait, TBS and Angels and Airwaves? that would be a nice concert, although i prolly wont go.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2006



15693 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If MakeDamnSure is weak as this review says, this album has gotta be classic.

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins® [AMDISCS]

davybum69
April 25th 2006



161 Comments


What I've heard off this is pretty good.This Message Edited On 04.25.06

altrockdude
April 25th 2006



150 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I am about to buy this in 2 minutes... I CAN'T WAIT. Sounds pretty good. your reviews are absolutely amazing. thanks.

NEDM
April 25th 2006



1113 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review dude, we have almost the exact same opinion Iluvatar.

Full Collapse299
April 25th 2006



507 Comments


Against Me (Blackout) is a great song in my opinion. I hope to catch the TBS and AVA show at a nearby theme park.

ToWhatEnd
April 25th 2006



3172 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I must admit, your three TBS reviews look mighty fine all lined up on each other in the pop punk section good review once again.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2006



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I can't believe I didn't mention the main reason I dslike MDS in the review, whoops: The vocals just sound unecessarily overproduced there. It is a very catchy track, almost as catchy as "You're So Last Summer" was.
And thanks for all the compliments people. If those just turned into pos votes instead, well, I'd be a deer stuck in headlights with jjoy.

Bchop13
April 25th 2006



68 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, Tell All Your Friends or Louder Now?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
April 25th 2006



16072 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Right now, Louder Now. Once the newness completely wears off, I don't know. Louder Now is better technically, and is more consistent in my eyes, but Tell All Your Friends was "magical". So, I'll probably prefer Louder Now for a long time to come.

You?This Message Edited On 04.25.06



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