Taking Back Sunday, after their release of 2004's Where You Want To Be on Victory Records, were kings of "Emo" and to be honest they didn't like it. They have repeatedly stated that the purpose of Louder Now was to capture the energy they had presented in their live shows, and move more towards generic rock than the same old catchy emo song.
So did they accomplish their goal? Is this album going to be looked at ten years from now and people will say, "That's what everyone was doing" or will those people say, "That was a great overall rock album. Well, to tell the complete truth Louder Now is a bit of both, which makes it such a great improvement from Where You Want To Be. See on the 2004 release of Where You Want To Be there were only soft and often stupid punk songs over and over again. We really missed the hard rock element of Taking Back Sunday's "Tell All Your Friends", but you really missed the soft song in "Tell All Your Friends". The perfect blend that is not missing any of those is the 2006 current release "Louder Now". My point is that you could have a hard song like "Spin" and then have that followed by a soft song "Divine Intervention", it's just a great mix of songs that neither of the other two Taking Back Sunday albums had.
I will first review the song's that really went after it, the harder "Louder Now" tracks on the album. The first of those tracks is "Spin". Spin is absolutely incredible, the lyrics are very aggressive the instruments are even more, and for the first time Adam bursts out a scream about 3 minutes into this incredible roller coaster ride. It's one of the only Taking Back Sunday songs you can say wow after. It honestly, the first time I heard I clapped after it. The chorus in the song is great, and it present a dirty guitar riff that is just as catchy as the chorus, after the chorus it comes to my favorite part of the song were Adam screams at the top of his lungs "You had your chance!" accompanied by the Backup vocalist screaming in the background it makes pure brilliance. "Error Operator" was supposed to be the extreme of the album according to the band when they started recording, but all the emotion has been drained out of the song in the new version. The "I Tried" dramatic part of the song has been taking out and sometimes you can't even hear what Adam is singing about. Even though all this has been taken out you can still say the chorus is pretty catchy which makes the song all right, but nothing to compare to Spin. "Liar [It Takes One To Know One] is the most fun and entertaining song on the album, and it's still a great song. The chorus and the instrumental work is just done perfect, I mean you can tell the band spent a lot of time in the studio on this one. Adam and Fred singing and feed off each other another thing they didn't do in Where You Want To Be. But sometimes I think the chorus is repeated to many times, and the song doesn't have a dramatic enough ending, all it has is Fred screaming "It takes one to know one", but all in all a great song. "Up Against" is one of my favorites because even when the song is mellowed out it's filled with emotions, the lyrics tell the story of what Taking Back Sunday is well Up Against creating the new album. But the lyrics are very good and make sense unlike some songs on Where You Want To Be. The end of the song is just great and again the instruments are excellent as well. You can tell that everyone in the band has worked on their work on the instruments from the previous two albums and that's what makes Louder Now an overall better album than those two.
The next section I am going to do is the more Punkier songs like the songs from "Tell All Your Friends" The first one is one of my favorite all time songs by Taking Back Sunday "MakeDamnSure" it really is going to do well as a single. The lyrics in the song are so well written and are probably the best lyrics the band has written since the days of "Cute Without The "E". What makes the lyrics work so well? What I think makes the lyrics work so well is that the lyrics lead perfectly in the chorus "I just want to BRING you down so badly" is screamed throughout the chorus and proves that Taking Back Sunday still has some emotion in them, after the dull 2004 effort in "Where You Want To Be". The ending of the song is fabulous as well as it really combines the chorus with the end of the song "I'm going to makedamnsure that you can't ever leave" is the main line in the ending of the song, very catchy. And then it leads in perfectly to the chorus one more time before the song comes to an end. "What's It Feel Like To Be A Ghost?" is a perfect opener, it kind of forms as a crystal ball of what the album is going to be. The song can be either loud or soft and the lyrics are excellent. The beat changes in this song are awesome; if it weren't for them the song probably wouldn't be half as good. The song guitar work is a pretty basic 4-string riff but it can generate loud sounds just based on Adam's tone. For example Adam would sing Louder in the chorus than in the regular verses so the guitar work would be Louder during the chorus. In the end of the song when the tone is soft, so will the guitar, the song just overall sounds cool. The vocals are perfect, the second verse after the chorus "tacky and irrelevant, [so what], a permanent reminder that Iím crushed", is probably one of the better verses of the album much less the song. Such a beautiful opener to the album. "Twenty-Twenty Surgery" has some of the most memorable moments of the album and some of the not so memorable. A plus has to be the beat changes that were presented in the 1st track "What's It Feel Like To Be A Ghost" the songs beat honestly changes about every two lines, which is awesome. But it all leads into a very disappointing chorus. The songs pre-chorus is great: "It's not the quantity that bothers me" but the chorus doesn't build momentum from that line. Another plus is that the end of the song is another high point of the album. Overall a good song.
Now were on to the softer songs more like the songs on "Where You Want To Be", but they are all better than any of the songs on that album. "My Blue Heaven" is a track that has to grow on you, honestly, after listening to the first four songs in the album you probably consider this disappointing but it is not. You just have to give it a couple listens. You will see that the chorus is not completely thoughtless but actually very thoughtful and well written, you will also see that the instrumental work isn't that bad, and the end of the song isn't pussy but it leads into the same ending just in a louder form, which makes it very good. It is overall a weird but great song that takes time to get used to, but when you get used to it, the song will probably become one of your growing favorites on the album. Think of "New American Classic" on Where You Want To Be, and then listen to "Divine Intervention" you can see a huge improvement in just these two songs. "Divine Intervention" chorus is one of the most beautiful things Iíve ever heard. The keyboard in the background is really good and it was very thoughtful of the band to put it in the song. The chorus is repeated a lot through the song as well it should, because it is so good. But the surrounding lines are thoughtful and unpredictable, which also makes this song intriguing. A song that proves that Taking Back Sunday can do soft or hard songs. "Miami" proves how catchy the band can be. The lines in this song are repetitive but they are so good that they can be repeated, the chorus is fun more than it is brilliant but it still works out. The song ends with a guitar session, which is indeed very cool for an "emo" band. This is a step-forward for the band.
The final song of the album is "I'll Let You Live", and the song is very high on dramatics. It is a great song that can take you from dirty guitar riffs, to times similar to "Divine Intervention", which makes it so intriguing. But again it is a song you have to listen to a few times to get, it's not the greatest song on the album but it's chorus and beat changes like other songs on "Louder Now" carry it through. And the ideas that are presented in the song are great. Another great song.
Wow. What an improvement for a band that a lot of people said couldn't do anything without the wisdom and ideas of former background singer John Nolan. The song proves that not only Taking Back Sunday can write songs without Mr. Nolan they can still go heavy on the instruments like on "Tell All Your Friends", and have some of the soft-stuff from "Where You Want To Be" as well. Taking Back Sunday's third album is it's best because it combines soft with hard, new with old, emo with rock, and everything else you can put in one album.
Taking lots of risks
Combining new and old
Not just an your old "Emo" band.